Surgery is set for October 29th. Mathew was distressed to hear it is before his beloved Halloween.
Although he won’t enjoy the day this year he will still have his Halloween party the Saturday before. His costume arrived in time so he will be able to wear it while he hangs out with his buddies and watches a scary movie or two.
There will be two surgeons attending, both back surgeons. The surgery is expected to be 4 hours. Add to that the preparations before the surgery and the recovery time it is going to be a long afternoon and evening for us.
Mathew will be outfitted for a back brace next week as this is part of the recovery. He will wear the brace for a minimum of 6 weeks ~ or when the xrays (maybe?) or tests show the bone and area are healing well. About that… a titanium cage will be put in around the vertebrae and bone will be tucked inside to graft to his body. I expect the bone will come from a plug taken from his pelvic region but haven’t confirmed that yet.
Meanwhile the new pain regime is helping Mathew a lot. He is on a regular schedule of Tylenol and Naproxen to prevent the pain from starting up or becoming unmanageable. There is a break-through prescription if necessary but so far he needed one only. Much walking or movement still hurts him however and on Friday he bent down to pick something off the grown and the pain hit him so hard he started crying.
Surgery terrifies Mathew and his behaviour is mirroring that terror. He is moody, alternating happiness with depression and anger. I am sure there are many young adults, teens and children who face their own cancer journey with grace and quiet dignity…but Mathew isn’t one of them. Our family represents the rest of the population ~ the one where he does not go quietly anywhere and doesn’t suffer in silence.
With surgery looming large we are dealing with it in our own ways. It was a devastating blow to me and I feel very tired and discouraged. This whole thing started almost 2 years ago and I thought we were done when treatment finished. It never occurred to me that Mathew would suffer after with pain from the hole in his vertebrae. When that started up it was another punch to knock us all down. Then surgery took the rest of the wind out of my sails. It feels like the hard part is never going to end and it was such an exhausting time getting to here even. Mathew with his immobilizing brace isn’t going to be fun. He has to go back to sponge baths for a while then the shower chair.
I know the end result should result in Mathew’s return to a normal life. Right now he is only going to Key Industries 3 mornings a week because the pain and fatigue was too much for the full days. He doesn’t want to be alone so I get frequent calls at work when he is upset, depressed or angry. I do get calls when he is happy but the mood swings are rapid and without reasoning. We suspect it happens when Mathew is exhausted; it hits him like a he ran into a brick wall but he doesn’t recognize the symptoms.
I am trying to tell you life is difficult right now. We are spending a lot of time with Mathew and I feel numb when I get free time. I am probably shutting down all but the essentials in order to preserve my energy for what’s happening in the next couple of weeks. It means I’m not attending my blog frequently.
I am still working on our Toronto trip and want it up here before we forget all the small, important details that made our trip amazing. I tend to draft and rework my good posts a lot which explains why it takes a while to get them up here as I don’t have a lot of free time where I feel happy enough to work on this right now. I don’t like to write when I’m glum or depressed; I don’t like the atmosphere it sends out there. I do thank you for sticking around though.
Once Mathew’s surgery is done I will post short notes up here to keep you abreast of how he is doing.
Oh, before I forget… Mathew is having his scans done shortly before the surgery. The timeline is so short the scans will be rapid-read meaning they will be read immediately and reviewed by his surgeon the same day. That scaniexty is also kicking into high gear as much as we wrestle with it. This will mark the first set of scans following treatment and so our hopes are that everything looks good.