“You take it on faith, you take it to the heart, The waiting is the hardest part.” – Tom “Mother Effin” Petty
When we picked up Angie’s sister and grandmother at the airport, I already knew the outcome. When Angie woke up before me the day of her surgery, I already knew the outcome. When we held each other close, my head to her chest, I already knew the outcome. As we got into the car and drove to St. Thomas, I was positively convinced of the outcome. When they wheeled Angie away to the operating room, I couldn’t help but feel my heart breaking, despite knowing the outcome. Heavy emotion swept over me as my wife with tubes and wires, bald head and tear tracks, was rolled away. It was hard to watch, almost as hard as the sitting and waiting that followed.
The night before our family flew in, Angie and I saw Margo Price perform her first show at Ryman Auditorium. It was a reminder of how far Angie had come. Five months ago we were riding an elevator to one of Angie’s first chemo treatments, where she was on her phone buying tickets to this exact concert. She has endured so much in such a short period of time, and this show comes at a time when we transition from fighting to recovering.
Right now, I couldn’t be happier that the surgery is behind us and Angie is now on to recovery. A double mastectomy removes a lot of tissue, so Angie is dealing with pain and discomfort that requires heavy medication. Her discharge from the hospital depended on whether or not she could walk on her own as well as the amount of pain she was experiencing.
On Thursday, Angie decided she wanted to get out of bed to walk. She was ready to go home and she was set on proving so. Angie slowly shuffled her way out of her hospital room, gown and drains in tow, and exclaimed to the nursing station, “I’m making a break for it! Try to catch me,” before she continued to slowly shuffle down the hall! Classic.
There are two drains on each side of Angie’s torso. They remove fluid from the surgical site, and have to be emptied twice a day. Fluid build up near a wound leaves potential for bacteria growth and infection. This measure will also promote faster healing. It’s a very careful process to strip the tubing and empty the drain bulbs, something I learned how to do at a class at the cancer center. We have to document the amount of fluid that’s extracted, that information is what the doctor will look at this week to track Angie’s progress.
As she recovers at home, we’ll be focusing on making sure Angie gets the rest she needs to heal. With Melanie, Meme and my mother in town to help us get through the week, we’ve gotten past a huge step towards healing. I’m still amazed by how tough my wife has been. I can’t imagine the pain she is feeling, but her spirit is still high, and she continues to show improvement everyday. It really feels like a huge victory. We can all rest easy knowing Angelica is going to beat this disease.