Bye bye Spleen! RIP!

If you don’t need it – get rid of it!  If there may be cancer in there – just take it!

The weekend before the “knife” was a lot of fun at Mount Snow skiing with my “girls” for the last time this season and then out on the hill until last chair with Steve after skiing with the group.  The skiing has been so amazing this winter!  We have enjoyed every moment possible on the hill….  The Stratton race was the next day, we drove home knowing it would be more comfortable sleeping in our own bed before heading out in the morning.  Schuyler stayed with the Feliciano’s, who truly have become such great friends of ours this season.  Sunday, Schuyler raced, Steve coached and I took photos of all the racers…  I love the energy of the kids on the course and so proud of Schuyler & his friends as they ski by… my photography has been such a great focus for me during my “cancer” and I feel I have taken it to a new level.  It is always great to focus on something you are passionate about when shit is hitting the fan.  πŸ™‚  Just kidding.  But just like my marathons, I have been spending time training, or sorting through thousands of ski photos to take my mind off what “may be”.  I have such an incredible support system on the mountain… all the parents in the ski club, all the coaches at Devo & Comp and of course my incredible family.

After the Stratton race we were headed straight home after a little Schuyler search to find him at the ceremony….  Once home we got Schuyler ready to spend the next few nights with our amazing friends/neighbors the Courchesne’s.
Our trip to Boston in the morning on the Pike for almost 2 hours put us at the Wang Building of Mass General a few minutes late, we signed in and within 15 minutes “Nancy Cook” was called to the changing area.  I felt like I was in the army with these big plastic bags for my clothes and shoes.  I gave all my “valuables” to Steve – changed in the room and joined him back in the waiting room with my johnny & robe.  Pretty funny when everyone else was in street clothes…. even for that moment, just a bizarre feeling. They called my name again and I was brought to a gurney / spot in the waiting area – met the first of what seemed like 1000 nurses of the day.   This nurse took my vitals and initial bloodwork (they always seem to remark how low my vitals are – 110/50 BP & 50 pulse – all that running is good for a reaction I guess! πŸ˜‰  She and many of the others seemed to be reading my file of how I ran the Chicago marathon while in treatment and just looked at me in disbelief and in awe at the same time.  I sort of felt like a “star”. Steve was finally able to join me for a few minutes (it seemed like only a moment) and they whisked me away down the hall.  Pretty funny how all the orderlies know each other as you move around this HUGE hospital – they smile and are just so sweet.  
They found me a spot in the hall – and the anesthesiologist, a short woman with a huge smile and friendly manner began my “interview” – She promised they weren’t going to do the surgery in the hall and showed me the room.  I then met a few more nurses and “team” that would be taking care of me.  Mass General is a teaching hospital and there are many people that again were reading my chart and making me smile with their comments about my running.  πŸ™‚  (I like that).  πŸ™‚   My surgery was scheduled for 7:45 am and we were on time.
Funny part is that is all I remember now that I am writing this…. I remember seeing Dr. Yoon wandering in the hall and he shook my hand, said hi and …. well it seems to be a blur.  The drugs were real good because honestly I don’t remember anything until I woke up and saw Steve there with me in the recovery area.  I remember that we didn’t get to a room until around 5ish that day.  Long day!  I remember my friend Robin Popp came to visit πŸ™‚  It was great to see her, but I felt so out of it.  Steve was so patient, I guess he just had a long wait for me the entire day.  They said the surgery was a complete success, the initial findings did not indicate any cancer, but the spleen is so big it would take days to biopsy it.  
Finally in the room I was regaining my sense, although in quite a bit of pain from the surgery.  They had tried different pain killers, some that made me nauseous…. my throat was really sore and it was just exhausting.  Steve had his computer out and was right there by my side.  Such a lucky girl.
The lady next to me had her husband or friend there and it was around 9 pm that they wanted to kick them out because of visiting hours.  We had hoped that we could talk them in to letting Steve stay because I was so nervous and anxious, but I didn’t have the energy to fight with the nurses.  πŸ™  So he made the trip home that night.  I slept a little, only to be awaken it seemed every couple hours because my roomie and I were on separate times for vitals.  Steve came back first thing in the morning and the plan was to get me home that day…  I desperately wanted to be home in my own bed and getting some sleep so I could heel. πŸ™‚
Dr. Barnes stopped for a visit during the day – remarked that I looked great, the surgery went well and again no initial signs of cancer.  They had biopsied one “slice” – but needed until Friday or Monday for the results.  To have my spleen removed was the least invasive of all the options…. I just prayed that we would not find more cancer.  Dr. Yoon stopped by too.  He was happy with the surgery results, meaning no complications.  He was a little wary about me going home so soon, but knew that was my goal and made it clear that I had to have enough strength but it was possible.
The last of the 1000 nurses and “team” working on my care was Kristin (sp) and she was awesome.  The goal was to get the catheter out and to be able to walk to the bathroom and back.   Give me a goal – I am there!  She found me sitting up on the window cil ready to go – and she checked me out.  It was 3 pm and we were bound to beat the Pike traffic that afternoon.  
The ride home was really tough.  Bumps were awful and I braced myself for the potholes on the side roads after getting off the Pike.  It was pretty painful.  Once home I could rest.   Recovery this week has been slower than I really wanted it to be, up until yesterday the bumps were just excruciating to my stomach.  Schuyler went to the mountain but we stayed home where Steve did some major driveway repair from the rain, mud and flooding.  
I am so blessed and thankful for all my family and friends.  Flowers, chocolate, cards, books and the coolest of packages to cheer me up have been flowing to the house.  Thank you all so much!

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Nancy Cook 2021

About Nancy

Nancy Peck Cook is a trainer and speaker who has presented in front of large and small audiences for the past 25 years.Β  Her work as an executive and volunteer trainer for the American Cancer Society during the growth of the signature activity Relay For Life trained professionals to be more confident and successful in their roles.Β 

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