Expect the best, prepare for the worst.


My surgery is less than a week away and I am starting to fret. I am anxious about having this “wide resection” (what an interesting word, resection: Surgical removal of all or part of an organ, tissue, or structure) of a “significant” amount of the calf muscle in my right leg, and what that may mean for me.

The goal is to rid my leg, and hopefully my body, of any hiding cancer cells who may yet live to foment rebellion another day. While my surgeon has a plan of how much muscle and tissue he will take out in an effort to round-up any strays, he also told me that if he “sees cancer” while he in there rooting around he will go after it. This is both reassuring and unsettling. It’s like asking my dog to fetch me one piece of pizza out of the pizza box. Ok, that was a weird analogy. I couldn’t think of a better one. I spent 15 minutes trying to. But I would never ask my dog to fetch me a piece of pizza. It is like asking a black hole not to swallow stars.

Okay, perhaps I should steer clear of analogies tonight.

I grilled my surgeon on his plans, like a mother asking her daughter what her plans were for a night out with friends. Wait, I said I wouldn’t do any more analogies. I may need a support group for this.

Let’s just say that my surgeon had to reassure me a lot, a task he somewhat failed at. He did assuage me enough (well, he sweet talked me with his sexy Australian accent) into going ahead with the surgery. But at the same time as he promised I would regain “normal” use of my leg, he also made it clear that things can unpredictable. The hope is my remaining muscle will compensate and allow me to do most things I can do now, although apparently my future career as an Olympic sprinter is over. Rats, I was just getting psyched for that stardom. Well, at least I will have a legit excuse. Sounds better than, oh, say, lack of ambition and talent.

It is worrisome that I won’t really know how my leg will recover and what it is I will actually lose in the end. Only time will tell. For now, I am trying to get my left leg to up its game. This has been met with some resistance. Ol’ Lefty is kind of the lazy one of my two legs, not to mention the more clumsy one. I hope she is up for the job. She really isn’t used to being the leader and the one counted on the most. So far, in practices, she tends to do her best for a few focused moments and then wander off to her more accustomed place in the background, following Righty’s lead. Well, once Righty is out for the count, we will be relying on Lefty to pick up the slack. I just hope she doesn’t just collapse and run off to eat chocolate in bed to console herself.

So, besides being apprehensive about all the fun stuff that comes with major surgery, such as being able to reel off higher numbers on the pain scale and hallucinating while on painkillers, I am also anxious about what recovery will look like long-term. What if I am left with a permanent limp?

Well, at least I have my answer ready when someone asks me what happened to my leg. I’ll look at them with solemn seriousness and say, “Monkeys. Bad monkeys.”

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2 comments on “Expect the best, prepare for the worst.

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