The next day was hard. I remember my three little sisters asking me if I was all right. I could not see much more than light and my head was throbbing like 1,000 beating drums. I didn't want to scare my sisters. At ages 8, 6, and 3, I didn't want them to feel the fear that I was feeling. I am glad that none of them have yet to endure such a procedure. I wouldn't wish it upon anyone.
That morning, the doctors had directed my parents to give me some medications. These were to be taken prior to the surgery. These medications made me feel sluggish and tired.
On the drive up to Seattle, I remember thinking about the new friend that I had made in the waiting room a few days prior. She didn't have hair and looked very sickly. Her name was Emily. We had a lot in common and wanted to get to know each other better. So, we exchanged addresses and agreed to become penpals. She was about to undergo chemotherapy, a much more scary operation then mine. I thought about how brave she was. I wanted to be that brave. I wanted to pretend that everything was fine. Getting to know Emily in the waiting room was great. The new friendship helped me see how blessed I was. It nurtured hope and inner strength to carry on.
Comfort Along The Way
To help me feel comfortable, I brought the blanket with me that the elders had made. It was warm and comforting. I also brought a stuffed animal that my grandmother had given me to keep me company.
My parents were there with me the whole time. They were always positive and looking at the bright side. Something that my dad had said stuck with me through the years. Whenever I cried he would ask, "What's the worst that could happen?" I would reply in tears, "I could die." He then queried, "and what happens after you die?" Througha quivering smile I would respond, "I would go to heaven." Those strong words kept me going. No matter what trials lay ahead, I know that God will always be with me.
My Crazy-Awesome Mother
At this time, my mother was very pregnant with baby number 5, Lillyanna. I remember my mom's back and stomach always hurting on the 2+ hour (one-way) drives to and from the hospital. She is so amazing. She has advocated for me in fights with numerous doctors, pharmacies, and insurance companies. She spent many an hour on the phone making sure that I got all of the medications and care that I needed.
It seemed like we had been sitting in the waiting room for hours. When they finally called my name, the nurse took us through a maze of hallways, to a white operating room. All of the doctors wore white uniforms and face masks. After entering, they had me lay down on the table.
The anesthesiologist asked if I was ready. Looking to my parents with a brave smile, I said, "Yes". I was warned that I would feel a little prick (It was bigger than a little prick). They had me count backwards from 10. As I counted through fearful tears, the room began to darken. It went black before I had reached 0. I was now under anesthesia.