Thank you for your prayers. I had never had surgery before. The doctors are pleased with my rate of healing. The best surprise was that they took the skin for my nose from my shoulder, and not my forehead. It is a huge relief. I still have to keep my nose covered and clean. It took two office visits (my MOHS surgeon worked from eight in the morning till 5:30 at night, after the office closed) and an overnight hospital stay. But I am home, and happy to be here. My plastic surgeon had several young interns observe and even work on me, and the propriatery interest they took after in my stitches was touching. I have rules for four to six weeks:
- No CPAP machine. The pressure would crush my nose.
- No lying down, not even to sleep.
- No lifting anything more than five pounds.
- No bending over.
- No bowing my head. In the Liturgy, when they say, “Let us bow our heads unto the Lord,” all I can do is meekly lower my eyes.
- No blowing my nose.
- No scratching.
- But if I have to sneeze, I have to hold onto my nose with both hands.
My youngest is getting married soon and I will not be completely healed for the wedding. I am still applying ointment, xerofoam, and gauze. The thread from the xerofoam gets in my eyes and tickles my nostrils. The bandages get soaked if I drink my water or coffee without a straw. And the bandages slip off, causing me to flash people with my healing skin at coffee hour. Not a look.
That said, the doctor is very, very happy. At my first visit, I just thought my nose we congested. I wasn’t allowed to explore. But the doctor had me flip my head back and with plyers and tweezers he extracted something. He was so happy and I was so shocked that I wrote a poem:
The doctor thrust the tweezers into my nostrils, from which my departed uncles had, in my youth, removed quarters, to my amazement. This one, though, surprised me more. unfolding splint after splint with a flourish of his wrist. He smiled wide and laughed, as had my uncles. "Bet you didn't know that THESE were up there," he said. It explains just so much.
My husband tells me that my profile has changed, and he is correct. I have Michael Jackson’s nose from the 1960’s, sort of flat and wide. In another year they can do more surgery. But for now I just want to heal.
I am not taking most of my vitamins or herbal supplements because they might make me bleed more, and even had to dump a cup of willow bark tea because I can’t have asprin, which comes from willow bark.
Friends have spoiled us, sending or bringing me soup, a healthy dinner with zuccinni noodles, and locally sourced eggs from their own chickens. I am grateful.
But I am tired. All I can think of are first lines, not whole poems.
I am amazed at people’s kindness. I have received wooden roses, so I don’t have to water them. Three different monasteries are praying for us. My husband has gone shopping with me, his least favorite thing to do in this life, so I don’t have to lift things. And he has accepted this task with joy and patience which are contagious.
After all, we didn’t cut off my nose to spite my face. We cut off parts to save me. And it’s a miracle. I used to have cancer all over my face and not even know it. Then I knew it but still had it. And now, God has gifted doctors to be able to remove the cancer and restore my face. That is a miracle. It’s worth four more weeks of caution.
Glory be to God for all things.