I got home from the hospital about an hour ago (it's now about 2:30 p.m. Saturday), and boy, is it great to be back amid familiar sights, sounds and smells (remember, I have two cats).
The doctors were impressed by the absence of lingering effects from the surgery and agreed with my entreaties that home is where I should be.
The surgery itself wasn't as successful as was hoped for, in that my serum calcium level didn't drop as far as my surgeon and his team would have liked. But the level came down just the same, and we're hoping it will continue.
I'm to report back for tests in a week's time.
I was operated on at Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, and the level of care, compassion and empathy were incredible. ("Yeah, just wait till you get the bill," joked my roommate.) But, joking aside, I was made to feel like a person, not a number or a statistic, by every staff member I met, and the activities and diversions they provide for patients are as impressive as they are broad.
One such activity was a Las Vegas Night on Thursday night, following my surgery, at which I won a bottle of Ralph Lauren "Blue" men's cologne at the blackjack table. As I noted in a response in an earlier post from the hospital, this cologne would've been a true godsend if I hadn't been allowed to shower Friday and today ...
The other activity was a copper enameling workshop at which patients were given precut copper blanks in different shapes and sizes with which to make jewelry.
I made an enso, a circle that in Zen Buddhism represents continuity, no beginning and no end, and reality:
But the highlight of my hospital experience was meeting a remarkable, courageous and inspiring woman, Jen Goodman Linn, and her equally friendly and gracious husband, Dave.
I was walking the corridor Friday morning for exercise when I heard a voice behind me say, "You're walking pretty fast."
I turned around and this charming woman was there. We did laps around the hallway together and learned about our respective situations.
Jen, too, is battling a rare cancer, and her fight inspired her in January to host, with her husband, a fund-raising event at a downtown Manhattan gym to raise money for Sloan Kettering. The event, during which individual riders and teams rode long stints on stationary bicycles, raised $215,000. The couple plan to make it an annual event, and I'm on board for this January.
I mentioned to Jen that I believe the encounters we have with others really aren't random, in my opinion. We meet the people we meet for a good reason, sometimes evident, sometimes not.
The bottom line is, we're all confronting and enjoying and sometimes battling life together.
We can choose to do it together or alone.
I've chosen togetherness.
Once again, I can't begin to thank you all for your good vibes and good wishes and heartfelt comments. My gratitude is a challenge to put into words.