Oxycontin, Cancer & the Bogeyman

My operation last week was a success, the painkiller oxycontin has been even more of a success and on top of my regular medications I’ve been pretty much “out of it”. I have a vague recollection of being in the theatre recovery room; a few blurry faces taking my stats.  Then the surgeon trying  to talk to me but there was a fuzzy cloud of pain that I couldn’t listen through so I blurted out  a “I’m sore” and then someone else asked “big sore or little sore?” I remember tutting  in my mind thinking “oi I’m not a baby” then replied “big sore”.  A pill in front of my face with a cup of water that I couldn’t lift my hand to hold and I was off to sleepyland again. Having arrived at the hospital for 7.30am and being ready for surgery by 9am, first on the days list, I didn’t wake again until almost 4pm! I realised I was in a ward rather than the small procedure recovery area so thought I was being kept in overnight. I tried to get up but came over a bit wobbly so pressed the buzzer instead. Quickly followed  by an awkward pee in a commode next to the bed, helped by a lovely european lady who said she was just the “skivy” and a nurse would be in to see me in a moment. I really felt awful that she was doing some of the most personal care for patients but thought to name herself such a demeaning term but I didn’t get a chance to talk to her again as she left as the nurse walked in.

That’s when I found out I’d been moved to the ward as I’d been tachycardic all day. My stats were taken soon after I arrived that morning and it was noted my heart was beating fast and I had a raised temperature. I let them know I tend to run hot anyway and my temperature changes all throughout the day and they weren’t really surprised about the raised heart rate when about to go through an operation but my heart had remained fast all day even under anaesthesia so there is something else that has to be looked into! Hubby arrived and helped me get cleaned up, normally iodine is used to clean the skin before an operation but as I’m allergic to seafood some other bright pink substance had been used and I was still covered by its staining. In comfy pjs and back in bed I dozed on and off for a while until the surgeon came in. I can’t quite place his accent but he speaks broken english so it’s difficult to follow him sometimes anyway he reported that everything had gone well though more tumours had been discovered. He’d found small grape like clusters under my thyroid and down into my chest cavity putting some pressure on my vocal nerve which he said explained why I’d been having issues with my voice. It had all been removed and sent to the lab.

He explained to me that from the biopsy results and the findings during the surgery I have stage 3 thyroid cancer and it could be at higher stage but they would not know until the lab work comes back in a few weeks. It could be that nothing else needs done or perhaps i’ll need the rest of my thyroid removed or I may undergo a radio therapy treatment. It was quite a shock! With results showing the lump was most likely a benign goiter just at the point of turning cancerous I wasn’t quite prepared to hear this.  That it had already spread was appalling.  My insides felt like jelly and it certainly wasn’t just the meds. He reassured me of the high success rate and reiterated that I may not even need more surgery or the radio therapy.  He also explained there are different types of thyroid cancer and that I had the better one to get. He asked how I was feeling and I just said “fine” and he said it was up to me now if I wanted to stay overnight or go home. A hospital bed or my own bed next to my husband? There was no contest! He said he hoped to call me with good news soon. It damn well better be good news after what this family has already been through this year. It’s like the curse of 2015!

So I was discharged with paracetamol and dihydracodiene. I had to smile at the box of paracetemol, it had stopped being of much use a good way back but the dihydracodene usually layered up well with my daily medications so off home I gladly went. The pain began to get worse during the night when the slow release oxycontin must have been wearing off and the dihydracodiene although helping a little was not keeping me comfortable. It felt like he must have had both arms down my throat! I called my doctors surgery as soon as it opened.  They asked for my discharge letter so they could give me the same dose of oxycontin as I had from the hospital. I think it must be a lower dose though as although I have slept and napped a lot I have at least had some time fully awake this week! It has not only helped dampen the pain from my wound and the area around it but it’s also helped a lot with my usual fibromyalgia pains. In fact it is the least amount of pain I have felt in the last year or two. Pity it’s not a long term solution.. I really wouldn’t want to feel so hazy all the time. I’m having a medication review from the pain clinic specialist any time now so hopefully we can make some changes. Anyway I have been extra restricted in what I can do and as it’s cold and flu season I’m to stay home as getting a cold just now would not be good at all! On my agenda, apart from naps, has been lots of cups of tea, a smidge of hagen daaz ice cream here and there (don’t tell my doc), listening to audio books on my tablet, playing the best fiend app and lots and lots of TV! Just thinking of sitting at the pc made me feel cold and sore and I just haven’t felt compos mentis enough to successfully string words together. Now as I’m coming off the oxycontin I’m begining to feel more like myself.

I mentioned in a recent blog post how in every day there are little reminders of my childhood trauma and many of those triggers come from tv shows. Most of these are small occurrences that pass by quickly with just a few moments of thoughts about that time. There’s very rarely anything gets passed the poker face for family to see. With tv being such a large part this weeks entertainments we have watched our regular shows and some movies and gone on to try out new shows one of which is called Backstrom. It’s from the makers of Bones, which we follow, so we had high hopes for it. It’s different, quirky, my husband pledged his allegiance to follow the show right from episode one but it grew on me a little slower. It’s one of those police procedural shows with a beat down detective paired with a young female novice and a team of other idiosyncratic characters. Scenes in episode 5 hit me like a ton of bricks! It got to me big time! Most of the show resonated with me but the dialogue between the  detective and his housemate hit me the hardest. I guess already feeling a bit fragile made me more vulnerable than usual….

it’s a bit of a read but I hope you bear with me.

[Sighs] What am I missing?

[Scoffs] Why are you asking me? We all have our own bogeymen.
I know what happened to you.
I read the police report.
Well, then, you already know everything.
I know hustlers and I know you, and I know you told the police as little as possible.
I was fresh on the street, and he got his hands on me before I developed my survival instincts.
My story’s no use to you.
My bogeyman died 10 years ago.
He doesn’t have Talia Lennox.
They’re all the same evil bastard.
He had you for three days.
You looked straight into his eyes while he did the things he did to you.
Help me catch him.
The bogeyman starts out kind.
He makes you feel special for being chosen.
Then he tells you he loves you.
– Which is a lie.
– No.
Not to him, it’s not.
He means it.
Believe me when I say I never been looked at with so much love.
Even when he marked me.
He tattooed you?

He branded me with his cigarette over and over.
I got tattoos to cover the scars so I wouldn’t have to remember him every day for the rest of my life.
But you got away.
[Sighs] I was fast And lucky.
All in all, he wasn’t so bad, you know? [Sighs] There are worse bogeymen.
[Cellphone clicks, beeps] [Ringing]

I’ve never seen anything on tv that cut me open like this, something that so plainly showed the struggle between love and hate for a young victim. A coercion of kindness that traps you.

I have never really thought about my step father as a bogeyman. He was a bad man of that I am sure. He knew how to play me right from the start. I was 10 when we met. Mother left me with my Nana to finish the school year while she moved in with him taking my little brother with her.  When I joined them later I felt disconnected and resentful. I was lonely and angry and I believe right from there he began working on me because he did make me feel special! He was kind and made a fuss over me. He would step in to protect me from Mothers rages. He would take me out with him to “help tidy the office” but it was really time away from my duties. There were gifts. There was a strong bond growing. I had a Dad again and it seemed this one loved me best. Slowly the cuddles changed to long hugs where hands roved and it got worse from there. I didn’t really mind at first.. I’d already experienced touchy feely boys. It felt quite nice to begin with and I certainly didn’t think anything wrong was happening. I thought that was how boys showed they loved you. I felt I was returning his love, a payment due for being cared about. A debt I owed to be loved. He used that word a lot “love”, like he could see into my soul and read there what I craved most! I didn’t feel loved by Mother anymore. I’d been cut off from those I loved the most so I flung myself into the arms of this new Daddy and paid the price. I played the doting daughter very well. I told myself it wasn’t happening and blocked the bad things out . It has been such a struggle to come to terms with my monster also being the person who I felt so much love for then and nothing but hatred for now. It still twists my guts how easily he controlled me and how horrific his true face was when he  showed that. When I tried to stop it. When I said it was wrong. When I said NO and that didn’t matter. Oh yes he’s a bogeyman alright! He haunts my dreams and memories and still hurts me through them. Filth in a mans shape! Am I a bad person because I look forward to the day I know he’s dead!

I managed not to collapse into a blubbering wreck at the time but it flooded my mind with unwanted memories I’ve found hard to shake out. There’s a simmering rage in me that would love to have him at my mercy and then the better part of me talks me down. I’m free of them all, the monsters had their time with me and it’s long over. I’ve had over 25 years with a real man since then. Building a family strong with real love and they have been my angels.. carrying me away from all that pain.