I feel as though I'm living by a countdown clock.
In less than one week I am to have a benign growth removed. In less than ten I am to have umbilical hernia surgery.
This is how the hernia played out. In late summer of 2012 I felt a small lump on the side of my navel. The doctor chuckled and dismissed it as "an umbilical scar." I thought: does he actually believe if this existed since I was born that I'd come to him with it after all these decades?
By September or October his tune changed when this lump became visually obvious. It was a hernia. He didn't feel I needed to speak with a surgeon, that these things sometimes don't get any bigger, that it's not bad enough to worry about. Like it hadn't gotten any bigger already...
I wasn't physically aware of it; it was more visually disturbing. Through most of 2013 my navel looked like a crescent. With th autumn diagnosis I ceased daily exercise on my lower back and abs to slow the process.
In September and October came six weeks without an elevator. I'd stocked up on bottled water, juice, meat, frozen vegs... And somehow I could still count on one hand the number of times I didn't walk up five flights without bags of something. Fed up with doing them by hand I managed two loads of laundry in the basement as well.
Following that the bulge progressed. It was time. In early November I consulted a surgeon. I would have had the procedure asap if my boss didn't have a ton of personal days to use up. That left me covering most of our team's duties (a third was on medical leave) and I couldn't take off.
Since planning mid-January there have been postponements of one sort or another. A faux appendix scare, a benign growth, and the surgeon's two-week holiday have assigned a hard date of February 19th.
I'm scared shitless. The time has come. Everyone thinks I'll be okay and nothing will go wrong with the surgery. I'm carrying bags of stuff home to take tomorrow: toothpaste, toilet paper, art supplies, fruit (the raspberries will need to go into the freezer).
I've dilligently avoided dairy for ten days, which makes a difference but doesn't solve environmental allergens. In fact as I type this I have an eye-tearing tickle in the back of my throat on a crowded subway train.
I never had the growth removed. It will have to wait till about May or June once the hernia site has healed sufficiently.
The office-issue laptop will remain with Dad to start (he lives a few blocks from the hospital and half a mile from rehab), but I'll have other means of communication with friends family and colleagues. And art supplies. With carpal tunnel.