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The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Robotic Surgery – Part III (Bigger, Deeper, and More Complicated)

My left side was riddled with five deep puncture wounds. The medical term for the procedures is robot-assisted partial nephrectomy.

And I was scheduled for a second surgery, this time on my right side, five short weeks later.The waiting might have been the toughest part of the ordeal. But there was no way around my new reality. I had to man up and deal with it. After all, I was carrying the torch for Guy’s Guys.  It was my turn to really walk the walk. Although somehow I knew everything would turn out well, the mind plays tricks to create fear and uncertainty.

Although the first surgery went perfectly and my spirits were high, my left side was very sore. It was covered with bandages and ultra-sensitive to the touch. While traversing the streets of the city I cocked my left arm for protection from the aggressive onslaught of the rush hour crowds. I washed my hands a lot and did whatever else I could to avoid catching a cold. I quickly learned that the violent abruptness of a sneeze could be quite painful after surgery. But, my condition steadily improved.  Each night I slept more soundly, slowly shifting from my back to my side and finally onto my stomach, which is my position A for sleep.

After four days I’d stopped taking painkillers and the stool softeners I was given to combat constipation from the drugs. After a week I looked like my old self, although my abdomen remained swollen from the carbon dioxide pumped into my body cavity during surgery. This is to make space for the doctors to guide the robotic rods safely through the body and around the sensitive organs.  When you have surgery, it’s not like you have the procedure and if it goes well you can immediately go about your business the same way as before. It becomes a series of connected events whose aftereffects each need to be addressed for healing. You’ll need to learn how to eat solid foods again, urinate without pain again, take a shower wrapped in plastic and bandages, and even celebrate the simple pleasure of a morning dump (actually, that never gets old). Plus I already had two doses of general anesthesia and was primed for another one in a few short weeks.

This time the growth was as deeper, larger and trickier to deal with. And so it went for five weeks. While healing, I still knew that in a short time I’d face this procedure again. It would have been easy to think, “why me?” but what good would that do? I knew the reality of the situation. I was lucky that my persistent kidney stone forced me to see a doctor. It was what it was so I searched for the blessing and reckoned this to be my wake-up call.

My two-week post-operative check up could not come soon enough. Good news. The doctors told me everything had gone exactly accordingly to the plan. I looked good, my blood was flowing perfectly with 100% functionality in my kidneys, and I was feeling better every day. There was no further work required on my left side. Hooray!

As I grew stronger over the next few weeks the upcoming procedure still hung over my head like a dark cloud. Each day I continued the ColorWorks and Healing Pool visualizations I learned from Patti Conklin, vibrational healer and medical intuitive that helped me during my bout with the kidney stone. Patti has also been a guest on my GUY’S GUY RADIO podcast. I’d been doing both practices for three months now. Knowing that the tumor was still there, I asked myself if all of the meditating was a simply a rote exercise to distract me from my cold reality. I would find out soon enough.

When the time came for my second surgery I was prepared. I packed a heating pad, coconut water and a thermos of hot organic vegetable broth, requested a window bed and a vegetarian diet. I also learned about the hospital’s grant for its integrated health program so I scheduled a Reiki session the day following my surgery. When I checked into the surgical unit on a cloudy Tuesday in November I was ready to face my future.

After stripping down to that dreaded blue paper gown, socks, and hair net, I leaned back in my chair and waited for the doctor and nurse to file in with their battery of questions. When the first doctor stopped in I asked him what he thought. He inhaled and told me it was a bit more complicated than my left side. He was telling me the truth, but that did not make me feel any better. When the surgeon arrived—the very best, I sensed stress. I asked his opinion of the situation. I already knew that this growth was larger and in a more precarious location than the other one. I had complete faith in this man, but I was entering uncharted waters. When he began his response with “I’m going to try to…” I was concerned although I knew he was just doing his job and focused on the procedure. After he left the room a delay forced me to sit alone in my gown for another uncomfortable forty-five minutes. My mind raced in circles. How would this turn out? Was I in danger of losing my kidney? But this time alone turned out to be a blessing.

I continued the affirmations and visualizations I’d practiced, telling myself, “I am protected by God’s grace”. Then a voice inside let me know that all of my spiritual work had led me to this point. It was time to step up. I had the power to assist the doctors. I took a deep breath and commanded my body to release the growth so it could be easily removed. “Release this growth”, my inner voice repeated over and over. A calm fell over me as I entered the surgical room and lay on my back. Then a wave of emotion enveloped me. No one noticed as my eyes welled up. I felt like my entire life had led me to this moment.

I felt the needle prick my arm and watched a hand begin to lower the oxygen over my face. I gently pushed it aside and said, “I don’t need that. I’m about to go under”. I grabbed one of the doctor’s arms and said, “I’m going to help you. I am releasing this growth.” Then my world went black.

When I awoke my wife was standing beside me. Although I was still groggy from the anesthesia, I heard a doctor tell me that the surgery had been a major success. Then I was wheeled down the corridors to my room. And this time I had the window bed with a view of the East River. Later, as my wife was getting ready to leave, my surgeon stopped by. This time he was beaming. He told me everything had gone according to plan. In fact, he used a 3D printer for the first time to create an image of my kidney. I was so pleased that I had participated in a new method for helping patients. An hour later another doctor showed up. He was also pleased and somewhat surprised when he told me that the growth in my kidney had simply peeled out of my body. I laughed to myself.

That night I befriended my roommate. We talked behind the curtain that separated us for four hours. Bonding with someone I could not see or had never met before reminded me that we exist in a loving universe. It’s up to us to find that love. The following day I received a wonderful Reiki session and the next morning I came home.

It’s been a month since my surgery. I received an ultrasound during my post-op appointment. The radiologist told my kidney and functionality were perfect and looked like they had never been operated on. Sure, I have another set of wounds, but since they are on my side and not my stomach, they are not as unsightly or discomforting. My only side effect was an expansion of the fascia tissue that wraps the muscles in my abdomen. That said, God willing, the swelling should subside and I should looking good by the spring.

2014 has been a long ordeal that’s put my day-to-day life on hold.  Now I understand that this was a necessary part of my soul path. I learned to trust, to know and to never give away the power we all have inside. We are the miracle.  Onward…