The Story of Us
Retrospective: 4 quick glimpses back into March 31st 2015 – Chpt 6 amputation
The morning of Brendan’s operation came around fast. In those last couple of days leading up to it, seeing him in so much pain was unbearable. At one point he said through clenched teeth “only a couple of days to go, only a couple of days to go,” I knew the pain was excruciating, but when I heard him say that, knowing that for him losing his leg was a better option than the pain he was in… that was heartbreaking!
Sue and Michael were meeting us in the hotels basement car park at 6:15 am to take us to the hospital, luckily it was just up the road. Brendan’s pain was so severe by now that he had to lay on the ground in the car park as we waited the 2 minutes they were behind us in the next elevator. The extremely high doses of pain medication prescribed were no longer effective. The tumour had grown so large, his leg was bent at the knee and couldn’t be straightened. It had been in this position for some weeks.
It had been a long day and at last he was resting comfortably after his operation. He looked good, and I told him so. His leg was gone and nothing can prepare you for that, but he was the same Brendan he’d always been and he looked really good. It was now he told me that he woke from the anaesthetic crying, and didn’t know why. He quickly realised it was because he couldn’t feel any pain. He was free!
As Sue, Mike and I waited for the lift after leaving Brendan to rest that evening, Sue said to me: “are you Ok?” I heard myself say yes, but could feel an overwhelming surge of grief and heartache move unexpectedly through my body like a rumbling train. I collapsed into their arms sobbing uncontrollably. As they held me up I was aware of the lift door opening and closing, I know now it was because I kept pressing the button. Although too overwhelmed to actually go anywhere, in my mind I was trying to get into the lift so Brendan wouldn’t hear me crying.
Time has passed quickly since that day and today I’m celebrating all of the challenges my husband has overcome in the last year. He walked out of that hospital on one leg and a pair of crutches just 14 days after his operation, and hasn’t stopped since!
Along with jumping on a trampoline with the kids, he can still paddle out the back on his surfboard and catch a wave, body surf, and tinker with our cars. He still works hard at getting commando fit and yes, he can dance. Sure his chemotherapy is ongoing and he get’s tired more easily than he would like … a lot of the time. He is now really sun sensitive due to his medication and ease of mobility and comfort with his prosthetic leg are a work in progress. But he has come a long way. We all have.
There are some challenges ahead still to be conquered; like getting rid of the remaining tumours, working on getting back behind the wheel of his car, mowing his own lawn and getting back to work – and he’s getting there…slowly but surely.
Everything takes that bit longer to do now than it did before…but he’s still doing it, and that makes me very happy.
Lifes Good and Hope is Limitless.
Interesting Fact…since losing his leg Brendan gets phantom leg syndrome. A lot of the time he still feels like his leg is there and he gets itchy toes, or an itchy knee and sometimes some shooting pain. He says it feels like the leg is still bent in the same position it was in before amputation and he has tried to straighten it out, but can only move it a fraction. He can however move it from side to side!
I can only imagine how tricky this makes trying to walk on his prosthetic… although I don’t think he can feel the phantom leg there all the time? I think it is more active at some times than others. But when it occurs he has full awareness of the phantom leg.
As an energy therapist I find it absolutely fascinating but not unusual, to know that he can still feel his leg, even though physically it isn’t there. The human body is such a mystery.
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