My Cancer Story: Getting Ready for Surgery


I’m a project person.

I like to be organized.

And I’m fond of shopping.

So I took on preparing for surgery with a touch of gusto. I was scheduled for a hysterectomy on July 8. A month earlier a biopsy had revealed endometrial cancer.

I bought a new nightgown.


Hospital Stuff

I found stretchy shorts. I wouldn’t be able to wear waistbands for a while.

And I picked up some other post-surgery items.

I put sheets on the guestroom beds, since I thought it best not to climb our long stairs for a week or so.

And I made the house as tidy as could be.

As the day approached, a sort of calm came over me.

Yet I had moments when my illness hit me anew. Our pastor sends out a weekly email with announcements of upcoming happenings at Hillsborough Presbyterian Church.


Church Announcement




I felt so good. How could I be sick?

The night before the surgery, I took a final walk on our brand new riverwalk. I had no idea when I’d be able to walk this trail again.


I talked to my girls on the phone, and to my mom (I didn’t tell her a word about my illness until after the surgery).

Got the blog set.

Packed my hospital bag.  Added a folder with my Living Will.

Gave my ID and medical card to Cliff to carry.

Took a shower with antibacterial scrub per hospital instructions. Talk about squeaky clean!

The very last project was taking off my nail polish.  Hospital rules state it has to be removed. One pedicure down the tubes.


Three weeks later, after the surgery, I sank into a bit of a funk. My oncologist said it’s normal. “You sail into cancer surgery with  blinders on,” she explained. “You do what you have to do. Later you stop and really reflect.”

And that was me.

I did what I had to do.

And got as ready as I could.

With the help of my husband and the well wishes of friends and family, I was off to UNC Hospital at five the next morning. Lights out!


24 thoughts on “My Cancer Story: Getting Ready for Surgery”

  1. Thank you for sharing your story so that we can all learn from it. Plus, it’s really well written and compelling to read! I hope you’re feeling stronger physically and emotionally as each week passes.


  2. Interesting that you started to “nest” so to speak…..getting your house all ready and all your ducks in a row. You have a story to share and you do it so well.


  3. We rally and then later we process it all. Like a letdown headache. Only much much worse. You are a brave woman Barbara, thank you for sharing your cancer story. We just lost a cousin to lung cancer and I wish she could have shared more with her family.


    1. Ah. Sad about your cousin. I think I’m able to share openly because it went so well. Not sure I’d feel so willing to revisit if the experience was awful. That said, i do wish all ill people would share more openly. It’s the only way we can know to help (and perhaps how to help.)


    1. If you’d told me a few years ago that I’d have a good time taking hospital pictures, I wouldn’t have believed you. Blogging has helped me so much with this experience. Thanks to you, Carol, and everyone for reading!


  4. All cancer is tough after the diagnosis and initial procedure. Cope and cope and more coping! You know you could have asked me for a nightgown!!! Best wishes for a continued recovery.


  5. So glad you are feeling great. What a poignant post. Reality is reality, even when we look around and think, this is my life? But good news is that we make it through these tough times even stronger. Loved your honest look at this moment in your life.


  6. Thanks for sharing so openly about your surgery to give others the courage to face their own battles. I hope that it was successful and that you are on the mend.


  7. Thanks for sharing the details of your preparation for surgery with us. I can totally understand that ‘get the job done’ approach. Check. Check. Double check. There. I’m ready. Let’s go. Yup. I can totally understand that. Thanks again, Barbara.


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