9:00 am Saturday morning, just 24 hours after surgery, a smiling Dr. Bouton peels back the bandages covering my incision. I smile and comment when I see my mole is still there. He says yes, "moles like that distinguish who we are. The others in the operating room wondered why I wouldn't remove it from you. I told them "its been a part of her for a long time now, and she never asked me to take it." He then shows me the large mole on his arm. "Doctor friends for years have told me they would remove it for me. Why I say? Its part of who I am and I like it just fine."
I like Dr. Bouton. His Texan accent matches his Texas sized personality. He dispenses his medical knowledge cheerfully, with lots of wisdom and lots of authority as well.
He puts a light dressing back on over my sutures and glue, then tells me how to care for them and my drain and says "you're doing well enough to go home."
By noon, we are released. I marvel at modern medicine.
The boys go to the lake with Grandpa and Grandma.
I rest in my own bed. Moving is a challenge as I discover the absence of muscle in my chest wall and a dull aching soreness that kicks in when I've pushed too far. I re-learn using my left side, awkwardly.
We fill the narcotic pain med prescription that requires a special note from the doctor. The bottle sits full on the counter. I am getting by on Tylenol, but I have back up just in case.
I fall asleep early, fully dressed, on top of the covers. At 3 am I awake. The dull ache has set in again, sore, but not so much painful. I run my hands down the new landscape of my shape. One long, flat, surface where curves once prevailed. Its like getting a tooth pulled, and your tongue goes to that empty hole over and over again, until the hole is old news and becomes just another part of you. I get up and look at my concave chest...
I am broken.
"It took a long time for me to sort through all of the noise and clutter of it all to realize that I am whole."
"I am in pain, sick, frail, homebound, bedbound, without great possibility or potential in my future."
"In all of that, I am whole. I am complete. I am exactly what God made me to be in the exact time He created me to be it."
I have printed her words out and have them close to me. I am broken, but in that brokenness, I am perfectly "whole." They can burn, and now slash, the diseased part of me, but I remain whole.
I hear the hum of the crickets through the open window. They lull me back to a peaceful and deep sleep.