Cancer Journey – Surgery cont’d

Depending on the tumor and its location, there may be different types of surgery that are applicable.

Perhaps the most common type of surgery for tumors is the most invasive; this involves full anesthesia and a few hours on the operating table. Fortunately, with new discoveries being made all the time there are now more alternative surgeries available which are less invasive and may not involve full anesthesia.

There can be laproscopic surgery during which the operation is performed far from the location of cancer. It involves a small incision (1.5cm) elsewhere on the body through which the surgeon can reach the tumor.

There is cryptotherapy, which uses very low temperature to freeze the tumor.

There is radiofrequency ablation where a small needle is inserted into the tumor and it is destroyed by applying a high frequency electrical signal.

Or there can be burning of the tumor with a laser beam.

Hopefully, your lot will be easier and will involve one of these less invasive procedures. The surgery I described in my last blog involved removal of the tumor under full anesthesia.

When I look back at this experience of 12 years ago, there is only one thing that stands out in my memory: that everyone in the hospital was efficient and coldly polite. I was given no opportunity to talk to anyone or ask any questions – all the nurses were busy and spent only the necessary time with me to accomplish what they needed me to do. I felt as if I were an object, which required to be directed and told what to do and where to go. I was not entitled to have an opinion or any questions for that matter, and my co-operation was limited to doing exactly what I was told to do. I cannot imagine a more disempowering environment than this.

For those who lose parts of their body during surgery this unfriendly environment is even worse. I know of women with breast cancer, who undergo mastectomy. Losing a breast or even both breasts is a very traumatic experience for many women. I cannot imagine how traumatic it can feel to be treated in such impersonal, cold way as if one was an object. No wonder it is estimated that about 30% of cancer patients have PTSD.

Thank God for yoga! It allowed me to keep my inner peace and calm despite the rather unsettling environment. I cannot imagine how difficult this experience might be for someone who does not have the tools of yoga to help manage their thoughts and emotions while they are in such an unfriendly environment with growing anxiety and fear just before surgery.

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