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Guest DaveG

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When I had my first thorocomy, October 8, 2001, I had no idea the post op pain would be so bad. My lung would not cooperate and re-expand as it should. The nurses kept telling me to keep a pillow around my right side to help brace the ribs, especially when I coughed. I could not get comfortable no matter how I positioned the pillow.

The following Sunday, I wanted to watch the Packers. My wife is not a football fan, and she wanted to leave, but did not want to leave me alone for that long of a period. Our daughter, who is an Audiologist at the Marshfield Clinic, where I went for my surgery, came in and sat with me and we watched the game together (she is an avid Packers fan).

At some point, during the game, I fell asleep. When I awoke, my wife was back and she told me that I had a visitor. I looked around the room and no one but my wife was there (Our daughter left when her mother returned). I asked what she meant and she pointed to the bedside table. On the table sat a teddy bear, about 12 inches in height. She handed the teddy bear to me, and as I squeezed it, I found it to be soft and cuddly. I immediately removed that #@% pillow from under my right side, and that teddy bear found a home. His arms and legs fit perfectly around my side, as if he was clinging to me. The comfort of that teddy bear was what I needed.

I know that the teddy bear was given as a "little joke" my wife and I have shared for years. We always have done something for the other, "off the wall", whenever one of us have been hospitalized. This time was different, as my wife knew I was enduring the worst pain of my life and that the other part was bothering me as well, how to live with cancer. It was her way of saying "Hon, everything will be all right".

That teddy bear has a special place in our lives now. Last Valentines Day he got a girl friend. His name is Buddy, as that was what he became, while I was in the hospital, and when I first came home. He provided that comfort I needed for cushioning my ribs. Her name is Betty. He's a brown and tan bear, she is a polar bear.

When I went back for my second thorocotomy, you guessed it, Buddy went along.

Those of us who have had thorocotyomies have grown to understand pain. We have endured one of the worse surgeries known. Anytime the chest is opened, it is major surgery. When one has to deal with cancer, as well, the recovery is that much harder. I would care to bet that each of us, in our way, have found the means to respond and respond positively. It is hard to withstand both the surgery and the cancer at the same time. I have experienced every emotion possible: anger, hatred, guilt, denial, withdrawal, and then into acceptance, love, laughter, and self fullfillment. That's what cancer has done to me.

That little teddy bear came into my life just at the right time. He was given with the attitude "I want to help, and love", and he did his part. He is still a part of my life and I am not afraid to admit that I am 59 years old and have a teddy. :D:D:D

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What a loving and caring wife you have. We all have our 'teddies', my daughter had a pin her daddy gave her-an angel that changed color when you held it. similar to those old mood rings. She pinned it to my pillow in the hospital and now after 2 yrs that angel gets pinned to my pillowcase home or hospital. Feels good at night to touch it and know the angel is there.

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My husband wears the "saints". He was given an angel pin, 3 Fr. Solanus pictures in plastic(he is almost a saint-he lived and worked in Detroit), and a scapuler(another thing that old time Catholics wear). Whenever we go anywhere I ask "do you have your saints?" Fr. Solanus needs one more miracle to become a saint-who knows it could be Gianni.


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