Picture of Peggy CummingPeggy Cumming, is a wife, mother, grandmother of 6, sister, niece, cousin and friend, as well as a teacher – retired after 34 years in the classroom – and an athlete.  She is now recovering from surgery.


My Surgery was November 12. I came home from hospital on November 18. Today it’s more than a week later and I have a lot to fill you in on!

I am home, physically safe, but perhaps not mentally sound, and in recovery mode. The hospital experience was indeed an adventure! I can only tell you my story from my layman’s point of view. Remember that I am not a medical person, or even a scientific one. So if you, dear reader, are a medical practitioner, please excuse my non-medical explanations!

I predicted that I would have a moment of peace and faith just before entering the OR. Not so. With bed-side visits from a nurse, an anaesthetist and a surgeon, tons of reality avalanched on to me, bringing a flow of tears, even as each one assured me that everything would be fine. I was wheeled in to the Operating Room where a scrubbed and masked medical army introduced themselves and told me their role. Trying to absorb their voices, the gleaming chrome, the tubes, screens and wires, the needle going into my back, I drifted off to never-never land. My opportunity to claim that moment of faith passed.

The procedure, as I learned afterwards, was incredible! Briefly, in non-medical vocabulary, and probably with some inaccuracies, this is it:

~ Epidural and whatever other anaesthetics are needed

~ locate the mid, back, right rib

~ make an incision through all the layers to the rib

~ wedge open the space between two ribs

~ insert a lung drainage tube through the side wall of the ribs

~ deflate the right lung (think: deflated balloon)

~ pull the lung out through the two-rib space

~ finger-feel the deflated lung, feeling for pea-sized lumps (tumours)

~ locate and identify a lump, cut it off, being careful to take margins, stitch the surface left

~ repeat to find a second and third lump, one from each lobe.

~ return lung back into its cavity

~ re-inflate lung (think: pump up flat bicycle tire)

~ sew up incision, layer-by-layer, and working up to skin surface

~ apply dressings

~ wheel patient (that’s me) to recovery room and let anaesthetic wear off

Later, in the Observation Unit for Chest Diseases, after this unimaginable surgery, I floated upwards, greedy for consciousness, pain-free, and surrounded by people checking tubes and drips and ‘blocks’. Of course, mental confusion was primary. For the next 24 hours, I drifted in and out of my life, noting pain, noting my vigilant husband hovering nearby, noting the kindness and gentleness of nurses and the concern of doctors on their rounds. I tentatively moved parts of my body, trying to assess what I could and couldn’t move without pain, and I soon discovered that I couldn’t move much!

Next blog, I’ll tell you all about my PAIN!

Peggy has her own photoblog, the F-stops here, where she posts a photograph every day.