It is exactly two weeks since we received the post treatment protocol. We had left the office resigned to leaving the port in until after the three month scans, which weren't until August. Zack wasn't thrilled, but understood the reasoning. He is healing and quickly. He has been able to work with both Frank and our neighbor, earning a weekly paycheck and feeling very much like the "it" guy as well he should! He keeps reminding us that after a year of physical limitations he can't wait for the port to be removed so he can move ahead with his plans.
On Tuesday he went with one of his friends who is a volunteer on the rescue squad and signed up. Through coincidence one of the Captains is my OB's nurse and was already expecting him after I shared his intentions of joining. I had explained the past year to her and with that knowledge she advised Zack of what training he could participate in and what he would have to wait for. He returned home from the first meeting excited and immediately sat down filling out the paperwork.
He went to the local community college, signed up and completed his placement tests. He scored well on everything but math and since it has been over two years since taking math, decided to retest after studying a bit. In typical bureaucratic fashion, he had to schedule a meeting to schedule the test. If I had my camera on me that exact moment when he explained this to me, the expression was priceless. His plan is to go for two years and take all of the automotive courses graduating with his associates degree. He then wants to move on to Nashville, TN and go to Nashville Auto Diesel to complete his education. We are so glad he is staying close to home for a couple more years as there is still a lot more scans to make it through and having him here will make it easier to monitor.
We had a special guest from Swedin, our nephew Kahleb (brother Bob's son). Kahleb is five months younger than Zack is a high functioning Autistic and though we haven't seen him in over a year, it's as if we saw him last week. Zack took one of his friends with him to Hendersonville, picked up Kahleb and spent the day with him, showing him his favorite spots in Brevard, mainly the auto shop, the Tractor Supply and later took him to dinner with a couple of friends. Kahleb had such a great time he asked to come and spend a couple of days with Zack. The boys were invited to a bonfire at T-Dubs house and Zack was so excited to introduce his cousin to everyone. They were having such a great time they spent the night, sleeping in the back of the truck (Kahleb slept in the cab). The next day was spent going from one friends house to another. Zack has truly become the social butterfly.
Saturday we finally laid Franks father to rest. His ashes were placed next to his parents (his wishes) in a graveyard in Toxaway. It was a brief service, consisting of two songs from Shawn's Ipad and the burying of a solid brass urn I had purchased as a gift. Kahleb decided to come and found the whole thing very interesting. Once the ceremony was over the boys couldn't wait to go yet again to another bonfire. It was so special to see how much fun they had together and Kahleb wouldn't stop talking about his experiences and how he felt so comfortable around Zack and his friends. He tells me "Aunt Sabrina, you know I feel very safe when I'm with Zack, no one is going to mess with me or him!" Of course Zack loved that!!
Once Kahleb returned to spend the rest of his time with his maternal grandmother, it was life as usual. Zack was back at work as were we. Nancy and I had set a time to get together for pedicures, (a gift card I had been hanging on to since my Birthday in April). Zack and I prior arrangements to meet after and go to Hendersonville together. As Nancy and I are saying goodbye, Zack walks up, gives us both a hug and when Nancy asks how he is feeling, he gives his usual thumbs up. When she asks if he feels more like he did before the treatments, he points to the area where the port is and angrily says to me "I want this fu.....ing thing OUT MOM!!!" He turns to walk away as he waved goodbye to Nancy. As I get into the car, he apologizes for his tone and explains that "he just wants this all done, he wants to work out, train at the rescue squad and be normal!" I totally understand and explain "message received","If you really want it out now, then we will get it done." I explain, again, that IF they do find anything with the three month scans he will have to have it re inserted. We all agree that he has been cancer free since the removal of the tumor, so the chances are quite good that the scans will continue to come out clear. On the way to town I make a few phone calls to arrange surgery for the following week. This is actually going to work out better since his insurance changes on the 1st of July and we start with another deductible and out of pocket.
The surgery was scheduled for Friday at 9 am. The week was spent with us all working. Zack got in as much of his normal activities as possible, knowing he wasn't going to able to do much for at least a week until the area healed. I received a call asking us to come in earlier, 6 am to be exact and still knowing we would have to get up and leave by 5 am, we were game. We arrived at an outpatient surgical center. Zack and I were the first to arrive, so we had all our paperwork cleared and were waiting for the rest of the staff to come in. As I am sitting there, looking around, I realize the room is filled with children. Most of them under the age of three. My curiosity gets the better of me and I ask a few of the parents, "tubes in ears" was the most common response. It was hard for me to keep quiet, but I did. Today was about Zack and I didn't feel like "preaching" to deaf ears (pardon the irony). "My own nephew didn't have to have tubes put in his ears after several adjustments" would be my usual intro into Chiropractic discussions. But today, my energy is gone, my desire to do or think about anything or anyone but Zack was simply not there.
The nurse calls me over thinking I was having the surgery. She asks for my name, I tell her Zack Fisher is here for the surgery. She looks me up and down and says "then why are YOU up here?" I simply say "because he is 17 years old and I'm his mother!" as she leans over her desk looking at Zack sitting in the chair by the window, she says "OH MY!!!, " We are called to the back and asked for him to put on the tie in the back gown. They end up bringing him one of the largest they have and bring him a surgeon's cap to wear as well. Over and over again, the head nurse, anesthesiologist, aide to the surgeon, aide to the anesthesiologist and finally the surgeon all walk in. Each time, they ask the same questions. By the time the surgeon enters the room Zack looks up at him and says "Zachariah Fisher, I go by Zack, I graduated this year and am going into college for automotive, I'm having the port removed from my left side, no I'm not allergic to anything, yes this is my mother, yes I'm only 17, I know... I'm a big kid!" The surgeon looks at him, then me and says "Well alright then, see you in a few minutes". "Oh wait please, can you make a vertical cut over the horizontal? If I'm going to have a scar I would love to tattoo a treasure map over my shoulder and the X can mark where the treasure was" The surgeon can't make any promises, but will see what he can do. When all was said and done, he did make a small incision as requested.
The surgery was not long at all. The staff were all amazing and kind. Zack woke up quite loopy from being put under and the fun began. He would tell the recovery nurse that he is going to have "your name" tattooed on his butt, so that he could win every bet and make a fortune. She looked at me as if to question what that meant. Zack then explained "if I have YOUR NAME on my butt, then I can bet everyone that I have YOUR NAME on my butt" It took her awhile, but she finally got it and thought he was hilarious!!! I offered for her to keep him!!
It took about three days of him staying at home and resting for the scar to heal. It is now Monday and just about completely healed up. He missed out on a couple of fun get togethers this weekend, but once I reminded him this was just for a couple of days, he lightened up. His attitude continues to amaze me and everyone around him. He continues on his new path and continues to teach us daily about the true meaning of life.