Lumpectomy – My Cancer Journey

Is there anyone who looks forward to surgery? I am such a lightweight when it comes to medications. The slightest dose and I am done.

I was disappointed with Bill from the night before. He fell asleep on the couch. I needed his arms around me, holding me during the night. But I didn’t verbalize that, merely wished it and when it didn’t happen, I was disappointed.

We arrived at the hospital on time. Registered and then I was called in. Bill was instructed to wait until I was settled. I had been informed the week before that I would be receiving the wire the day of the surgery, not the seed. Bill was ushered in after the nurse had taken my vitals and I had changed into the hospital gown.

I was then taken to radiology where they would do another ultrasound to pinpoint the precise location of the tumor and insert the wire. Bill had to remain behind. The doctor arrived to insert the wire. The doctor said the area would be numbed prior to the insertion of the wire. She said it would be like a bee sting. It was. It startled me because, even though the doctor said, I am giving you the needle, I jumped. I think it had something to do with my nerves. The wire was inserted.

This procedure is done when the tumor is small. My tumor was 1.5 cm. The wire would give the exact location of the tumor to help my surgeon find it. Wire was left protruding out. The technician came and put a clean urine sample bottle over the wire. This was so that I wouldn’t bump the ends and inadvertently pull out the wire. The bottle was taped down to my breast. I was really tempted to take a picture of this to send to my children but I think they were already pretty upset. They didn’t need to be permanently traumatized by seeing their mother’s breast with a urine bottle taped to it. Madonna, move over!

I was wheeled back to my pre surgery bed. My surgeon came next and told me what to expect after the surgery. I don’t think I really heard everything. Okay, all I heard was that I was healthy and I would come out of it great.

My anesthesiologist came next. Dr. Doolittle. How cool is that? I was tempted to ask him if he talked to animals but figured with me there, that was close enough. I told him I vomit easily. He looked at my throat and my charts and said, I will take care of that. Not to worry. He then clapped his hands (really) and said, great. You are healthy and young. You will be fine. I tried to breathe evenly.

Soon enough, they came to wheel me away. I really appreciate how you are very aware of your surroundings one minute and then you are gone. And the next thing you remember is being told to wake up. The nurse got a little annoyed when I said I don’t want to.

I did not want to wake up and see half my boob gone. I did not want to wake up and feel like I wanted to throw up. I did not want to wake up and see one hill rather than two where my left breast used to be. I just did not want to wake up. But when the nurse said, rather sharply like my mother could, Sylvia, you need to wake up, very reluctantly and very slowly did I open my eyes and told her that I am awake.

I looked up at the ceiling. I did not want to look anywhere else. I looked at the nurse and then the ceiling. That was it. The nurse checked me over and I don’t really remember everything that she did, I was so busy avoiding looking at my body. But I was finally wheeled to where Bill could sit with me until I was discharged.

The nurse there checked me over and gave me time before she said I would need to use the restroom and then I could get dressed. I was feeling pretty good. Whatever Dr. Doolittle had given me left me with no nausea, merely a happy tired feeling. I told the nurse I could probably use the restroom.

I toddled off to the restroom and did what the nurse asked. When I got up to flush the toilet, I was shocked to see the toilet bowl filled with blue. I walked out of the restroom and with a frown, told the nurse that my pee was blue. She said good. That I would have blue pee for a number of days. It was from the radioactive dye they inserted into my lymph nodes to test for cancer. Apparently, the surgeon removed 4 lymph nodes.

Then I was told to get dressed and I was forced to look at my chest. I couldn’t see much as it was all padded with surgical pads and tape. I was told I had to keep everything dry and the padding couldn’t come off for two days. My surgeon would see me in one week. When I looked, it appeared as if my left breast was still there, for the most part.

None of it hurt. I was just tired and wanted to go home and go to bed. I went to sleep the rest of the day away.

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