Posted 26 January 2012 - 03:04 PM
6 hours all together! but, as you know by now the pain from and size of the mystery lump had become really quite intolerable and that each day had become nothing much more than a countdown to this day. i had my dad bring me home which he didn’t really want to do but did and then he came back two hours later with a nice dinner that we heated up and ate together. it was nice – no ogre and i even happened to have two slices of apple pie on hand for dessert. so here’s everything someone might want to know about a lumpectomy that doesn’t involve the lymph nodes but doesn’t know what to ask, some things that simply nobody but me could possibly have to go through! and then a whooole bunch of other stuff on top of that. as it turns out it has been realllllly good for me to write all this out, my brain is MUCH much calmer than it was!
QUITE the experience. got prepped in the day surgery area, my ob/gyn popped in to say hello, and then i got wheeled downstairs to get the u/sound done and they took a ton of pics. the huge painful lump did sort of show up on film this time so it seems it had become a bit more dense in the last 2 weeks (?) but the large darkish area was definitely very strange looking compared to the quite distinct 9mm lump and the edges weren't defined very well - they kind of just faded off into my “normal” very dense tissue. quite odd two more voices say, same as everyone else so far. but this part was news - it appeared to be connectedto the 9mm lump by a thin strip/strand/something of tissue. the two lumps hadn't shown up this way 2 almost 3 weeks ago. now whether this was something that grew as the giant lump so quickly grew recently, or whether just by lack of that particular exact view being taken, i’m not sure, and i think scalia would have to admit to the same, if pressed. in addition to the tech, there was another tech trainee and she hadn’t seen anything quite like this before either so she was asking lots of questions herself and i let her touch it “ooh!” she says! like i said at some point along the way here - i am NOT going to be the only one to learn something out of all this!! she was verrry appreciative, at any rate. so what these ladies do is really important! they take the pictures, they plan the route they think should be used by the radiologist, they check for blood vessels that are to be avoided if possible, and lastly, mark the skin with the best point of entry.
next, a radiologist came in and using their mark and suggestions and using the live image on-screen, he made a hole, inserted a tube, inserted a needle through the tube, then he put numbing stuff inside the breast and then he inserted a wire through the tube to mark the 9mm lump. tube is removed, wire stays. and just about all of THAT part freakin’ HURT. FRRRRRRREEAAKIN’ hurt. and i’m going to admit that a few tears ran down both sides of my face, i didn’t make much noise and he certainly never stopped doing what he was doing, not that i wanted him to! i had brought a little tissue pack with me so i was ‘fine’ and i could see everything on the screen above me and yes i wanted to see exactly what this lump looked like today and well, to be able to see what they see. at some point i turned to watch the radiologist’s face and the faces of the two techs and the look on the trainee's face was just one of.... well, simply appalled horror. eyes wide, hand over mouth, the can’t look away stare - - i mean there are just no other words for it! if i'd been feeling a lot less of a whole range of things at the time i might have laughed!
when he was all done i find that i’m sporting a cat whisker-thin needle that goes from inside the 9mm lump which fortunately wasn’t very deep, extending a good 3 or 4 inches out from my skin – very porcupine quill-like, may I say. i’m allowed to pee and i forgot about the IV bag that was up on a hook on the wall and walked out like it wasn’t there! and i’m not even on anything but sterile saline yet either! and the nurses are all going “whoa whoooaaaa!!!!” then i’m wheeled back upstairs and i’m asked if i have a coffee cup. well i’m not allowed to drink anything and i’ve never had coffee in my life and my hands are empty except for my pack of travel tissues and my list of questions for scalia soooooo…... a what???? a coffee cup! she says. well come to find out that sometimes they tape a foam coffee cup on you to protect the porcupine quill and you get to ride around looking a bit like madonna in her torpedo bustier, but only on one side! but no coffee cup for me, they had taped it down, because of its angle i think. there was a little wait before the next step so they gave me magazines to read which they fully admitted were going to be outdated. december 2010!!!!!!! time magazine with something about secrets on the cover. ‘i bet they’re not secrets anymore!’ i said to the nurse.
then the anesthesia assistant (?) came in (i’d already met the actual “dr. of”, earlier. ) (ha! i just remembered i made him congratulate me on quitting smoking! he’d made a face when i said it had been 22 days but said nothing out loud, so after a moment i said “oh, thank you! i really appreciate that, i’ll take your support!” and he nodded slightly sheepishly and said good for you. i win. ) and she gives me a look that strikes me as odd in some way, leans her elbows on this little table and tells me that i look pretty nervous, then quips “i can’t give you anything yet”. i sort of laughed and said ‘that’s fine, i’m doing okay, i mean i’m nervous but you know, just, normal stuff…’ (my blood pressure had in fact, been pretty good thus far). and she says “nope. not really. i have lots of people who are just completely fine and totally relaxed”.
hmph, is about all i thought. so now at this point it appears that her job of emotionally needling the patient is done here – yet i’m to find that i’m so wrong about that, so very wrong – and she heads towards the door. and then, she spies the tissues in my hand. i have a fresh one and the little travel package. and i swear to you. swear. that she stopped mid stride, looked at me with a lip curled in disdain, and had the GALL to virtually snap at me, “you’re not going to cry, are you??” i don’t even remember what i said i was so taken aback, but as soon as that door shut behind her i had a LOT to say! i said that yes i just might cry a little and that i’d already cried as a matter of fact, so i clarified that for her (and yes this was all out loud and yes i’m alone in the room now) and added that what they had done downstairs had freakin’ HURT thank you very much and that it shouldn’t matter whether i cry or not that’s my damn business and that her job just was just to be NICE to me!!! dammit! then i think i clicked my tongue and made a sound of disgust.
i then realized that those doors are preeetttty thin and it’s entiiiirely possible that i was just overheard. one of the very nice nurses, Jennifer, came riiight in to sit with me the rest of the time in fact, so that could even be a solid definite! and i was still a little bit hopped up over little miss thang there, so i was telling her what happened and without really thinking about it, at the end of the story i flipped the bird at the closed door!
then scalia came in and he pretty much just said hello, walked over, leaned in, moved the tiniest corner of the top left shoulder of the gown, and initialed my breast with his sharpie! this is to prove that he knows which side to work on! so i, the one whose beautiful unmarred breast (i took pictures a couple weeks ago. well, i have a photo diary of this whole experience, actually, honestly!) is about to be slashed, have a list of 4 or 5 questions written on a piece of paper, and i get the impression that this surprises him, as it did the nurses all day. now i’ve only been doing it for a few years but i’m always reading that we should write down our questions so that we don’t forget anything. and even though this is common advice for patients, i guess nobody actually does it still. and even though said patient advice is to write down all questions, i have to tell ya, in my experience, a doctor that is new to me caaannnn be…. clearly annoyed/surprised/impatient/concerned about my mental health BUT – i have also noticed that they can also come to love the list. i could even go so far as to say that i’ve noticed they might possibly even feel a sense of satisfaction, by finishing a list, perhaps realizing that they really explained things to this patient on their own leval - not always easy for a professional to ‘lower’ his thinking and vocabulary to do so!
aaaannnnyway, my percocet digresses, one of my questions was about him saying “no restrictions afterwards”. so i’m pressing the point about the kickboxing in particular and using weights and he doesn’t quite know what that means, so i mention pushups. noooo pushups!!! he says. so i explain to him what myyyyyyyy “no restrictions” might mean and he finally says ‘can’t you just take it easy for a few days??!???!??” sooooooooo funny! he rocks. so i said (ohhh HEEELLLL) YES!! i’ll do whatever you tell me to do, just tell me what that IS! so – next week i can resume my classes, which i'm really enjoying. i just started yoga in fact and am at the ‘will not be intimidated!!’ stage. so at the office visit on 1/9, he mentioned a scar and low cut clothes and it was pretty darned low, that mark of his at the time. i said (again, after the door had shut!) that i’d never wear anything that low – and then later i remembered the christmas party dress!!! so todayyy… yup! i brought the picture of the dress with me! i said that was the most daring thing i'd EVER worn and since he was the one who mentioned it in the first place back on 1/9, well - there you go. so there. he checked it out and i felt that he thought he could work with something like that and we ended up laughing about it. i’d already showed it to Jennifer so she’d seen it too.
okay, so off he goes, presumably to ‘scrub in’? :cuesthemefromm.a.s.h.: and i walk across the hall to the o.r. and take a gooood look at everyone, except nate, who only turned around briefly and whom i considered asking to turn around again but finally figured i could let that one go, i get on the table and ooooonly then, do i let them take my glasses. and, by the way, when am i going to remember to bring a case for my glasses with me??? hmmm??? kate, aka little miss thang, puts an oxygen mask in front of my face, says it’s just oxygen, and then i’m in the recovery room. hey nowwww.
but i don’t wake up nice and gently or anything, ohhhh no. ha! you forgot who we’re talking about here, didn’t you! no, no, i can feel i’m shaking. shaking hard. i haven’t opened my eyes yet but i know shaking when i feel it and that is what imma doin’! aaaaaand, oh my GOD my tit hurts! the pain is on the outside for a change and i’m immediately grateful for that but oh my GOD my tit hurts a LOOOTTTTTTTTT!!! :shake: :owww: :shake: barely open my eyes, close them again.
this nurse – who is to become person # 2 of 2 that i didn’t care for out of this entire many-department, many-peopled adventure, put one blanket on me (hmmm, and overall? blankets were definitely not warm enough throughout this experience) which doesn’t really help and she started talking to me. she said something about scalia taking PART OF the lumps out. what?? who what what what excuse me, what???? out loud i said ‘i don’t understand ‘part of’, he said he wanted to take all of both of them out. and here I am lying in the o.r. area and she says “well. you can call the office tomorrow and ask.” (he’ll be at the hospital tomorrow too, by the way)
really? reeaally? and this whoooole time, i am SHAKING. and hard! so i asked why we couldn’t find out now and she said – again, errrrgh! GALLLLLL! - “well, i’ll tryyyy to find dr scalia and see if he can find a few minutes to speak with you.” all i said was ‘thank you, i appreciate that’ but, inside, i’m all like grrrr! ‘n stuff! hmph! so – we start to discuss this incredible, compleeeetly unexpected, stunningly exquisite, PAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNN that i’m experiencing and eventually it takes 3 shots of dilaudin (?) to make even an acceptable dent in it. pedal to the metal babe, let’s go! heehee, not really, but dayyyum, woman. not cool. :-p
eventuallllllyyyy, another nurse notices the shaking and several come over and they start wrapping me up in and piling on, the life-giving and finally truly warm! toasted blankets. At one point i have to lift my legs up for some reason and i’m in this pilates move position with my legs and arms up making a “V”, with cords and tubes trailing everywhere and i am just seizure-like shaking the whole. time. awful. they keep piling, and there’s even something nicely toasted placed right on top of my head and finally!!! that ahhhhhhhhhhhh moment when you first start to feel the heat and once it starts and you’re wrapped up like that, it moves right along, thank you beJEbus! and i haven’t yet opened my eyes this whole time - which is why i don’t know bad nurse’s name! – so. finally open my eyes. ahh, that’s better. ha, they put my glasses on me. don’t want to lose those, do ya hehheh.
so i'm lying there doing the sobering up thing, lalalalalaaa, eventually wishing that i could get the juice and cracker thing going ‘cause i really don’t want to sober up on an empty stomach, which is what’s happening. (in retrospect i'm not sure why i didn’t speak up about it first! most unlike me. ) and lo and behold, i see scalia sitting at a desk not 20 feet from me doing the paperwork/dictation that i soon find out he does after every procedure. 20 feet away. i see bad nurse talking to him.
shortly, bad nurse came over and said she was leaving and that Karen was going to be my nurse now. awwwwwwwww. Not! buh-bye! within a couple minutes of that he comes right over and doesn’t look the slightest bit rushed, annoyed or interrupted. so there! he answers my question – yes he took the whoooooole lump. lumps. Both of them. gdmfsobfa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! whew. SOOOO even though i had asked him during the List of Questions, if he’d tell me if he looked at what he removed and truuuuly thought it wasn’t cancer, would he tell me today, and he said no that due to the nature of these beasts he was going to wait for official results this time, he volunteers the information that he realllly doesn’t think that they are cancerous. i can’t remember if he said cancer is gritty and these were not or the other way around but he feels confident enough to say something when he originally said he didn’t want to. now, i knowwwww, i’m pretty sure he’s been wrong before at some point in his lifetime, but i’m going to be my (usually, at least) positive self and think positively. i feel much lighter and probably lost a pound in lump weight, which helps! aaaand, he tells me that he sketched the dress neckline from memory on my skin and thinks he avoided the area that showed! he rocks!
Karen is super nice and gets me juice and crackers and eventually gets me a percocet yayyyyy, too! yayyyy Karen! eventually my dad shows up, we go over instructions, she helps me get dressed and i get to go home. they’ve put a special bra that zips together in the front, much like the sports bra i bought the other day does, but the straps are these wide lacey velcro thingy that come up and over the shoulders from the back, like a jumper. and get this! at some point it occurs to me that i am now the proud owner of the matching! hospital underwear AND bra set! ohh yeahhhhh….. STYlin’!!!
made some phone calls, received a check-in call from my ob/gyn, had a nice dinner with my dad. and i’m not wired like I was on vicodin but i'm not sleepy either. gotta sleep though.
i have two steri strips over an incision that LOOKS to be less than an inch long, running at a 45 degree angle, not the arc i was expecting, but that’s okay. could be sooo much worse. i have two somethings that look like small holes that i can’t touch yet way over on the far left, i assume those are the radiologist’s calling card. i have to leave it just like this until friday! then i can shower but can’t remove the steri strips or get them too wet until they fall off on their own. will eventually use vitamin e oil to help with scarring.
so i decided to take today off, might go in this afternoon for a little while, but – meh, probably not. the pain leval is really not too bad right now though. the pain of the past couple weeks was much worse than this, at least so far today that is. i’m most definitely feeling the internal bruising from the radiologist today and i’d be surprised if those steri strips make it through the weekend but i’ll do my best to keep them on, in order to reduce scarring. i put a gauze pad on them to try to reduce the rubbing from this bra. and I’m going to put some ice on it now, they used this uber cool handy dandy little ice bag and i could take it home.
so whewwwwwwww! thanks again for all the love and support, you all rock!!! dr. scalia rocks!!
Edited by nancykind, 27 January 2012 - 12:37 PM.
Posted 27 January 2012 - 12:35 PM
Great to hear it turned out ok.
Ive been following your posts because we found out about 3 weeks ago that my aunt has to have both breasts and her lymph-nods removed.
She's in good spirits and looks forward to living life.
i'm so sorry to hear that. sending good vibes to you and your family.
back at work today, little sore still, we'll see how it goes.
Posted 27 January 2012 - 04:40 PM
if any anesthesiologist assistant (or other person helping prepare me for surgery) talked to me like that I'd give her an earful. who the hell does she think she is? She needs to learn better bedside manner. So what if you're going to cry..this is a major, painful procedure to find out if you have cancer. What a bitch.
Posted 27 January 2012 - 05:34 PM
thanks for 'sticking up for me' though, i'm glad someone thinks she could have done a lot better by me than she did. besides me of course!
Posted 28 January 2012 - 01:41 AM
i'm happy to hear that your doc is confident that the lumps are not cancerous, that is great. i will still send out positive vibes that the pathologist's report bears that out.
sounds like a crazy experience, nancy, i am glad that you are on the mend now.
Posted 29 January 2012 - 03:10 AM
it is absoLUTely an arc and it's a good 2 inches long. the thing i thought was the incision is only a wrinkle from the tape. i wondered how he got a giant lump out with such a tiny cut.
oh well. i think it's doing okay except for on one end it's a little red and doesn't look quite 'sealed' yet. it's been a day of ice packs and aleve, i didn't realize how much swelling there was until i realized i couldn't lower my elbow to my side.
Posted 30 January 2012 - 02:37 PM