Thursday, April 7, 2011

at the hospital

So...yesterday was the day; the day all my anticipations, hopes and anxieties culminated in a surgical procedure. Nay, THE surgical procedure.

I arrived at the hospital at 6:00 a.m. and--in an effort to exploit the technological advances of our age--checked in at a kiosk and was given a little beeper. You know the kind like you get at Chili's. I would, however, much rather have been at Chili's.

I waited over an hour during which time I was checked in and required to sign a stack of papers drenched in terrifying legal jargon much of which, I'm nearly positive, likely promised my next child and perhaps even a substantial amount of the fortune I fully intend on making.

I was given a series of brightly-colored hospital bracelets which provided some much-appreciated flair to my body garbed in drab hospital fashion.

One bracelet on either arm read, 'DO NOT USE THIS LIMB.' Bold. All caps.

Yeah, so I'm thinking my arms were to remain off limits for the duration of my surgery and subsequent stay meaning blood pressure was to be taken on my calf rather than upper arm. The purpose for this is that the arms can become quite swollen as a result of lymphadema a condition resulting from the removal of lymph nodes and so it made utilizing the arms unnecessarily out of the question.

What makes a mastectomy more fun? Being on your period. Yeah that's right; the second day of my period to be exact. Guess what they don't like you to wear to surgery: tampons. Argggggg!

The anesthesiologist escorted me to the O.R. clasping one end of the I.V. tube as though it was the authoritative end of a leash. He was a lot older than me, but Holl was having a pretty hard time keeping up. Who'd have thought that silver fox was so sprightly in his walking? Not me. Lesson learned. ;)

The surgery was an overwhelming success. I awoke after several hours and discovered some great news: the preliminary pathology of the lymph nodes came back negative for cancer. There is a small chance that the final pathology will find a, 'speck,' of cancer. (Speck being the word my doctor used), but I'll know more about that when I see my surgeon again which should be tomorrow. The second great thing is that the tissue expanders are actually the same size as my breasts previously, so that feels good. It's nice not to wake up from surgery to a board-flat, pre-pubescent boy chest. That's a dark vision I had buried in the back of my mind. Phew.

I'm home now and terribly anxious for the healing to progress. It's possible I've mentioned my adorable lack of patience. It's really a challenge during times like these. :)

But, the ball's moving; the wheels are in motion and I am stoked about that (not a word I typically use. Must be the cancer;)) Here's to moving forward!


  1. You are simply AMAZING! WOW, Thanks SO much for telling us your story- I have always been SO worried about breast cancer since my grandma and Aunt have both had it, I was curious if you did the brca1 and brca2! What in curiosity does this mean for your daughter? Divine intervention, you listened to your body and you should be commended you are AWESOME, now here's to moving forward, hugs to you and my prayers are with ya, I am sure your mom is a wreck and so worried about ya.

  2. Shalise, I will be doing the BRCA1/2 genetic testing after I've cleared a couple of these hurdles; probably some time in the next few weeks. I'm dedicating an upcoming blog post to the genetic link.

    Also, breast cancer was a fear of mine as well. I lost my grandma to it and my aunt currently has it, so I TOTALLY get that! :)