Part 5 – Finally we are at the end of Continuing Breast Surgery – Odds on Breast Cancer
Today is D day (operation) the 10th of February 2014, I rock up ready to roll at 7.45am having fasted, gulped two cups of coffee down my throat before the allotted time of fasting. One really can’t survive without the two cups; I leapt for joy when I have consistently read that three cups is okay.
Now what to wear on this very big day:
- Something loose
- Something that I can get over my head
- Something that buttons down the front or the back
- Something for easy access
- None of which I own
- So a loose green top will have to do
Why you ask, well it’s day surgery and I know I am going to be walking from one end of this hospital to the other under my own steam, sitting here now in the waiting room I wish I had bought a cardigan. Bad forward planning on my part, hospitals are usually hot spots though at least I have always found this to be so.
My turn to enter the booth, and make my way back into that blue cotton onesie that I have trouble wrapping around myself. That lovely radiologist assistant who recognises me again, greets me warmly, we are tight now.
I lay down on the bed, unwrapped, light dimmed and in comes the radiologist to explain what they are going to do, that is to place four wires indicating where the growths are so they can be extracted. Now I don’t know why I don’t listen properly, well I do but that’s for another time. I thought I was having keyhole surgery (apparently not), I didn’t understand that till 10 days later, when all was revealed and the dressings were removed, what tha!No wonder I felt like he had gone on a rummage sale inside by chest, I was confronted with two lines of stitches.
Now I’m thinking, she mentioned WIRES, how on earth am I going to get my top back on, walk from one end of the hospital to the other without any sort of breast containment, nothing to contain said wobbly breasts. This isn’t going to be a good look especially for one so vain.
I had four injections with the assistant holding my hand, offering reassuring murmurs after I told her that I faint
readily when faced with needles, the radiologist and I joked away, she covered her initial surprise at FOUR wires saying, we don’t usually have that large a number, I suggested that she put flags on top of the wires and number them, preferably colour coded flags at that. I know a young woman named Carolyn and Jess who would like the idea of colour coding.
Once done and I’m still wondering how this is going to go, as I glanced down upon my chest and saw four very long wires swaying away, (Edward Scissor hands sprung to mind) then relieved I was as they rounded the soft wires into circles and taped them down, Oh so that’s how it works, no flags though. Pity!
I sat back in the waiting room, waiting for the X-Rays, top on, feeling naked and barren without my daily support (underwire bra), waiting for the X-Rays that show where the wires are attached, once I got my hot little hands on them I made my way down the corridors, those corridors where I frequently get lost and past that green bucket that is still sitting on drip guard duty, now thankful for the X-Rays as they covered my out of control swinging breasts, something to hide behind. Hoping against hope I don’t see anyone I know, because you know when you least expect it you bang into someone you know, usually with no makeup on or your hair not done when you have ducked down to the local shops. Caught!
By this stage it is 1pm and I am starving, tummy rumbling I make my way through double doors into a room with 8 leather rather frumpy faded blue sad armchairs, forming a semi-circle reminding me of a movie scene when American horse drawn wagons, are preparing for an attack, just missing a campfire to complete the scene. With a blanket on each chair, lost soles sitting in all but two. Wrapped in white fluffy dressing gowns, a peep of blue cotton nightgowns peering from below, white slip on cotton slippers they sat glued to the TV or reading their books. Both men and women, an assortment of ages, young and old waiting for their turn, feeling slightly uncomfortable I am at this stage.
A young nurse comes to me, escorting me to a cordoned off private area to check my details, weight recorded, placing a band on my wrist and ankle, presumably so they don’t loose me and they perform the right operation on the right person. At every stage of today I repeat over and over again my name, and date of birth. I am embarrassed at my age, I know go figure, but they make you say it so many times, I cringe. It’s like when you have to scroll down on the net when asked to enter your age, it’s just a gentle reminder that you have been here for a while.
Can you believe I was the last victim I mean patient to be called, I watched each and every one of them go, occasionally one would ask when it was their turn. The nurse gently reminding them it won’t be long now; when it was nearly my turn a nurse said ‘It won’t be long.’ I said that, ‘I was worried about being last as he must be very tired by now and a bit fed up with the whole process.’ ‘No’, she said, ‘His Mondays are always like this, he won’t be tired.’
At 4pm I was placed on a wheelie bed and got a free ride through the corridors, the surgeon and the blonde bomb shell came to see me and reassure me that everything was going to be fine, I nearly didn’t recognise them in their masks, attractive shower caps and wrap around gowns (snap). The anaesthetist did the same reassuring with that George Clooney drawl of his; it was going to be a good ending to the day.
I remember listening to their chit chat, Clooney’s grumbling, the needle going in, me flinching, he apologising, next thing I knew I was back in the ward, snug as a bug in a rug. A nurse came rushing over as I came around checking my vitals, seeing how I was feeling, helping me sit up and giving me the drill. Eat, drink, pee and your good to go.
Michael had been waiting for the last hour in the other room waiting for me to come around. It was now 8pm and a sandwich never tasted so good.
Take me home James just take me home, I looked behind my seat in the car as a strong smell was emanating form behind, he’d bought me flowers.
My fabulous boss made me take the rest of the week of, so glad I did as I felt absolute rubbish, I was planning just a couple of days away from work but wouldn’t have been able to work that week let alone drive.
Dressings were to be removed 10 days after the operation, the morning of my check up with the super cool surgeon that knows how to wink and his lovely assistant/student the blonde bombshell. No bruising as promised, however I had been sliced from nipple to the bottom of my breast on both sides. See remember I didn’t pay attention and that didn’t look like keyhole surgery to me.
Also my nipples were out of sink, expected due to the swelling I was guessing. I sat in the surgeon’s rooms, Michael insisted on coming with me and he waited outside in the waiting room. The dressings were removed, he said that all went well; the growths had been removed and were not cancerous. High five’s all round.
Morale of the story for me is, no Hormone treatment as this was how it all started, doesn’t apply to everyone but it did to me, bloody hormones.
Have a good week everyone it’s a Tuesday and a good day to be here.