If you are reading this
Warning: This post is not for the faint of heart. If you tend to be squeamish, you may want to stop reading now. I should also note that this is what we expect will happen. In all likelihood, I will post an update if things were radically different (and hopefully better)!
at the exact time it was published, then the journey towards my 'new life' is likely beginning. I have been at the hospital since 7:30 a.m. in order to take care of paperwork and other fun pre-op chores. While I may not be under anesthesia yet, let's hope to God the Xanax I took at midnight last night and the follow-up dose I took at 6:30 a.m. did the trick of relaxing me.
Once the paperwork was finished, I was led to a room where I could change into my surgical 'gear'. I am wearing a hospital gown that opens in the front (*shudder*) and one over that one that opens in the back in order to keep me warm until surgery begins. Thoughtful, eh? Supposedly, I will have warming packs, too, but those will not be added until the pre-surgical procedure is over.
You see, as part of this nightmare, I am going to be forced to undergo a sentinel node biopsy. I tried to opt out (lymph nodes are there for a reason), but was told "no" in no uncertain terms (so much for options). Yes, I am one of those crazy people who prefers their body to be more intact* rather than less. Apparently, the surgeon disagrees. A huge point of contention, but I am going through with this anyway and woe will be to the surgeon** if I end up with lymphedema.
After I am in my surgical get-up, I will have been sent to radiology so they can inject me not once, not twice, but three times in my breast with radioactive dye. Fun! Not only that, what is the follow-up? I will have had to rub my nipple in order to get the dye "flowing" to properly work during the surgery.
Guess what, Jen? Not only are you having your entire boob removed, but, to add insult to injury, we are going to force you to rub in the radioactive dye in the area that you will lose within hours and never feel again....ever. Yes, you can bet they will be getting feedback on how to make this procedure less emotionally painful.
Following that debacle, we will have gone back up to the pre-surgical area, where the I.V. for anesthesia will have been started. I'll have been on the gurney nervously awaiting transport praying that the anesthesia kicks in quickly once we arrive in the O.R. ...the faster I am asleep, the better as far as I am concerned. Then a few minutes before 10:30 a.m., they will have retrieved me. I'll give Peter one last kiss and hold onto his hand as long as possible, until they pushed me through a set of doors that breaks our clasp.
Then? Supposedly three hours (or so) from now, I will be wheeled into recovery and I will be on my way to healing. I am too frightened to think about what I will look or feel like. I guess only time will tell as to whether I will be remotely pleased or upset beyond words by the results. It's all for the best, though...right?
*I am sure there are many who will think I am off my rocker and I accept that...but A. it's my body...and B. damage done now will affect me for the rest of my life...and quality of life is a huge issue for me.
**It's probably quite obvious that I am not thrilled with the bed-side manner of my surgeon. While researching a separate topic, I stumbled upon this article. I was thrilled to find someone in the medical field who not only noticed the pain, but actually attempted to understand the loss incurred...for both the woman and her spouse/partner (and then shared with the world).