Medical update

You know, I really have to find a better title for these. There’s gonna be a lot.

I had my first surgery yesterday. For the gory details, read on.

I wish I could say the worst part of the whole day was having to be at the Surgical Center (at the Medical Center of Central Georgia–too many “Centers/Centrals” no?) at 6:30 AM. But since I’m not sleeping well, I was already awake for an hour when Charlie’s alarm went off.

An atypical thing about this whole thing is that I may never feel any detrimental affects of the cancer. All the pain I’m going to have is due to the treatment. If I broke a leg, it’d hurt. While putting the cast on may hurt and be itchy and such, it’d be better than wandering around with a broken leg. Here, the only thing that the cancer caused was a lump in my breast. The lump didn’t hurt until I did an afternoon of mammograms and ultrasounds. I had no trouble walking into the hospital yesterday and was just fine going in.

Of course, I’ve seen what happens when the cancer causes the pain (more on Mom later). It’s not pretty. I think I’ll be happy with the treatment being the biggest pain of this.

So, the treatment begins. Let me say everyone was wonderful. The rule is, they introduce themselves and tell you what they’re going to do. You then tell them your name and birthdate. Sounds silly and repetitive, until Rorrie (sp?) the nurse comes in and tells me I’m having a mastectomy. Um, no? (Although, honestly, I would have no problem with casting this thing out of me ASAP.) Dr. Conforti came by and said he thought it was just biopsy. We agreed. But that meant we were disagreeing with paperwork and, well, don’t do that.

We got new paperwork.

I did feel like a fool when Ruthie had to take me to Nuclear Medicine to get the injection of tracer/dye. I’d walked into the hospital and to my room. Nothing had changed since then, but I had to be wheeled to Nuclear Medicine. But, I’m trying to be patient (and those of you who know me well know that that might be the hardest part of all this), so I let Ruthie push me without pointing out the silliness of it.

Nuclear Medicine involved laying on a cold table with no arm boards and being stuck twice with a needle and having them twist it around inside. The nurse commented on how I didn’t flinch at all. She obviously never had a kitten. One of IkeGetDownFromThere’s favorite tricks was to use me to climb things. He’d take a flying leap, grab my skirt (or leg or stomach or…) and start climbing to get where he wanted to be. He’s stopped that now, since he can jump 5 feet without trying hard.

We then sat around the room for a while watching newscasters being blown about by Hurricane Wilma. I know the hurricane was bad (it hit my father and father-in-law’s homes, on different coasts of Florida), but really, the newscasters were good for a laugh.

Shawl ministry is supposed to soothe the recipient of the shawl, but I had a very easy afghan started and spent most of the waiting time working on that. That and hospital robe that would have opened had I run, kept me from running from the room while we waited. I saw the nurse, got an IV inserted (again, much easier than giving blood, which really isn’t hard). saw the anesthesiologist and surgeon, and then was wheeled off.

Anesthesia was especially frightening since I figured it was the biggest risk and I haven’t had it in over 40 years. But Dr. MacDonald was a Mercer grad (class of 1980) and he was encouraging. And ordered Valium.

The operating room was larger than I’d imagined it would be. I was introduced to everyone, moved to the table (with arm boards), given oxygen to breathe and woke up in recovery. All I really remember happening there was the nurse calling a couple of times for someone to take me back to the room.

I went back in a chair, was moved to the recliner in the room, talked to Charlie, got dressed and left. This time I didn’t think being wheeled out was silly.


I was cut under my left arm for the biopsy. Since it found microscopic evidence of cancer in my lymph nodes, they didn’t do a biopsy of the tumor. It makes sense to the surgeon and oncologist, so it works for me. (Not that I would go back and insist on a biopsy.) I think this is, well, good (microscopic is small, right?) or bad (oh my God, the cancer’s gotten into the lymph system!). I’ll see my surgeon again Thursday. Since I was scheduled for chemo anyway, I’m not going to let it bother me ’til then.

I also was cut at the base of my neck on the right side and a couple inches below to insert a port catheter. These areas look sorta nasty. the higher cut has no gauze, so you just see a puddle of blood under the plastic sheet. The lower is covering one heck of a bruise.

I see the oncologist next Tuesday and then again on Thursday. Thursday may be the first chemo treatment (we’ll know on Tuesday I guess).

I got to sleep at 8 Monday night and stayed asleep, more or less, for 12 hours with the help of pain pills. I’ve spent the day sitting around and have had entirely too much of that. But Charlie’s forcing me out for a walk with the dog now (something about going outside being good for me), so let me go now.


1 Comment

  1. Nick said

    You always are full of good laughs, aren’t you Dr. White?

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