Friday, October 31, 2008

Surgery Day


Mommy and I both arrived for surgery wearing Life is Good shirts. Mine was intentional, I wonder if hers was too.
I showered last night, set my alarm, meditated for a while and fell quickly to sleep.
Got up this morning and headed out- nothing especially interesting to report initially- got there, got registered wearing my cat ears and tail, got lots of laughs and smiles, I liked that. It was a nice addition to my day to have extra people smiling and laughing with me.
I was brought to the breast center and given some clothes to change into- I have probably never worn so many yards of fabric as I did today- big baggy scrubs for pants, a tablecloth-sized "shirt" and a matching robe so big it would make a dashiki look like a corset.
The plan was I'd have some mammograms taken, have two guide wires injected into my breast (with dye) and then go back to the pre-op waiting area for my surgery several hours later.

They called me back to ask me again if I had anything to eat, if I was allergic to anything, blah blah. Maureen, my mammogram technician was so kind and sweet, I appreciated her smile and calming presence. We chatted for a minute- she shared with me that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 30s and now she was 55 and that everything will be ok. It was a kind story that almost made me cry- she is a sister in this, as so many are.

She explained the procedure: I would be put into compression in the mammogram machine, and that from the moment I was put into compression I was everyone's first priority. She'd take a picture, and send for the doctor who would come in to first inject me with Lidocane, after the Lidocane, I would receive two more needles, each one would pass a wire into my breast. The purpose of the needles is to guide the surgeon to the exact excision point since it's not like you can see the microscopic cells like you could perhaps see a tumor.

The doctor came in, she and Maureen discussed the wire placement for a minute, I received my first needle. Keep in mind I was standing up and had no anti-anxiety meds or sedatives. I was ok for the Lidocane but then I started to get dizzy. Very dizzy. As the wire was going in (ouch, by the way) I said that I was getting very dizzy. The nurse leaned firmly into my back and next thing I knew I was waking up laying down with nurses and doctors yelling as I was doused with cool water and immediate reassurances from the 4 ladies all around me, including my favorite nurse from my last two biopsies, Marg.

Fainting was actually a surprisingly peaceful experience. I already had my eyes closed, so it felt like I was just falling asleep really really quickly. I had time to think, "Oh this isn't so bad, I'll just zone out and wake up and it'll be done." No such luck, they managed to only get one wire in. So I sat for a while, waited until I was no longer dizzy, and then got ready for the 2nd wire. This time, the doctor stayed in the room so I wouldn't have to wait in compression for her to come. The 2nd wire, though somewhat painful, went rather quickly and I was able to rest again. I also was injected with blue dye to further show the surgeon where to cut- the dye hurt the most of anything. I started to think with the wires to guide the surgeon, the blue dye to guide him that I was a sort of paint-by-numbers project.
Before the tech started this whole process, she took out her marking pen and made an arrow on me to make sure everyone knew it was my right breast. I borrowed her pen and wrote this note- it's hard to read here but it says, "T.Y. for your care".

Though the process stunk, I really do feel grateful to everyone for their kindness.


I was sent back to the pre-op waiting area by wheelchair thank god, and well, waited. I had a movie loaded on my JenniPod (tm), so I zoned out while Mommy took a snooze next to me.

Met the anaesthesiologist who explained that he'd be putting me in a "twilight" sleep. I countered with the request for a "deep deep" sleep. He laughed. And he had extraordinarily hairy ears. Really, he looked part hobbit.

The surgeon came in, I signed some releases including one that said I was having a partial mastectomy. When you put it that way, it's scary, but better than the two options below it, believe me.

So the next part surprised me the most. I was wheeled to the operating room. Now any other time I've had surgery or procedures, you're put to sleep in your bed and never actually see the operating room. Today I was wheeled to the door, chatted with Rose for a minute, and then brought right into the room. Awake. So I could see the scalples and needles and wires and operating table which looks like the death chamber table- it had the arm rests like this:

I started to cry. I caught sight of too many things and that big light above the table...ahhh, it was too much.

I layed down, my tears falling to my ears now, and took some deep breaths to calm down. The IV was started as I was strapped to the table my legs, something really I wish they had done after I was already asleep.

I fell quickly to sleep and woke up fine. I was curious to know if I had any heart trouble while out, thankfully he said no. My vitals were all great, I was wheeled back to the post-op bay and my momma came. Apparently she asked him about what he found and he said he did not find any additional cancer in that area, so that's good, but not cause for over exuberance- the pathology results will be done in about a week.

I felt fine after surgery, I took a percoset and had some salad. And really that's that. I came home, fell asleep for another 4.5 hours, got up to eat with Gray and Matt and here I am, about to go back to sleep.

Thank you for the phone calls today, the prayers, the good deeds you did. Thank you for your support and love and caring. I am humbled by all your goodness!

And now your moment of zen:

4 comments:

Gerry said...

The real question is when will you be ready to ride with me?

Jenni said...

I'm ready right now.

Oh yeah, but I can't. Maybe we should plan our weekend ride for next Saturday or Sunday, I think that would be good. I just got some new cold-weather pants I'm anxious to try out.
What day should we plan?

gerri said...

you name it kid, I will be there.

jor said...

i gave you that video and you didnt give me any credit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!