First, thank you. To everyone who has been so damn supportive and kind (and patient!) please know I appreciate it all.
Second, I’m ok. My awesome surgeon (who was VERY excited and happy in the pre-op room…something that I considered weird until I realized I WANT a surgeon who’s passionate about his job) got it all. Both Francis and his sidekick have clear margins, which means the cancer hasn’t spread outside the bits he cut out. My lymph node was also clear, which is a huge deal. Early detection, people. I’m a lucky girl.
Things are healing, I’m down to very occasional ice packs and ibuprofen, and I still can’t do a hell of a lot (which makes me look at my kickboxing/MMA uniform bag AND, oddly enough, the remaining leaves in the back yard, with great sadness). I still don’t know for certain about chemo. I don’t see anyone for radiation until next Tuesday, so I don’t exactly know when that’ll start, but I suspect not until all my stitches are dissolved.
Tomorrow is my 2 week surgical follow up, although technically yesterday was the actual 2 week mark. Tomorrow is also my Oncology consult, because one of the door prizes for cancer is getting your very own specialty doc for pretty much forever.
I’m going through the intake paperwork for the Oncologist and am struck by the frank end-of-life preference questions. Is it important to me to be able to feed myself. Is it important to me that my doctor tell me when I’ll die. Is it important for me to not be a burden on my family/loved ones. Yeah. Morbid, I know, but here’s the deal: Cancer is a disease that just progressively strips a person’s dignity away, little bites at a time. I have a few (since the MRI boob-box debacle):
- For a few hours on surgery day I was a radioactive superhero. Or at least Frankenboob was. Maybe not a superhero…could be the Hulk.Anyway. I’m not as well read on gamma rays vs radioactive isotopes or whatever the hell was in those two little alien tracking devices the inserted into my breast that morning. All I know is after each one the nurse had to run a Geiger counter or something over me,which screamed (not me, the instrument) in the appropriate places. So I’m lying on a hospital bed in a darkened room with one boob just hanging out in the air for the doctor, nurse, and ultrasound tech (after he’s stuck a needle in there twice…yep, I watched on the ultrasound machine) and the nurse had to wave a screaming wand over it. I mean, what better way to start my day?
- After pre-op excitement (including yet another nurse who can’t find my veins, resulting in multiple sticks and a delay in letting my peeps into the pre-op room to hang until I went to the OR), a 10 year old anesthesiologist stopped by. Doogie Howser is alive and administering Propofol and Fentanyl, you guys, and clearly I’m old. But hey, I got to walk in my breezy backless surgery gown and hot purple socks to the OR!
- Sorry kids, I didn’t do or say anything weird in recovery that I know of. And the nurse isn’t telling. She did say I have pretty eyes. I think. I was busy being proud I didn’t have any pee-my-pants accidents in surgery (yes I’m certain: I had underwear on through surgery and they were still there when I got out).
- It took me three days (probably until the Propofol was mostly worn off) to realize SOMEONE had to hold me up in and wrap the mile long ace bandage around my boobs. I’m sure that was SUPER fun. I wonder if they dropped me…my feet hung off the table in the operating room, and that table isn’t very wide.
- I can’t wear deodorant until the stitches in my armpit have fully dissolved and the steri strips fall off and the doctor says it’s ok.
- Related: I have discovered that I am not a hippie. I would like my razor and deodorant back immediately, please. (Good Goddess, please for the sake of all our noses…give me back my deodorant.)
- Hydrocodone prescriptions (that’s Vicodin, if you aren’t up on your opioid addiction literature) come with a stool softener. I’m suddenly 8,000 years old.
- Hydrocodone prescriptions apparently also come with a warning letter from the pharmacy. It arrived, detailing the “dangers of opioids” TWO WEEKS after I was done with the prescription. Helpful.
- Side effects of future treatments will be…well, they should be less awful than chemo, but less fun than getting a cavity drilled.
We’ll see after tomorrow…because maybe the biggest indignity is not knowing. Everything happens in increments, so there’s an overall grieving process of what life was going to be like BC (before cancer) vs what it will be like AC (after cancer), PLUS a series of small stabs of worry every time a new test is run “just to confirm”. My recent history with “just to confirm nothing’s wrong” tests hasn’t been great.