Friday, October 8, 2010

Fred's Dead Baby!

For those of you  have seen the movie Pulp Fiction, you might recall the line Bruce Willis said to his girlfriend, Zed's dead baby!  And I'm happy to report that Fred is dead too. The surgery yesterday went beautifully.  At least that's what I hear, because quite frankly I don't remember much.  But the best news is the surgeon  removed 4 lymph nodes and they were all negative for cancer!  Which means the likelihood of needing chemo is very minimal.  There is some additional information that will be gathered from the pathology of the tumor itself to make the ultimate determination, which we hope to find out on Wednesday.  I am very hopeful that chemo will not be needed.

We got to the hospital yesterday at 10 am and my surgeon's scheduling nurse Diane, who is a total sweetheart, met us to give us some updated paperwork.  You see, originally my surgery was scheduled for Friday the 8th, but had to be pushed up a day due to a scheduling conflict in the OR.  She helped us get admitted and the walked us up to the area where they do the nuclear med injection and stayed with us through that.  The nuclear med injection is a small amount of a radioactive tracer to help the surgeon locate my lymph nodes during the surgery.  The nuclear med injection technician, a very charming man named Viet, told me in somewhat broken English the lymphatic system is tied directly to a persons happiness and good feeling.  He told me that these situations should be seen as opportunities for good health and happiness.  He made me laugh and I found his words of wisdom very comforting.  A doctor came in and did the actual injection, which was painless.  I then laid under a scanning device (the same device they use for bone scans apparently) to ensure the injection did whatever it was supposed to do.  Within 15 minutes Viet and Diane were walking us down to the surgery prep area.  We said our goodbyes and I went into to get prepared for the procedure.

The main nurse, Jennifer, tucked me into a heated bed to get started on surgery prep.  She had a student nurse with her who asked me if I minded if she put in my IV.  I have to say I was a little hesitant, but I  agreed.  Another student nurse came in to watch and I swear these 2 girls totally reminded me of characters from Grey's Anatomy.  For those of you familiar with Grey's, the other student who was watching was Christina Yang and she was telling the girl putting my IV in what do do.  They were talking about what areas of the hospital that they got to work in and they were trying to rally for as many procedures as the nurses would let them do. It was very comical.  The girl doing my IV was a little nervous and asked the head nurse and the other student lots of questions and reminded me of one of the newer Grey's characters, April.  Christina Yang was saying, "use that vein"!  Which student nurse Gina did as suggested by her fellow student and she did a great job on my IV. 

After all my prepping was done, Brad got to come in and keep me company for the next hour and half or so.  My dad also stopped by for a quick visit.  About 15 minutes prior to surgery starting, the surgeon, Dr. K, came in and asked if I had any last questions.  Then she asked me to confirm which breast she would be operating on.  I indicated my left and she whipped out a sterile (one time use) sharpie type marker and wrote the word "yes" on the upper chest area of my left side.  Phew!  Good to know we were all on the same page.  Brad asked to have the marker and after she left, he drew a little smiley face on my leg.  The OR nurse and anesthesiologist came in next to do the final prep.  Brad kissed me goodbye and wished me luck and the nurse wheeled me away for surgery.

The inner corridors of the hospital are absolutely freezing.  And the surgery room is even more cold.  Luckily they have these cool heat blowers for the beds.  I don't know how they work under such frigid conditions.  I climbed from my bed onto the surgery table and they started to get me ready.  The lights are very bright above and within just a few minutes of being on the table I was out.  The anesthesiologist put a mask over my face and told me to breathe in and out deeply and I would be sleeping within 10 seconds.  I guess I wasn't breathing deeply enough because  I was thinking it's been more than 10 seconds.  They reminded me to breath deeply and I remember taking about 4 deep breaths....

Next thing I know some lady was talking to me.  A nurse, in the recovery room.  She was talking but I really don't know what she was saying.  Needless to say, I was quite disoriented.  I was already wearing the snazzy recovery bra they give you, but I don't remember how it got on me.  I get to wear this bra 24/7 for at least a couple of weeks--good times!  More talking, a sip of apple juice and a sip of water and she asked me how I was feeling.  I told her I felt a little nauseous and she came back with something that she put into my IV.  Then she was getting out my clothes to get dressed.  Next thing I was loaded into a wheel chair and whisked out to Brad and the waiting car.  I think I could of used a little more time to get my bearings, but it all worked out just fine.  The car ride home seemed to go quick.  I ambled up the stairs at home and crawled into bed for a nap.  The kitties came to visit me, mostly because I think I smelled funny from the anesthesia.  But they were cute and took a nap next to me.

After my nap, I was feeling pretty good.  Though most of the evening I had an anesthesia hangover headache.  I only had mild soreness from the surgery and took extra strength tylenol (though I have stronger stuff on standby).  I watched a little TV and slowly started to eat and drink again.  Saltine crackers with cheese and then some chicken and wild rice soup...all courtesy of slave, I mean helper Brad.  I had a good night's sleep and woke up today feeling really good all things considered.  It's just like the doctor said, I would feel better than I would think I would.  In fact Brad and I went to breakfast this morning at the Original Pancake House.  I am moving a little slow, and my appetite isn't in full swing yet, but it was nice to get out. 

From what I can tell Dr. K did a beautiful job on the surgery.  She said I'm an excellent candidate for the partial/localized radiation (which you can read more about from my first blog post).  After surgery was over she gave Brad a detailed update while I was in recovery...most of which I mentioned above.

We go back and see Dr. K on Wednesday, October 13th.  She will check on my healing progress and hopefully have the final pathology results.  And lastly we will discuss next steps.  If all goes according to plan I am hoping to be able to start the partial/localized radiation treatment the following Monday, October 18th.

Thank you to everyone for all the good wishes, phone calls, emails and cards.  I really appreciate the wonderful friends and family in my life.  And I want to give special thanks to Brad who has been with me every step of the way, from every doctor's appointment to playing caretaker.  In fact as I write this he's in the kitchen busily making my lunch.  I love you honey! 

Thanks again everyone!  I am well on my way to a speedy recovery. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Gloria- I'm so happy that Freddie's Dead and that things went so well! Melissa and I have been thinking about you and hope you're quickly back to 100%! Take care!

    Brian and Melissa