It's a very early morning today, I first open my eyes at 5:30 am, to the sound of Alfie our youngest cat chirping about needing to go outside. Well taught by our beloved Cloud, Alfie too knows how to roust one from our warm beds, as he finds tissue paper from an opened gift and krinkles it until I finally get up and foollwo him downstairs.
It's THAT day. Toady is my surgery day. I am booked for surgery at 9:30 for a Sentinel Lymph node biopsy and an excision.
We arrive at 7 am., I bid my beloved John farewelll and am whisked away to the "gowning" room, for not one gown but two, one open in back and the other in front, like a housecoat; very nice. Oh look, someone else has the very same fashion sense, same outfit. I'm not shopping there anymroe!
I sit for an hour and then am taken by wheel chair to Nuclear medicine, where the process for Sentinel Lymph node biopsy imaging begins. Here I meet Kate, who's specialty is in nuclear medicine and she will do the imaging. The machine is similar to a CAT Scan and takes images from all sides, but before that happens they have to inject a dye referred to as the radio tracer into the area of the original site of the melanoma. I had read somewhere in all of my presurgery readings that this might hurt. UNDERSTATEMENT, and of course it isn't one needle, it is four. There were two gentlemen who came into the room, one; with the needles, was australian, and rather cute. He introduces himself and then proceeds and I turn the other direction so I don't see the needle. That is when he responds, "Oh the needle is small but there are four."! He apologizes with each injection and I hug the pillow beneath me a little tighter each time and tell him he doesn't have to apologize, it's o.k, because he's just doing his job. He laughs. I think the injections are by far one of the worst moments in all of this. I had a wonderful 3rd year student with me all the way through, her name is Ashley and she is in the 4 year RN program at Trent.
Following the injections and just over an hour of repositioning for various angles of images and being marked with felt pen for accuracy in locating the lymph nodes, Ashley wheels me back to the Day Surgery area, where we wait for another hour and a half. They are behind today. Of course by this point in the day we have had plenty of time to talk and know a little about each other. She is now my rock and doing a wonderful job. Her compassion and caring manner shines through and is greatly appreciated.
We finally head to the operating suite at 11:00 a.m, which feels like it should be some time much later in the afernoon. In the surgical unit we have quite a gathering including my surgeon friend Dr. S; waving from the other end of the table, Dr. H; who had just asked the final round of questions before our walk down the hall, Kevin the Paramedic, Student Nurse Ashley and a number of other surgical nurses. They ask if I mind that Kevin the Paramedic observes, he is learning about anesthetics, at this point I'm just happy to finally be in the OR, so no, I don't mind at all, "Hi Kevin!"! Dr. H mentioned she would give me something to make me forget the dye needles and in just a matter of moments I am to assume that is exactly what she delivered.
It seems like seconds later I awake in recovery. You have some time to sleep in recovery, but of course you know they are bound by duty to wake you, hydrate, dress and roll you out of there in a set amount of time to, as the leaflet says, "make room for the next patient", and they do just that. As I am waking they ask where I work and if I booked time off, and I reply that I took Monday and two of the nurses respond that I may want a little more time than that. Dr. S is nearby and they pose the thought to him and he nods from side to side, and the nurse tells me to be sure to ask to speak with him directly when I call to book my appt. to get the stitches out. I'll see. It's about 3:40 and we are on our way home.
We head home and make a stop at the pharmacy for the prescription they have given me, more treats promised by Dr. H. John returns to the car with a wheel chair and says they won't release the prescription to him and wheels me in. The girl seems embarrassed and says he didn't need to do that, we could have just called. Funny thing, I don't carry the pharmacy number with me at all times.
Finally home; it's 4 P.M. . All I want is my bed, some meds and lots of sleep. I have come to terms with the fact that sleeping on my back is necessary for the next few days at least. There is a 2-2 1/2 in. incision on the outside of each breast; just where it then curves to under the arm, and an approx. 6-8 in. incision from the excision done on my back.
Tomorrow is another day of healing. It's been such a long day but I was in good hands, in the people around me and especially John, my rock and those caring for me at the hospital. I couldn't have asked for better.
*there are some errors at the beginning of this piece, written early today whilst still a tad foggy and a little shaky, so I am going to leave them that way-somewhat relevant to the writings.