Operations and Holidays!

As some of you might remember I had my first mammograms on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, after finding a lump in my breast on February 12th. As a note of coincidence – I had my first date with my husband on February 14th approximately 100 years ago! Well, maybe not 100 years ago – maybe just eighty or something like that. I actually took him out because at that time I was working for our local NBC affiliate so I could put him on my expense account! We talked “shop” for about 2 minutes and twelve seconds just to make it “legal.” After we finished enjoying a chinese meal he bought me a chocolate heart shaped sucker wrapped in shiney foil with the words “Be Mine” imprinted there-on. I have been ever since. Oh, but I digress.
So – since Valentine’s Day of this year I have had 3,651 mammograms, 893 sonograms, and approximately four hundred biopsies. OK – I lie. But it seems more interesting that way. Actually I have had three biopsies on the left breast – each one making it more sore and uncomfortable. One biopsy on the right which resulted in a lumpectomy on March 3rd. Then Monday of this week, St. Patrick’s Day, I went back for more surgery – you know the saying “It was just so much fun that we did it again.” – that doesn’t apply here, either, but again, it makes it more interesting.
And to add interesting facts – they also biopsied the left breast again because I am so unique and different. The docs at Hendrick’s Medical Center in Abilene and Baylor College of Medicine just haven’t decided what exactly is going on in the left breast. I really think my cells and lymph nodes are just having a big party all the time thus throwing off the scientific minds that are examining my stuff. Hopefully we’ll know more on that tomorrow.
Once in the hospital this past Monday I got to visit with all the staff members that I had gotten acquainted with just two weeks prior when I went in for all that other fun stuff.
I’m going to tell you about this experience from the get-go so let me warn you that the details can be graphic. If you are pregnant, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or if you ever been diagnosed with mental illness please read at your own risk. Also – if you have young readers please know that viewer discretion is advised and you may want to block this journal entry completely. OK – now keep reading!
At 8:00 a.m. I got to make the hike over to Nuclear Medicine or Nu-Cu-Ler Medicine as we Texans call it. There some cold handed nurse rubbed a salve on my outward most boob area that left the entire top layer of skin deadened. (After the process I realized that they actually needed to deaden the top forty-five layers of skin to make the process completely painless. But alas, only the top layer was affected.) They next told me that they were going to give me four – count ‘em – four injections within the (Hm, Hm) nipple area. At that point I almost decided that heck, I could live with cancer! The doctor seemed to think that I would take some solace in the knowledge that the needles with which they stuck into my (Hm, Hm) nipple area were very fine. Very fine? At that point they looked more like a pencil lead to me. These needles injected some sort of Nu-Cu-Ler dye that migrated to my lymph nodes so the doc’s would know which ones to “harvest” – a cute word for “cut out.” Anyway, I did survive that process but not with a smile on my face.
Then my daughter and I played the waiting game until I was called for pre-op. Pre-op, anesthesia, and the actual surgery were uneventful. I just love that amnesiac they put in those IV’s when you get to the OR. It’s like a miracle drug – you don’t remember a thing.
The surgery took longer than they thought it would. They removed several lymph nodes under my right arm and one of them had cancer cells present. Darn that little lymph node. Without him I probably could get by with just radiation but because he had to show off I’ll have to have chemo, too.
My doctor decided wisely to keep me over-night to help me “manage the pain.” I think he must have understood how bad the pain was when I jumped to a full standing position on my bed, reached over to him, grabbed his upper-lip, and pulled it as hard as I could until it covered his entire face. At that time I yelled “Pain killers, please!”
Once again, I have to be different. The only bed they could find for me was in the maternity ward! I’m not kidding – here were all these cute twenty and thirty something women with their adorable newborns and here I was with two swollen boobs, a head of the wildest gray hair you ever saw, and a doctor with no bottom lip. Oh, my family thought it was just the perfect time for a laugh – “Congrats – it’s twins!” they all said as I was wheeled in. At first I thought they were talking about my bossoms – after all, I was still rather sedated. Even James and Jill – my preacher and his wife – said they wanted to run in yelling “Congratulations – we’re so excited!” but they thought better of it when they saw the expression on my face which obviously said, “Don’t say a word!”
My sister insisted on staying in the hospital that night with me. I really felt bad about it at first because I didn’t want to be a bother. I urged her to go on home saying, “You need to get a good night’s rest – you have cancer” to which she promptly replied, “So do you – I’m staying!” We had a virtual party off and on all night.
I guess the highlight of the night was the first time I went to the restroom to (how do I say this politely?) empty my bladder. The dye that had been shot into my (hm, hm) nipple area earlier in the day had caused my pee-pee to be brightly grass green colored! I glanced down at the toilet – looked up at the nurse and exclaimed “Hey, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!”

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