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Lumpectomy

Warning, right off the bat - I'm not cushioning stuff in here - I don't think it gets too disgusting but just be warned.

First, do you know how I know God loves me? And yes, even with cancer, I still believe that. It's because on Sunday night, in the midst of my panic, Pretty Woman was on TV - I mean c'mon, what better form of mindless entertainment to take your mind off your troubles? And you know what, he/she did it again Monday morning. Do you know what was on then? Miracle on 34th street (the original) - in October? Yes, God loves me.

So Monday morning was pretty much spent playing Spider Solitaire, watching Santa Clause prove he's the real thing, killing time in any way I could until it was time to leave for the hospital. About 9:15 I decided a shower might be a good idea, since god only knew when I’d get to shower again. Plus, I needed to shave. Chris of course was upset, “You shave for the folks in the operating room and not for me?” Well, yeah dear, I barely know the people in the OR but you’ve I known for most of my life – you can put up with a little stubble. ;D

Anyway, we hit the road about 10:15, 20 minutes earlier than we probably needed to get to the hospital for my 11:00am appointment. It’s probably a good thing we got there early though, because first Chris missed a turn (on a route he’s driven hundreds of times during his life – he used to volunteer at the hospital – guess he was distracted) then once we gave our name to the parking attendant (so we could get free parking – they have all the patients on a list), parked, it took us two wrong guesses before we finally figured out where we needed to go for outpatient (aka ambulatory) surgery.

Anyway, we enter a large waiting room with maybe two dozen people waiting – hard to tell the patients from the waiting families but after a while (and the green name bracelets they give me) you know who is who. It never occurred to me that men would be here too – as I thought this outpatient center was part of the Women and Children Pavilion but nope, it’s for everyone, kids too. Anyway, we sit in the waiting room, with only one TV playing CNN (okay – is it only me, but can’t we have mindless TV while waiting for doctors or surgery – must we be subjected to the news?).

As the hour goes by, they call various waiting families into the back and at least one other patient, a young woman, younger than me, who has been crying off-and-on on her husband’s shoulder – yeah I know that feeling. Finally, it’s my turn just after noon.

Oh, and did mention … and if you’re a screamish male, skip down … I got my period that morning?? Could it be any more uncomfortable? Luckily, though, they called me just after I “re-packed” if you know what I mean, so I should be good for a few hours. Man, if only I had an eye-rolling icon here.

Anyway, they call me in and luckily Chris and my Mom get to go too. In the back, there are smaller waiting rooms, where I’m given socks (with skid feet), a gown, a comfortable chair and an IV that pinches. But the best part? They give me warm blankets (apparently they nuke them or something – it’s like a massage), one for my legs and one my back. We sit and make small talk for an hour as my surgeon is running about 30 minutes late before the anesthesiologist (hey I spelled that right the first time!) arrives to go over the procedure with me. Bummer, it will be a general but he assures me that I shouldn’t have a bad reaction (after Sammi’s emergency c-section, I was coughing for weeks, and after the gall bladder it was a good 16 hours before I felt coherent again).

Soon, Dr. M arrives, she gives us a brief rundown, and it’s time to head into surgery. Chris and Mom leave, but both of them seem kind of broken up (even the doctor notes that). I, however, feel pretty darn calm. Now here’s the funky part, I am not kidding but I walk right into the operating room, no gurney, no wheelchair, just walk in and hop up on the table. Oh, and I get a hat – not a cool surgeon hat, more like shower cap but hey. Once on the table, the nurses and anesthesiologist get busy. First hooking up all sorts of electrodes (by the way, Chris was still pulling these off my body two days later) for my heart rate, a blood pressure gauge, which once activated causes my IV to pop out, and some other gizmos. Because of the IV pop, they decide to use the right arm instead as my left got pretty bruised during the pre-op blood tests I went for on Friday (maybe I’ll post a picture).

It’s not long, seconds before I’m feeling wonky. I even comment, “Hey you gave me some juice.” To which the anesthesiologist replies, “You feel it?” and I’m like, “Oh yeah, I’ll be out in about 30 seconds. I gotta get me some of this stuff to go.” And that’s it. That’s the last thing I remember.

Until I wake up about 2:45 in recovery one. But I don’t want to wake up. I had been dreaming I was in Montalcino and I just didn’t want to leave but I guess they cut off the juice because try as I might to fall back to sleep, there I was eventually wide awake and feeling pretty good. They asked me about my pain, and pain wasn’t and isn’t the right word for it, it was more burning then (pulling now), but on a scale of 1 to 10, I gave it about a three or four. I told them definitely not as bad as childbirth or a gall bladder attack. They gave me a bit of pain med through the IV and I was good.

Next cool thing, they brought in this funky lounge-type chair (think lazy boy on wheels), that they had me get into. Now as I climbed off the bed, I expected to pass out (given past experiences) but I felt pretty good – just slightly loopy and made it to the chair without incident and then they proceeded to wheel me to Recovery Area 2, private rooms, where they plied me with coffee (yum), apple juice (yummier) and Lorna Doone cookies (yummiest – remember I hadn’t eaten since 9:30pm the previous night), another warm blanket and brought in Chris and my Mom in, who seemed much better. I told them, they keep giving me cookies and warm blankets and I may never leave.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Dr. M, visited me in Recovery One and told me the margins were clean, and the lymph nodes were soft which is good and hopefully we’d get the final pathology on Thursday.

Eventually, another nurse came in and showed us how to clean the drain. The drain? Who knew, but apparently I had this plastic bottle wedged in between my boob and arm, that was draining blood and fluid from an open wound – gross! She started to show me but I told the other two to pay attention because there was no way I was doing that! I have to say though it grossed him out, Chris did an admirable job emptying my bottle on Monday night and again Tuesday morning. (Luckily I went to the doc in the snow storm Tuesday and she removed it, which is so much more comfortable).

So that’s it - got dressed and hit the road by about 4:30. We stopped at the pharmacy on the way home to pick up my Oxycodone, which I’ve only needed to take at night and will probably skip tonight and I was home by 5:15, with enough time to see Sammi before she left for swim practice, sore but completely in tact.

Oh, and one other funky thing to note about the lumpectomy, when they test your sentinel (sp) lymph node, they inject this blue dye into you, which lights up the node, well, like a blue Christmas tree I guess. Anyway, the side effect … I’m pissing blue which is quite interesting. Haven’t seen anything like that since Kappa Alpha made black grain alcohol punch for Halloween many moons ago.

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Other Thinks (16)

Kim-You had me laughing at too many things on this post(repacked?)! I'm glad you're able to look at the humorous side of some things, and I hope you're still feeling good.

Lisa:

You forgot to mention the paw prints :)

Hey, that's actually very cool to hear what it was like for you to experience this, Kim!
I was making all kinds of worse-case scenario assumptions about what had happened to you and how it went. THIS helps, thank you very much!

Cookies and juice, yum!
AND, I love those warm blankets. I get them every time I'm in emergency, because my low blood pressure makes me a candidate for freezing to death while waiting for whoever's coming to do whatever to me. It likely has a lot to do with being scared to death while in and emergency ward, also!
Happy to hear you are feeling wonderfully..now get packing for Italy!
Ciao, bella,
Brenda
xxoo

CNN for kids?

First time I have heard the term "repacked" :)

Hey, I watched Pretty Woman also when it was on this past weekend and I love Miracle on 34th street. I missed that one, but I am sure it will be on at least 30 more times before Christmas.

Wow, didn't realize they leave a plastic bottle inside you.

Glad you were not in too much pain!

Great recap of your experience!

When are we going to get smilies for the ST blogs!?
I want the one that rolls as it laughs.
:D :D :D
Black grain alcohol punch...
I'll be watching for the Thursday update. And I DO have some everclear ready to celebrate with.

Steph:

Thanks for making me laugh! You know if there's anyone who loves to hear the details (including the drain, the period and the blue pee) it's me! We're all keeping our fingers (and toes, and eyes and whatever body parts get crossed) for the final report!

Steph

sandrac:

Extraordinary -- is your pee still blue? (I would say "cool" but I can't decide if that's appropriate.)

I laughed aloud at your repacking -- talk about bad timing!

The drain part sounds deeply uncomfortable -- when my appendix ruptured, they didn't completely close the (very crooked) incision for 3 weeks, so it could drain. I wasn't pleased with that.

It's so good to hear that your margins are clean and your lymph nodes soft....but we're all anxiously awaiting more news tomorrow!

Take good care (especially with that blue pee!)

Barb Cabot:

Kim I'm just catching up on "alot" right now. I was clueless as to what has been happening and have just spent the last minutes in a frenzy of rapid reading to catch up on your life. The one thing I know is that you have an army of friends here on slowtrav and in your life. We are all doing whatever we can to send you light and love and many positive thoughts. In my case I'm a true believer in visualization and prayer. You are being heavily visualized in brilliant light and magnificent wellness. I hope you feel all the love I am sending. Be well and safe as you take your trip to Italy. Know that you have a team of friends supporting you through your bigger journey!

Sheena:

I am pretty sure that under the humour is a lot of fear. I hope that so many people pulling for you helps.

I would like to thank you for sharing your innermost thoughts - reading this will certainly help anyone else going through the same nightmare.

More fingers and toes crossed here for you for best results tomorrow.

Kim [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Yep, pee is still blue, well blue-green if you know what I mean ;).

Deborah, hmm...sounds like a good project for while I'm hanging around here - could be fun.

Sheena, some fear (at least this morning) but really, a lot of resolve. I mean, unless I get the worst possible news today, it is what it is - today's info will just be a matter of determining what type of disgusting treatment I'll need to endure.

Oh, and Lisa's right about the paw prints. So we're sitting in that private waiting room, before the sugery, and I look up and there are paw prints on the ceiling? Huh? Like we're making this outpatient suregery center, let's put paw prints on the ceiling? Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking...

I'm glad you all find it funny - if we can't laugh, what's the point? My goal now, to laugh every single day.

A great morning read with coffee.

You are a great writer, and we thank you for the blow by blow descriptions. Hmmmm, never thought of Lorna Doons and warmed blankets for my guest room!
We're standing by for today's good news.
I LOVED that you were dreaming of Montalcino!

Terry (teaberry):

Kim, I'm glad that your surgical experience was fairly seamless, aside from losing your IV. It was quite interesting to me to read about it - we give our same-day patients an almost identical experience, warm blankets and lounge chairs included.

Did you like walking into the OR as opposed to being wheeled in? I ask because we also offer patients that option (not after their procedures, of course), and I think that it does give some people a greater sense of control and normalcy to walk into the OR.

I always tell my patients that those first few minutes on the OR bed when everyone is hooking you up to something is akin to a three-minute carwash. Lots of activities, but when it's done, the "good" stuff is usually already going into your veins and you're feeling wonky.

Those EKG electrodes need to be pulled off ASAP - they seem to really absorb into your skin the longer you keep them there. Should really be done by the nurses at the hospital.

I never realized that you would still pee blue-ish this many days out. Amazing stuff. (btw, you did spell sentinel correctly)

Kim, I'm pulling for you, and hoping for good news today.

Humour is one of the most powerful healers in this Universe!
Good plan, Kim!
Hugs,
Brenda
xox

Kim [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Terry, I liked walking into the OR. It felt strange at first but really, less humbling, embarassing, degrading - take your pick.

Marcia:

Kim,
Who knew that chidlbirth would someday be used as a predicator for pain? On a scale of 1-10, that was an 11 for the humor factor. I know what the humor masks, but I also know that you have a wicked way with words (repacked?!?) and that is an amazing outlet, keep the words (and martinis) coming. Love your writing, love you and I am still fully packed and ready for the journey - just wanted to let you know that.

Brad'll Do It:

Okay, as a guy, I only had parts of my genitals retracting a little while I read this.

Kim, thanks so much for sharing this so openly. Your sharing gives us guys a bit of an insight into what it's like for a woman to face this challenge.

You're a special person, and not just 'cause your pee is blue.

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