Friday, May 15, 2020

What A Difference A Day Makes!

After getting through the holidays the next big thing on my schedule was my upcoming breast lumpectomy. I kept wanting to receive the call. You know the one that said, hello Venus we are calling to inform you that we made a mistake. You do not have breast cancer and your surgery is cancelled. That call however, did not come. The call that did come was from registration to go over the pre-surgery requirements and where I was to go to the wire insertion and for the breast lumpectomy. That call some how made everything more real to me.

January 22, 2020 my journey to breast cancer survivor began. I truly dragged my feet getting ready to leave the house for the procedures. I was up earlier than anyone in the house but did not want to face the reality that was waiting for me. Finally I got my stuff together for my shower and went into the bathroom. I so wanted to get my tears out before anyone got up so I would not upset them but I really did not have any. I had read up on the procedures and made peace with everything so for me it was all routine. My shower was extra long and it took forever to pick out what I wanted to wear. I found something comfortable and got dressed. I was so concerned about how the family was going to function without me in my regular role for a while. The conversation the night before with my 3 amigos went well since I explained that I would be home after the procedure. 

I was thankful that Chris was going to be home to help Regina in running the house. I was not sure just what recovery was going to look like. They are both my rocks and because of them I was able to keep it together while facing the unknown. As I got ready to walk out of the house I felt like I was "walking the green mile" to the car. Our first stop was to the surgical office for my bracket wire localization. There was no time to think about anything. I arrived at the office and was called back as soon as I finished checking at the front desk. Chris and I followed the tech to the room. I got undressed and gowned up to wait for the tech to return and take me to the procedure room. The tech came in to retrieve me and all of sudden I felt anxiety start within me. I was going back into the very room that started this breast cancer journey in November 2019. It was almost surreal being there yet again. I did not have the same doctor for the localization but I was in great hands. Just as before I was guided through every step of the procedure. Every so often a tear would fall as my mind would start to wonder in trying to intensify my anxiety. I was able to keep my anxiety from over taking me because I had educated myself on both the wire localization and the lumpectomy. The wire localization was scheduled for up to 2 hours but actually only took 30 minutes all thanks to the ladies being able to find the area to insert the wires with such ease. They got me cleaned up and I was on my way to my next stop with was the hospital for surgery. I was still able to have clear liquids up to a hour before the surgery so I took advantage of that for sure 😊

Getting ready for my bracket wire localization

Our drive to the hospital was not long at all. As we were in traffic my cousin Lisa popped in on messenger asking how I was doing not knowing that I was on my way to surgery. That moment in time was exactly what I needed. It was a reminder that I had more that my immediate family circle that care about my well being. I thanked Lisa for dropping by and sending me good vibes while on the way to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital, parked in the garage and headed into the hospital. I really was in no hurry to get to the surgical suite because I knew I was not coming out the same. Don't get me wrong I knew that this was something that needed to be done but I was not eager to have my breast cut into especially since I did not know just how much cutting was going to happen. We arrived in the surgery suite and I waited the technician to come and get me to take me in the back to prepare for the surgery. The wait was not long. I left Chris in the waiting room temporarily to go get gowned up for surgery. 

Once I got to my room, I was told to get into my gown and get into bed to wait for further instructions from the nurse. The nurse came into my room and told all of the doctors that would drop by prior to surgery. I was given medication to prepare me for surgery and a marker. What was I supposed to do with this marker? Well I had to write a "s" on my breast that was to have surgery. I knew the reason why I had to mark my breast because of past surgical errors happening throughout the country when the wrong body part operated on by the surgical team.
In my air conditioned gown
Chris joined me in the back after all the preliminary procedures were completed. I found myself becoming antsy while waiting for the anesthesiologist and my surgeon. I joked that it was too late to change my mind about the surgery. There were times were the silence was deafening between us. There was times when I wanted to cry buckets of tears not because I was scared but because of the changes that were coming after surgery. Being the matriarch of the family, I am use to making sure that everyone is good so I was coming to terms with having to be dependent on my family. The anesthesiologist arrived, talked with us and signed off my chart. Things really started to get real for me. I knew it would not be long before my surgeon arrived for his check in and then I would be rolled off to surgery not long after that. I was thinking about how 20 years ago I was the one holding the hand and reassuring my mom and grand mom. Now I was in the bed waiting on my turn. My surgeon came in and went over how long the surgery would take and told us that the next person we would see would be the assistant to the anesthesiologist. The assistant would be the person who will wheel me into the operating room. Before my surgeon left he added his initials next to my "s" on my right breast. He joked about how large the "s" was and that most people make it so small he could miss it. I told him by now he should know I am not most people and I wanted to make sure he did not miss it. 

After my surgeon left, I had finally felt peace within me. There were no more questions to be answered just steps to be taken. The assistant anesthesiologist arrived. He started the first round of medication to put me to sleep. Prior to leaving I was given my hat for my head but most importantly I said my good bye to Chris. It was important for me to tell him just how thankful I was to have him by my side through my surprising diagnosis of cancer. It was because of him and my own research that kept me from falling to pieces through the various appointments. I know that if push came to shove I could have went by myself but having him there truly let me know just how blessed I was to have my friend and husband by my side. Our marriage is by no means perfect but the love that we share is genuine. I gave Chris a kiss and it was off to surgery I went.

Ready for surgery

Time flies when you are sleeping. I woke up to the voice of the recovery nurse calling my name telling me to wake up. My eyelids felt so heavy. I was able to open my eyes but as soon I opened them I closed them back up. I told the nurse that I had to use the bathroom but she said that would happen over in post op. I kept opening and closing my eyes for a bit until I felt like I had to vomit and the nurse came over with a basin to help me. After that I woke up enough to go back into post op to get ready to go home. Once I got back to post op I had to go to the bathroom. My nurse said it was good that I wanted to go to the bathroom because I was required to get up and walk around before I left. The nurse helped me to the bathroom making sure that there were no wardrobe malfunctions that we laughed about. After I got back in bed the nurse went and got Chris and brought him back. I still felt a bit foggy and nauseated from the surgery. Soon I was in need of a basin again but it was after the third time vomiting that I began to feel the fog lift. Discharge papers arrived and it was time to get dressed and go home. As soon as I go in the car I called to check on the house to make sure Regina and the kids were good in our time away. All was well them. I said good night to the three amigos and told them I would see them in the morning. I asked Regina if she wanted anything while we were on our way home and she was good. We were not far from home and there in no time flat. All I wanted to do was get in my bed and rest. That is exactly what I did once I got upstairs.