Usually when I’m up and out of bed at 5am it’s to catch a flight somewhere fun. But this morning’s early start is to get to hospital for my double mastectomy. Somehow there’s still a holiday buzz in the air!
My parents had come over so my mum could take me to hospital and the kids wanted to get to to see me before I went. So it was everyone up and raring to go by 6am. Just like when I went on an early flight to Vegas! I guess the only difference is you don’t need to drink an absolutely vile pre surgery enhanced recovery drink before you board a virgin atlantic flight (unless you include the remnants of milk you have to finish so its not there when you get back!)
It made the morning a very easy one, Kids gave me a quick goodbye before rushing to show Grandad some of the cool things Josh had got for his birthday. I took some quick last minute snaps of the boobs for one last time before heading out the door in my Count the Kicks hoodie (what else?!)
When we arrived at the hospital the holiday theme continued as all patients for a morning operation are waiting in reception. Those on the first page of the list were called through and we were all shown to our bed/cubicle. The first person we dropped off was a young man who was accompanied by his mum. They went in and he’d barely put his bag down and the mum said “Can I go now?” I looked at my mum and said “that’s the opposite of you!” My mum will be clinging on to the back of the trolley as I’m wheeled down to theatre, splatting herself to the glass like a fly to a windscreen!
In our cubicle there was a fairly constant flow of people coming to see me and get me ready. Every one of them asking my date of birth about ten times each, I tell you I will be expecting A LOT of birthday cards next year!
The doc came to mark me up for surgery. Felt a bit like someone using my chest as an etch-a-sketch. After the boobs were marked and the gown was back on it was time to say goodbye to mum…and boobs…and be wheeled down. Its a bizarre feeling, knowing I’m perfectly capable of walking but being wheeled down on a bed! And knowing when I come back up I will be VERY different!
We arrived in the anaesthetic room which feels like a loading bay (albeit a very posh loading bay). You come in one side and get wheeled almost straight through to the other side stopping only for the vital drugs! But you never see whats on the other side as you’re asleep when you go out! The team of anesthetists went through everything that was going to happen, who would be with me during the surgery and we just had a bit of a laugh and a chat. It was all very relaxed and I didn’t feel nervous at all. I knew I was in safe hands and having spoken through everything in detail I had no fears at all about what would happen. When all the drugs were ready (I always thought it was just grab a mask and gas someone…I was quite wrong) they told me to think of somewhere I’d been on holiday while I went to sleep. I tried to think of somewhere really exotic but all I really wanted to know is what was on the other side of these doors! They brought the mask down over my face (knew there was a mask involved somewhere!) and I felt the cold liquid going up my arm…
That was it.
As I came round it felt like waking up with a really rough hangover. I wasn’t in any pain, just groggy. Thank you Morphine drip. There were plenty of people coming to check up on me. My surgeon came in and I’d had the conversation already. Surgery was fine blah blah blah But I went along with it and half listened to what she said.
Surgery went well
She asked to check my wounds and gave me the chance to look if i wanted. Of course!
The 1st two lymph nodes were removed and cancer was found in both so theyve removed all my lymph nodes in my right arm to have them analysed.
Might get a bit of pain on the right side
I have 5 drains fitted
Hold on a minute, BACK UP!!! cancer in the lymph nodes?! That wasn’t how it was supposed to go! Come back! Take 2! Oh shit, no this isn’t Holby city. We can’t go back for a rewrite. I laid there for a bit trying to remember what cancer in the lymph nodes meant. They had told me so many times but I assumed there wouldn’t be any so didn’t really absorb too much of that information.
But I wasn’t thinking about it for long before I’d gone back to sleep.
Waking up again I had no idea what had actually happened and what was my imagination. Was this the first time I’d woken up after surgery? These people look familiar but have I just seen them somewhere else before? Who knows!
By just after 6pm I was ready to get back up to the ward. Thank god! Having now been without my phone for nearly 12 hours things were getting a bit desperate! I was sightly propped up on the bed and as we came round the corner to the ward I could see my mum and sister waiting for me. I began my royal wave as we came round the bend to greet them in true regal fashion! I felt bright and perky for all of abut 3 minutes but I could feel myself slurring and dozing mid sentence. Nothing was going to keep me awake. They did the best to humour me but I think I was a bit gone! We had a bit of a chat but when I couldn’t string more than 3 words together they left me to sleep
Lovely surgeon was back to check my wounds in the evening. She was very reassuring that my boobs weren’t the final result but I wasn’t thinking about them. I asked again. The lymph nodes. WTF is that about??
So she clarified the cancer has spread to the first two lymph nodes and in 3 weeks we get the results of the further lymph nodes. This may then result in a full body scan to see where the cancer has spread to. If the cancer has reached 4 lymph nodes that will flip the switch for needing radiotherapy as well as chemo. If the cancer is beyond 4 then…well I think we cross that bridge when we come to it!
Far too much to absorb when I’m so groggy! Back to sleep for me. Despite being asleep for 8 hours of it, it had felt like a long day. Little did I know this was just the beginning. Things would really liven up tomorrow morning…
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