Elizabeth's Booby Blog

Sentinal Node Day

Last night was the second hiccup/big fat greasy belch with a little bit of sick since the diagnosis.

I’m usually pretty good at rational thinking. Don’t ask any of my exes to verify that though! But last night was a long leap from rational. Knowing its my last day with my boobs, last time I’ll wear these bras, last time I’ll look in the mirror after a shower and not see scars, it all suddenly got the better of me.

Not to mention the fear of major surgery setting in. It was like a tsunami of emotions crashing down on me all at once. I ended up curled up in bed unable to sleep, watching the 1982 world snooker final until 4am.

So this morning I woke up with eyes puffed up like a choux pastry but feeling slightly more ready.

As has come to be expected it was a day of cancer appointments. The first of today’s was to have my breast injected with a radioactive dye. Can’t tell you how tempted I was to wear my superhero cape for this!

I arrived at the Cancer Centre and for the first time was able to make use of the oncology parking pass…woo! Its my first appointment at the Cancer centre rather than the main hospital and it was all a bit more surreal. I’ve visited the hospital many times for many things (mainly maternity related) but it feels familiar. The Cancer Centre is a really different feel. There isnt the fun element of seeing people and working out what they’re in for. They’re all there for the same thing. Cancer. And there isnt the optimism that some of them may just be finding out they dont have cancer like there is at the breast clinic. They definitely all have it.

After being called in I was told to strip down to the waist and put on my hospital gown. I was so impressed with myself for not wearing a maxi dress this time that I got dressed with a real smugness. I get in the room and the nurse talks through what shes going to do and then asks me to open the gown. Smug face opens the gown and I realise I havent taken my bra off!! seriously?!?! When am I going to get the hang of this breast appointment lark?!

She warned me there would be 2 injections and would sting a little bit. So in goes the first one, into the side where the lump is. Barely a scratch. Feeling quite superheroic now. I can handle this shit. I am one tough cookie. Ready for the second one.

Now ladies, when I say what happened next you may feel your pelvic floor clench up into your lungs. The needle went in….MY NIPPLE!!! Yes, big fat needle, vial of radioactive dye, in through that most sensitive of areas, the nip. ARGGHHHHH!!!!!!! The tough cookie label was no more. Every musle in my body was clenched so hard I think I need physiotherapy!

But after it was done It was all over, surely? no no no, it now needed to be massaged for 5 minutes to get the dye to travel through the lymphatic system. Lovely. thats just what a senstive area thats been prodded with a needle wants… more contact. But after that, it was done….for 3 hours at least. I was to go away and eat and drink as normal so the dye could travel.
When the 3 hours was up I was back in the waiting room for the scan. This will show where the dye has traveled and identify where the cancer would get to first if it had spread beyond the breast.

IMG_3572While I’m having my mastectomy they will remove this node and the next 2 and send it for testing while I’m still under anaesthetic. If it comes back clear of cancer then the rest of the lymph nodes stay where they are. If they come back with cancer in they will remove all the lymph nodes and that’s the fist sign the cancer has spread.
The scan itself wasnt unpleasant. It was lying on a bed and having the imaging machine come down on top of me. It stopped just before it touched my nose, if I was claustraphoobic it would have been very unpleasant! Its so close if I poked my tongue out I’d be licking it! This had to stay in place and I had to lie still with my arms above my head for 5 minutes while it did the imaging. The machine was then moved round and two more 5 minute images were taken. Luckily the radiographer was a lovely man and passed the time quite comfortably with chit chat.
FullSizeRender-29When the imaging had been done and the sentinal node identified the woman that had done the initial injection was back to mark me up. She drew an X where the lymph node is so tomorrow during the op it can be found easily. I will have more dye injected tomorrow as a back up so they definitely get the right one! So thats it.

Hospital wise I’m ready for the op. Homewise, not even close! But hopsital wise good to go. It feels quite bizarre. Now they have been marked with indelible ink my boobs will never look the same. Makes it slightly easier to accept they’re going as they certainly don’t look glamourous anymore!

This evening there was one final thing to take care of….the dreaded drink. The enhanced recovery carb loading powder. Supposedly ‘neutral tasting’ I had to down a pint. As suspected it was GRIM. I couldnt manage it in one without hurling so had to suck a square of dairy milk, take a swig, suck another sqaure of dairy milk and continue this rigmarole until I was defeated. There was about a shot left in the bottom but I knew if I continued I would vomit the whole lot back up.

IMG_3622Now its off to bed. Up at 5:30 to have my last neutral tasting beverage and then off I go.

Operation Double Mastectomy, here we come!

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Elizabeth