Monday, June 20, 2011

"In union there is strength." ~ Aesop

Now that I had the diagnosis, a surgeon and surgery date, I needed my friends more than ever. I brought six girl friends together and formed Team C Cup - my team, my support group! I honestly do not know how I would have gotten through the diagnosis, wait time and surgery without Team C Cup, my brother and sister-in-law and a few other close friends. 

Team C Cup took turns checking on me, taking me to appointments and helping me celebrate the last Saturday night I had with my "normal" boobs. They even took a tag-team approach to my day of surgery.  

Surgery was a very long day that started at 8:30am with a guide wire inserted via needle into the offending boob. The guide wire was to make sure the surgeon got to THE spot easier. Yes, it's as strange as it sounds to have a wire sticking out of your breast (at least it was taped down and lidocaine was involved). You know that you are in for some fun when there are smelling salts placed nearby and extras on the counter. The nurse that was with me was very upfront and told me exactly what was going to happen and how - which I really appreciated. She added that a lot of people faint during this wire placement. Wow, I'd never fainted before and was not ready to try it. Thankfully I didn't faint, but it did take me a few minutes to get in the wheelchair. I didn't want the wheelchair at first (I was going to walk through this thing - head up, shoulders back) but it is important to recognize when you do need help...and say "yes" to the wheelchair. 

Next we were off to radiology for sentinel lymph node mapping. Shift 1 of Team C Cup rolled me there and kept my spirits up as I sat in my chariot, in a hospital gown with my clothes in a bag...oh, and the wire. Then it was my turn. I was taken to this large x-ray machine thing, stretched out and got as comfortable as possible.  The technician reviewed the procedure with me and then out came many more needles. She made me feel comfortable and we actually shared a few jokes. There was no laughing during the needle part. Thank you lidocaine for making all those needle sticks around my areola practically painless (honestly, I could have had my nipple pierced and not felt it).  Waiting for the dye to move around in your body and hit those three lymph nodes while under x-ray takes some time. Fortunately, the technician and I found things in common and had a fun conversation. She was also very sensitive to my situation, kind and caring. I should thank her and the lidocaine. 

Next up, the surgery waiting area. Shift 1 of Team C Cup wheeled me through the hospital to our next stop (for fun, I repeated "wee, wee, weeee" like the Geico pig as we moved through the hospital - wanted to keep the Team entertained and I had some nervous energy to burn). We had a nice little room where we would hang out until my surgery time. Shortly after getting in bed and receiving my "fancy" compression stockings, Shift 2 of Team C Cup arrived and my room became the "party room" per the nursing staff. The "party" got even better when my brother and sister-in-law arrived. The nursing staff, anesthesiologist, etc. kept checking in, updating me and making sure I was OK. I think the nurses were having fun visiting my room. Oh, I should mention the heated blankets - those things are like Xanax. As things go, the surgery was delayed by several hours (more complicated case in front of mine and it took longer than expected). Shift 1 of Team C Cup was relieved and Shift 2 remained. 

In a moment of quiet, it was just me and one Team Member, I took a breath and tried to accept that I was now leaving "the land of denial" which had been my comfort zone. It was almost as if my friend could read my mind. She seemed to know exactly what to say - what I needed to hear. The delay almost made me lose it. 

All of the sudden, I had what I'll call 3 margaritas via injection from the anesthesiologist and away we went. I saw the operating room and all the people that would be a part of my surgery. I was then counting to 100 with a mask on my face and out - might have gotten to number 4. 

Waking up in the recovery area was odd yet calming. The surgery was over, I was OK and nothing had gone wrong. My Team had been updated and all was well. I was returned to my "party room" (which was much more low-key now) where I'd wait to be discharged. Here's the thing, you have to eat something, drink something and go to the bathroom before you can be discharged. Going to the bathroom was not going to be easy since I'd had nothing to drink for over 12 hours. I was given water, ginger ale and saltine crackers. I took me about an hour to eat one cracker - paste, it became paste in my mouth that I could not swallow. Finally, I was moving around better and had completed the needed task - time to go home. 

I won't get into the complete comedy of errors which was me trying to ascend 43 stairs to my apartment. My brother stayed right behind me to make sure I didn't fall backwards and I was clinging to the wall like it was a ride at a fair. I got into my pajamas which covered the world's most unattractive surgical bra and then entertained and tried to eat again. Shift 1 of Team C Cup lives in my building so they came over to see how I was doing (and possibly giggle at me still not being completely clear headed from anesthesia). I handed out the extra set of keys to my apartment so that Team C Cup could come in and out of my apartment and check on me during the night. By 10:00pm or so, everyone was leaving and I was heading to bed with my Norco pain medication on board.  

Once I got into bed, I had a few minutes before I feel asleep and in those minutes I was grateful. 

1 comment:

  1. So what you're saying is you let a perfectly good opportunity to get your nipple pierced pass you by?! (see how I pick up the important details?) Well I guess we can blame this lapse in judgement to the drugs. And at least now you know what to do to get yourself ready for a nipple piercing, lidocaine.