MY DAY OF HAVING A LUMPECTOMY FOR BREAST CANCER

If you have been following this blog you know that I discovered a lump in my breast last month. Twelve days later I was told I had breast cancer and 22 days after that I finally had the surgery. Here is the story of my surgery:

I was told the night before that I had to be at the hospital at 6:30 in the morning. My surgery wasn’t scheduled until 12:30 in the afternoon and I asked the nurse who called me if I heard her correctly. “Yes, you will need to come in at 6:30 in the morning because they have tests to do before your surgery”, she said.

I woke up at 4:20 in the morning on February, Friday the 13th and got ready for a long day. I arrived at my Mom’s house at 5:45 AM and we got on the road. We made it to the hospital and the surgery center ten minutes early. There was no one in the waiting room and no employees were working at the desk. After waiting a few minutes two women came out and checked me in. One of them walked us back into room number 14. I was told to strip down to nothing and put on a medical gown. The gown was really just a piece of cloth with some buttons on it. I was thankful my Mom was there to help me figure out how to put it on. Between the two of us it still took about 5 minutes to figure it out! 

The nurse handed me a small cup and asked me to give them a urine sample. Per doctors orders I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink since 9 PM the night before so I wasn’t sure if I could give them a sample. I took the cup into the bathroom and was able to provide a small amount for them. When the nurse came in she saw the cup and said she had one test to do before they could do anything else. I asked what test that was and she said it was a pregnancy test. She explained that they test every woman from ages 12 to 55 before they do any type of surgery. My test came out negative so the nurse told me to lie in the bed and wait.

One of my sisters arrived at 8 AM while we were still waiting for something to happen. Shortly after that the doctor came in and put his initials on my right breast. He said they do that as a precaution so that the correct breast is operated on. At 9 AM a gentleman came in and told me he would be taking me in for a test. He told my Mom and sister that they could come along or wait there for me. They decided to go with me. The gentleman wheeled my bed down several hallways, down a ramp and into an elevator. When we came out of the elevator I said “I don’t even know where I am”, and he told me we were in the basement. I looked up and saw a sign that read ‘Nuclear Medicine’.

I was greeted by a doctor who told me he would be injecting my areola with some radiation. He told my family that they could stay and watch or go on the other side of the curtain and wait. They opted to stay and watch. My Mom told me that I could hold her hand and I laughingly told her that she is the one afraid of needles, not me. I held her hand so that she would feel better. As the doctor stuck the needle under my skin I heard my sister say to my Mom, “You can’t even watch someone else get a shot”? It touched me that she wanted to give me her hand in support when I knew how difficult it was for her to be there.

The needle going into my skin did not hurt at all. It wasn’t painful until he injected the radiation into my breast. The pain lasted for only about 5 seconds. After it was over the doctor covered the spot with a band aid and told me to massage the breast by placing my fingers over the band aid and making a circular motion to the left three times, and then three times to the right. He explained that this would help the radiation reach my lymph nodes. The purpose of this was so that the doctor would be able to easily find my lymph nodes and could tell if the cancer had spread there.

After the injection I was taken back to my room. It wasn’t long after that when a nurse came in and hooked me up to an IV. At 9:30 AM my other sister and niece came to visit me. The hospital rules stated that there are only two visitors allowed at a time in the pre-surgery room but no one complained that I had four.

We waited around for another three long hours before the anesthesiologist came in to ask me some questions. He asked me if I was allergic to anything, or if any of my family members had ever had any problems with anesthesia. I answered ‘No’ to all of his questions. He explained the process of anesthesia with me. He told me that he would start by giving me something to relax me before they took me into the operating room. I secretly thought that he should give my family the drug because they all seemed more nervous than me. He then told me that they would take me to the operating room where I would hear the doctors and nurses discussing my case. They would then put an oxygen mask on me and ask me to breath for about 2 minutes. At that point they would ask me to count down starting at 100. He told me I would be out after only counting one or two numbers. In reality I was out before they even asked me to count.

After the anesthesiologist explained everything he told me they would come and get me very soon. He left and about 5 minutes later another anesthesiologist and nurse came in and asked me the same questions and gave me the same information as before. After his explanation a couple more people came in and told me it was time. They put some valium in my IV and it took effect immediately. I was instantly relaxed. My family gave me hugs and kisses and told me they loved me. I was finally on my way.

I was wheeled into the operating room and there were people all around me. I looked around the room and was surprised because it seemed cluttered with things. I remember thinking that it didn’t fit my image of what an operating room should look like. I brushed it off as too many years of watching Grey/s Anatomy. 

Next, a mask was placed over my mouth and someone told me to take deep breaths. The mask wasn’t tight against my mouth and nothing was holding it in place. Every once and a while someone would press the mask against me to make it tight and they would tell me to keep breathing deep. I did as they said and kept watching everything around me. There were people moving around me but I couldn’t tell what they were all doing. Someone was strapping my arms down straight across, like Jesus on the cross. I remember thinking that I should be panicking over the fact that I was being tied down, but I wasn’t. The valium must have made me ok with that. 

The next thing I recall is someone waking me up. I was upset with them, telling them “hey, I was at a blackjack table!” I heard someone laugh and say they’ve never heard that one before. They told me I did very good. I asked them if I had a draining tube attached to me, and they told me I didn’t. I asked them how many lymph nodes they took out and someone told me ‘one, but the doctor will tell you all of this’.

I was then wheeled into the recovery room. I thought I was awake the whole time and was only in the recovery room for about 20 minutes but I was told I was in there for almost two hours. There was a nurse next to me and I asked her if the doctor was going to come and talk to me. She told me that he would talk to my family. Then suddenly the doctor appeared and I smiled and said “ohhhhhh, there he is!”

He asked how I was doing and I said “great”. He told me that the cancer was very tiny. He made a face as he said the word tiny, like he was amazed at how small it really was. I asked him if he got it all and he told me he believes he did, He said the cancer was so small it took him some time to find it. He told me that I wouldn’t remember this conversation and that my family would tell me everything later. Then he walked away.

The nurse put a number one sign on my bed, which meant I was the next in line to go back to my room. When no one came to get me she told me that she would take me herself. I apologized to her for that. She told me it was no problem, the bed I was on was like a Mercedes Benz. She said it drove itself. She then told me that this one bed alone cost ten thousand dollars. 

It was a short trip from the recovery room to my room. After I was placed in my room the nurse went and got my family. They all came back with presents for me. I felt so happy and loved. They told me what the doctor said. He told them that what I was feeling in my breast was a cyst and that there were three of them in my breast. He said that the cancer was lying against one of the cysts and that it was very tiny. He made the same face to them as he had to me when explaining how small it was.

A nurse came in and brought me a small glass of ice water and shortly after that she gave me the smallest juice box I had ever seen. I drank them both and it was very refreshing. Next, someone came in and took out the IV needle that was in my hand. Then the nurse came back and told me that I could get dressed and that she was getting my discharge papers together. When she gave me my discharge papers she told me I could walk to my car or I could get a wheelchair. I opted for the wheelchair because I felt very dizzy while I was getting into my clothes.

The drive home was uneventful and I was not feeling any pain. I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that my Mom made for me and we sat on the couch watching TV. I was not in any pain but only felt a little discomfort. I decided to take a vicodin before I went to bed in case I had any pain in the middle of the night. Unfortunately the pill kept me awake half the night, but at least I was not in pain.

It has been 4 days since the surgery and I have not had any pain. I did not take any pain pills after that first night and I have not had any limitations as to what I can do. 

I took the bandages off after two days and was surprised at the size of the scar on my breast. It is two inches long. The scar in my armpit is only one inch. I don’t mind the scars, I’d rather have them  than breast cancer!

I see the doctor on Thursday to get the results of my surgery.

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Has this helped you in any way? Please comment or ask questions below

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I created some Breast Cancer Shirts that I have for sale on my site at
YouDeserveIt.com
I created these after being diagnosed with breast cancer. I tried to find shirts for sale on the internet and was shocked at the high prices. So I decided to make some myself. Your purchase of any of these shirts will help me in my battle of breast cancer. If you have a suggestion of a shirt I will try to make it. Please let me know what you think by submitting a comment.

                
                              $20.00                                                                           $23.00     

   
                
                           $20.00                                                                                $18.00

3 Responses to “MY DAY OF HAVING A LUMPECTOMY FOR BREAST CANCER”

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