11:30 – I get back from brunch to find a message from the hospital on the answering machine, my favorite nurse practitioner (Sue) sighing, “Oh, I really wish you’d answer your phone, Michele…” She tells me there’s been a cancellation and a surgeon can see me tomorrow for my surgical biopsy.
11:35 – I finally reach a live person at the hospital. She tells me I’m in if I can get my patooty to Michigan by 3 pm. It’s over 3 hours’ drive, and the border crossing can be sketchy, but I say, “I’ll take it!!”
11:50 – Mom and I are winded from the packing frenzy and hit the road. The border crossing only takes 40 minutes (not bad) and one of the guards, hearing my deadline, waves us through to the next place in line for paying toll, saving us about 15 precious minutes.
3:00 – I walk into the “Nuclear Medicine” department to be injected with radioactive dye. I’m told to sign in. Exact time at the moment? Precisely three o’clock. God is SO good!
I’ll be heading back to the hospital in a few minutes for imaging–just to make sure the dye got to the lymph nodes.
8:45 tomorrow morning – Back for some microscopic imaging to have two small wires inserted into the middle of the two groupings of tiny calcifications that have the doctors worried. They’re so small that the surgeon will simply follow these wires to them and take out the flesh around them.
10:00 tomorrow morning – I’ll be put completely under and be in surgery for about 2 hours, plus wakeup time. The doctors will remove several lymph nodes (anywhere from 4 to 12) from under my arm, as well as the calcifications. This will be a deeper anesthetic than I had for my MAC surgery (McSurgery).
- For successful procedures
- For an easy wakeup
- For an eventless recovery (there can be some painful side-effects to lymph node removal, like excessive swelling under the arm)
- For NO CANCER to be found in the lymph nodes. If there IS cancer there, a mastectomy and radiation and chemo will be mandated, because it will indicate that the cancer has begun to spread. Because of the need for radiation, there would be no reconstruction until later, rather than at the time of the first surgery. I’d obviously be happier if the cancer were still localized…please pray to that end
What a miraculous series of events led to this appointment, two full weeks earlier than originally scheduled! I’m thrilled to be in this motel again, writing to you about the latest developments. This is one more BIG step toward a full understanding of my condition AND recovery!
I’ll end with a short collection of my favorite pictures from this past week with my brother. He and his family left at 5 this morning–and since I couldn’t get back to sleep, I spent the next few hours cleaning the house! I know!! Totally un-me! But at least it was squeaky clean when the call came, so we’ll be returning to a pleasant place tomorrow or the day after…
Here are the pics: