Thursday, August 6, 2009
.... surgical follow up
..... despite the lack of sleep I am clearly awake and preparing myself mentally for the day and smile when I see that I am not the only one up so early in the morning.... my Facebook is online as usual these days and my friends are offering their support and love .... easy to see some days where I draw my strength when my reserves run low. Max is taking Lydia to reading camp this morning and we have made arrangements for our ever wonderful Uncle Paul to pick her up in the event my Surgeon's appointment runs long. I am mentally ready, dressed and leaving the house. I take note of the beautiful clear morning and I draw in a deep breath in the unusually cool August morning. I am going to University Hospital and now know the way to the out-patient surgical clinic on the 8th floor. I no sooner get comfortable in the waiting room which on a previous visit was empty, but my number is called and I am led to an examining room with the Surgeons name on the door..... this tag has moved from its previous door front... there are many surgeons who share this clinic and this simplifies where everyone will be this morning.
The nurse inspects the steri strips and gently removes them... the scar is slim and from my vantage point looks like a frown - it will soon fade in time and leave a reminder of these days... the other scar is under my arm and because of the sensitive location, my arm feels like it is pulling tight on a muscle when extended and I grimace with the discomfort. The other scars are from other incisions - biopsies and large gauge needles are a stark contrast to the white skin surrounding them. Each scar has tough lumpy tissue beneath them and this too will diminish with time. The nurse is surprised by my range of motion and comments that most women will stiffen up and experience long term problems. I never stop moving and now I see the advantage of that..... from the second day after surgery I would push myself to move carefully but constantly despite the pain... a warning I received from a woman I met going through chemo who made sure I was aware how important this was. I learned years ago to take advice from those who have travelled before.... saves the effort of learning the hard way.... I also do not take pain killers because I need to know what hurts and to not push beyond what is tolerable.
The surgeon enters the room and smiles at me... he recognizes the tattoos and remembers that my husband's opposite arm is also tattooed. He asks what I do for a living and is interested in the answers... this is the small talk while he attempts to get Pathology on the phone. He is only across the hall and asks me to call him if the phone rings... he is training an intern and will use the time he has wisely as I get dressed. He checks in with me a number of times before the nursing station phone rings and he is called over to take it. I can only hear his side of the conversation but get the idea that the report is not complete and he is given very little information. I hear the polite thank you and he hangs up the phone with little more than a preliminary report. There seems to be something found in the minutest of scales that would indicate that perhaps cancer has been located in the lymph node - out of the six harvested in surgery, he is not told which one. He only knows that according to the report on the carcinoma removed that it was complete..... a mystery that Pathology has decided requires further investigation and more testing. They want to be sure before issuing a formal report and have indicated that this will take a few more days. My surgeon feels positive about having removed the tumor and will call me as soon as the report is submitted. He has a very gentle smile and I can see his eyes are warm and friendly as he lets me know that I am free to go. Through the short wait time in the exam room, I have been texting Mandi - she is concerned and wants to know if I am OK.... I am fine and will face this another day by hoping for the best. My friends have all been texting and emailing with their concern and support. Today I was not alone and I am grateful for the love. xoxoxox Thanks Shelly for the hysterical humorous relief this afternoon.... still finding it funny!! :D
Today I felt really good - physically strong and able to play with my beautiful daughter - I am teaching her how to shoot baskets and I have enough range in my arm to shoot and score but not quite up to playing 3 on 3 even with the spanky new sports bra.... I realize that I am out of shape. I will resolve to do something physical every day even if it is just a walk.
While Max and Uncle Paul get closer to finishing the pond, I am replacing the damaged gasket from the pool filter.... our pool has turned slightly green and my party is 2 days away - my plans never changed and I am determined to continue regardless of the path I am on. I am looking forward to seeing the girls and laughing - enjoying the life I have been blessed with.
Special thanks to all my friends for the wonderful messages and the time you have taken to show your kindness and support. I wish to congratulate Norm and Melissa - Baby #1 will be arriving soon into the new year if I calculated out the right time frame!!! So exciting!!