Thursday, September 10, 2009
..... and the news is in!!!
... stress, pain and a race to get to University Hospital near lunch hour through one of the busiest places in town and trying to get around traffic jams and construction with Uncle Paul riding shotgun... at one point I thought he might want to use one!!
I am notorious for being early for everything - not one to be late, I can be seen arriving with a lead time of only a few minutes... we no sooner get seated in the busy waiting room, attempt to pick up the cards which have spilled from my wallet when my number is called. The other patients are surprised to see me bounce back up and head through the door to the long hallway of examining rooms. I am escorted into the very first room I found myself in 8 weeks ago but this time I am not left alone as the nurse asks if I have any bandages left on and I reply yes. She quickly gets to work and removes all the steri strips to reveal a scar... looks like a smile from my vantage point but the red line is still healing and the swelling underneath will soon disappear as the fluid gets re-absorbed back into the tissue. I know that although the breast still looks the same size as its twin.... time will challenge how much will remain filled in. Not one of my biggest worries as the surgeon steps into the examining room with his resident just as the nurse is finishing up. She is right - he is as accurate with time as I feel he is with his scalpel. I am impressed but then most A type personalities would be. He has the pathology and informs me that of all the lymph nodes that were removed... the number I think he mentioned was in the 30's - none of them tested positive. He searches my face for a reaction but I am just staring at him trying to digest the news.... he smiles and says that this is a good thing and indicates that his secretary will call me with information on the Oncologist - it will likely be weeks before I will get in for a consultation and more weeks before my first treatment. I ask him about the tendon in my underpit that is bulging and I believe to be the cause of pain. Oh no, not a tendon - it is the nerve he has saved and should it continue to give me pain in the long term he would be more than happy to cut it... that will unfortunately cause permanent numbness. Yah, no... I will work on it till it relaxes or snaps but no more surgery. I thank the surgeon and shake his hand. He is off and running and I stop him before he completely disappears in order to get him to sign off the paperwork from my home nurse. He immediately signs off the sheet and discontinues any home care. Finally free.... at least for now and I walk out to the waiting room. Time to make calls and text out information to my family doctor and nurse. Uncle Paul is following behind and I tell him as we near the elevators - he is excited and hugs me. I am still trying to digest the news but we are not quite there.
Max is ecstatic about the news and laughs when Paul tells him on the cell phone as I am now weaving back through traffic en route to Costco - routine shopping as life goes on no matter what!! That is the whole secret of my life... never one to sit down for long. I am learning though to take more time out when I am tired and to at least understand that I have limitations. I wince when trying to pick things up and attempt to stretch as I walk. This is going to take quite some time to heal this nerve.... but giving up is clearly not an option!!
The rest of the afternoon is spent watching TV with Uncle Paul and pulling together a simple family meal of the buffet variety. This has become a favorite way of eating most days in the summer but has carried on even with the kids recent return to a more regular routine. Max is home now after a busy day and has a dozen roses with him - 11 red and one pink one. He mentions that the pink on this rose is fading.... something he is sure is also true with the cancer. I am hoping so too!! He is anxious to call all family members and I hear his laughter on the phone as he shares the good news with his family. Mom and Dad will be coming to see us on Sunday and will be taking Uncle Paul back with them. He has been incredible and an immense help these past almost 3 weeks!! I am sure he will miss us as much as we will miss him.
..... now to see if I am capable of at least going to work for a little while before the next chapter. The nerve pain and the fatigue of two surgeries will limit how much time spent there and what I am able to do..... I really do need to stop the snacking though....