Christmas came and went without much worry. In fact, I had pretty much forgotten about that silly lump until January 5, 2009. This was the day of my scheduled biopsy. The last appointment of the day and they had to squeeze (hee!) me in at 5:00 that evening. I wasn't looking forward to it, but I wasn't nervous either. At this point I had forgotten about the whole use of the cancer word and was doing nothing more than following doctor's orders to double check that it was nothing, just as he had asked.
It was after 6:00 before the doctor had a chance to see me. I was grumpy and just wanted the needle in the lump, a little band aid put on my breast and be sent out the door. Of course it didn't happen that way. Of course there was a mix up somewhere. Someone, somewhere, somehow didn't contact me to let me know there was to be no biopsy. Heavens no! My charts were sent to this surgeon and upon viewing them decided she wasn't doing a biopsy...she was removing the lump completely. Surgery. My appointment with her was purely as a consult. By now none of this lump thing had gone as planned and I shouldn't have been surprised, yet I was. I almost fell off the table. Surgery? Removing the lump? A lumpectomy? You woulda thought someone would have called to inform ME about this change in plans. She asked if I had any questions. Uhhhhhhhhhhh....I don't know. I was caught off guard and couldn't think of anything to ask. So, ok, looks like today I wasn't having a biopsy, instead I'll just let you cut my breast open on January 12th.
Oh, encouraging news! While I was there she decided to give me a breast exam and couldn't feel any lump anywhere. Whew. But let's go ahead and remove that tiny little something that was found on the mammogram just to be safe. It'll be nothing. She explained what the basic lumpectomy entailed. I thought she was kidding. Oh, for heaven's sake! This tiny little nothing has done nothing but give me problems since the day I first found out about it.
Between the time I found out about the surgery and the day of the surgery, I got crankier and crankier. It had nothing to do with me being worried about having cancer; I don't like having surgery. I've had so many surgeries in my life that the idea of one more got me in a real bad mood. I was going to be glad to be rid of this little nothing, because it was starting to become a serious pain in my butt.
January 12, 2009: Surgery Day
My surgeon was getting ready to leave for Africa for 3 weeks - due to this I was unable to have my surgery in a hospital close to my house. All her appointments before she left the country were at St Luke's Hospital in beautiful downtown Kansas City, MO. Crap. I had to be at the breast center attached to that hospital by 7am. Sure hope we don't get lost. Of Course we did! By the time we made it into the breast center I was in one majorly foul mood.
I don't know about you, but when I'm in a wicked bad mood, there's nothing I like better than to sit down and fill out 200 pages of paperwork. It doesn't matter that I already filled out all those exact paper at the St Luke's breast center by my house. Fill em out again! FINE! But I wasn't going to smile or write clearly.
Time ticked on while they went through checking insurance and putting my information into the system. I was pacing the waiting room for a couple of reasons: one being that I was allergic to the room and didn't want to sit on anything, and the other reason was that they had told me what they were going to do to me before they put me to sleep for the lumpectomy and it sounded bad. A very nice woman showed up in the waiting room and started chatting with me. She was able to figure out that I was on edge and offered to give me a relaxing massage. Yeah, whatever, but I'm not paying ya. She rubbed my back slowly, pushing on my shoulder blades one at a time. I liked it. I totally should have exchanged numbers with her.
"Mrs Strickland, come on down! You're the next patient to have a wire shoved into her breast with almost no numbing done first!" Woo! I had to lie on my stomach with my boobs hanging out below me. X-rays were done, a radiologist was called in - without a word to me, he gave me a shot in my breast then quickly shoved in a wire that was about the size of the lead of a pencil. His work there was done so he left. He was so nice. Someday I hope to see him out in public so I can return the favor by shoving objects into his sensitive areas then just quickly walking away. I'm certain he'll enjoy it as much as I did.
There is now about 8 inches of wire protruding from my breast, soooo... must be surgery time! In my little hospital gown and socks, they walk me into the actual hospital where I will be having my stupid, little, nothing lump removed. Yippy.
The whole thing was extremely quick. I was in and out of surgery, bandaged up, then sent home in just a matter of a few hours. One thing I remember quite vividly was waking in recovery and asking if the lump looked like it might be cancerous. NOOOPE. It looked like nothing. Awesome. Thank you! And if you could get me out of here as quickly as possible I would appreciate it soooo much, as you can tell, I seem to be allergic to your little room here and I'm turning into one big hive rash.
Before I had my surgery, I was told by countless people that this is what the surgeon does. This is her job. She's done this so many times that, just by eyeballing it, she can usually tell if the object removed is cancerous. When she said it looked like nothing, I gotta tell ya, I was happy. I was finally done with that mess. The only thing left was the formality of the phone call telling me it wasn't cancer. It was nothing. They assured me it was nothing. I wasn't too overly worried.
Continued on Part IV