Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Yesterday morning we arrived at the hospital at 8:00. I got my bracelet, did some paperwork and at about 8:30 I was called back for the lymph node mapping. The doctor and nurse were so great. The nurse walked in with this metal box that was locked with the radioactive symbol on it and capital letter RADIOACTIVE. They explained the procedure to me. They'd be injecting four vials of radioactive material into the site of the cancer and they they'd put me under the gamma machine to see which lymph node basin the cancer drains to. I asked if I could expect to turn into the Incredible Hulk or if I might walk out with Spidey Senses. They assured me I wouldn't.

It is difficult to describe the pain of having radioactive material injected just under your skin, but I think it is safe to say I am tough enough for that tattoo I've been wanting. Once the injections were done and the doctor was finished apologizing profusely seeing how I flinched with each one, they raised me into the machine for pictures. I just had to lay still for several sets of images. The lymph node basin that lit up was under my left arm which was expected so they marked it, sent me with some pictures and I was off to the next adventure.

We headed to the next building for the surgery. They were waiting for me and got started right away. I was whisked back to pre op where they started paperwork, ran a pregnancy test (NEGATIVE), and got my IV going. I can say without a doubt they were some of the most amazing nurses ever. I was anxious and teary and they were SO reassuring and sweet. Getting an IV placed is one of my most dreaded things. The nurse started, I felt a tiny pinch and then nothing else. I looked down and said, "Did you NUMB my hand before doing that?" and she said, "Girl I am giving you all I've got." :)

As I looked around the pre op/post op area it was a little surreal. I was in the plastic surgery department so most of the people were so excited to get their surgeries, face lifts, lipo, breast augmentations....then there's me. The doctor came over to mark my arm and talk to me and I started crying. He assured me it would be ok. I told him I wasn't afraid of the surgery, moreso the big picture of all of this. He grabbed my hand and said, "We see LOTS of people cured. I see no reason why you won't be one of those people, you are a little higher risk because of the depth of the tumor but we're going to get you through this." I breathed and thanked him. Having a confident doctor is SO important.

Then the anesthesiologist came in. In my experience, they are a quirky bunch always in fun scrubs, he was no exception. He was an older grandfatherly type man. He stroked my cheek and said, we are here for you, "whatever you need, physically, emotionally, spiritually we are here. I have a friend who just went through this same surgery and she is doing great. You are going to do great too. I can just tell you are going to beat this." I cried. He hugged me and they walked me to the operating room.

I got up on the table and my friendly anesthesiologist said, "Are you ready to go to Margaritaville?" I nodded and he injected some lovely something into my IV. Then I remember a nurse saying "we are going to take VERY good care of you and get you home to those kids". Then I remember an oxygen mask....and waking up in recovery.

I'd say the worst part of the whole ordeal was waking up and being told I needed to eat something. They brought me Snackwells cookies and due to the cottonmouth of anesthesia, I struggled to choke them down. I think I drank six cups of water. I got up and used the bathroom and they let me get dressed.

I got home around 4 yesterday, ate dinner, took my meds, watched a movie with the kids and struggled to get comfortable enough to sleep.

I am feeling pretty good. Groggy and sore but overall good, glad this part is behind me and looking forward to good test results next week. Thank you all for your prayers. I can truly feel them. I am so grateful for all the love being poured out upon my family.


Tracy said...

Oh my goodness! I've only been checking in on your blog once a week or so, not really sure when to expect an update. This was definitely not the update I was expecting. I know you don't know me, but I wanted to let you know you are in my prayers.

Unknown said...

You did it again. Just when I was losing hope and feeling sorry for myself...your faith and positive outlook through this latest difficulty have reminded me to COUNT MY BLESSINGS!! Prayers for you as you await results and heal from the procedure.

Cheryl said...

I too, had lost track of your blog a bit, and was saddened to hear of your recent trial. I will hold you up in prayer.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121: 1-2

With hugs and Hope,

krueth said...

I also check your site every couple of weeks and was so surprised to read your posts. I will sure be praying for you. Wendy

Rich McDonald said...

I'm hoping those lymph nodes come back negative for melanoma. Take care.

Rich McDonald (Hotel Melanoma)