Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Disaster averted and a New Friend Inserted

Although this week was just as busy as last week, everything was quite a bit more positive. I spent all day Wednesday making and receiving phone calls to set up appoints for procedures. Dad and I also met at a surgeon’s office for a consultation. This surgeon was in charge of placing my new mediport. Ironically, I had met with the surgeon once before after a bad case of the stomach flu. He was chipper and cheerful as usual and very polite. Last time, he let me look at all the CT scans of my stomach and showed me what everything was. This time, I got to play with an older mediport circa 1995. It was pretty cool. I like it when I get to play with toys. J It was white with a long tube attached to it similar to the one they would place in me. The tube (catheter) goes into an artery, giving the nurses direct access to a vein at all times. We scheduled my mediport placement for Friday.

Thursday was pretty routine. Mom and I woke up early and headed to Springfield to have Sven marked with a small titanium insert called a clip. This is the exact same procedure as my original biopsy, but instead of taking core samples the doctor simply inserted a clip. The doctor was just finishing the placement of my clip, when he looked at me a said, “Have they done an ultra sound of the left one.” I responded that no, they hadn’t, but they did a CT scan of my whole chest. He explained that a CT scan is not as accurate and had the nurse do an ultra sound of the left one. They did find one baby lump about half of a centimeter in size in the middle of my lovely, dense breast tissue. They called my breast surgeon and asked if they should go ahead and biopsy this one. The surgeon told them to go ahead and do a biopsy of this one and place a clip just in case. I told them that should probably let my mom know since she was in the waiting room and might be wondering what was taking so long. In the future I will probably not take this route, because my poor mother was scared silly. They had to re-prep the room, which was interesting to watch and the doctor left while they were doing this. He made some crack about how I had just enough time to get another piercing while I was waiting and headed out. The nurse turned to me and said, “Now what kind of clip would you like? We have a coil, a ribbon, and something else (I can’t remember).” I was a bit taken aback by this and couldn’t help, but laugh. The nurse observing this responded, “Or would you like them to match? You have a coil in your right one.” Still laughing, I responded that I would take the ribbon. They switched around my cot and loaded me up with new warm blankets. The nurse took a few pictures with the ultra sound machine and the doctor came back in. They took a picture to see if there was any color in the tumor. There was no color, so the doctor sent the lidocaine needle in to stab it. Upon being stabbed, this new lump simply collapsed and disappeared. Both the doctor and the ultra sound technician made “Oh!” noises of relief and took big sighs. “It’s gone isn’t it?” the doctor said. The nurse responded that it was. Whew! It was nothing but a non-cancerous, fluid-filled cist! Thus, there is nothing to be concerned about. The doctor removed the needle, and turned around and shook my hand. This is awkward because I’m lying there with my left breast still sticking up in the air. The doctor continued on, seeming oblivious to this situation, while I tried really hard to keep a straight face. “It was really nice working with you and we’ll probably see you a few more times because they like to check up on the tumor’s size during chemotherapy…” He took his leave, I got dressed, said goodbye to the sweet, ultra-sound technician and went into the waiting room to see mom. Mom had of course been freaking out, but she was ecstatic to hear that everything is just fine and that there is absolutely nothing to worry about.

Friday was my first surgical procedure that they put me under for so far. I showed up at the hospital at 11:45 to be prepped for my surgery at 1. I brought my bright pink, fuzzy socks to wear during surgery because I have a tendency to get cold. They had me take off all of my clothes and most of my piercings and put on a hospital gown, footies, and a mesh shower cap. They taped over my ears where the remaining piercings were. I probably looked like a hospital elf with pointy ears and pink ankles. The nurses all loved my socks. I was covered in warm blankets and my parents sat with me until it was time to for surgery. My surgeon had a brief last-minute meeting, but he still managed to get me in on time. The only thing I didn’t like about surgery prep, was the IV they put in my right wrist. It really hurt in this dull, achey, sharp, numbing kind of way. They wheeled me back to the operating room. It was SUPER cold back there, but the nurse covered me in 5 or 6 brand new warm blankets. The anesthesiologist started dripping cold fluid into my IV. I noticed that there was a Colbie Caillat song playing in the background (subsequently, this song was stuck in my head the minute I woke up and for the rest of the day) and I stared at the big lights on the ceiling. One of the nurses strapped my right arm down and then my left. That’s all I remember until I woke up back in my pre-op room. I can only remember fragments of waking up. I remember not being able to think of the correct words for thank you and sorry in English and therefore, said them in Mandarin. This I’m sure was somewhat confusing to the nurses. The next thing I remember is telling my nurse that she was “a very nice person.” Suddenly I’m sitting next to Mom and she’s telling me that she thinks she’s supposed to keep me awake. The nurse sends my mom to get the car while she helps me dress. I missed putting my foot in my pants and giggled. The nurse asked me if I was drunk and I in my dignified way explained that no, I wasn’t drunk and that my head was just woozy. The nurse walked me to the car. We stopped briefly at a couple of stores (I waited in the car) and then I was home. I refused to let my mom help me upstairs. She followed behind me. I then went to sleep until dinnertime.

Today, I am a bit sore. My collarbone hurts a bit and I feel stretched out where the mediport is. If I change the direction I’m leaning in, I can feel the weight of the mediport shift. It’s fun! To make me feel better my dad made pancakes for breakfast and we listened to “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me” as a family. All in all, a very good morning. I am so excited to have my mediport, I don’t have to endure any more needle pricks in my arm and this new little friend saves my veins. Everyone I have talked to about it says that they are much easier and far less painful. Chemotherapy starts on Tuesday and with the addition of my mediport they only need to plug me in (literally) and send me on my way. So yes, this week was just as busy as last week, but far less scary and far more positive.

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