As I've mentioned before, part of the intent of this blog is to help other young women who get breast cancer sort of know what to expect. I'm pretty sure that no one has just stumbled on to my blog but you never know. If I knew how to make my blog more searchable that would help. Anyone?
I know that so much of how cancer is treated depends on how old you are, where it is, what stage it is and probably a lot of other things I don't know about...yet (I bet I'm going to become an expert on breast cancer) but if I can pass along any wisdom, or even just a heads up, then I am happy to do it. In my rush to get my blog updated yesterday I forgot to talk about the two procedures I had in the morning prior to surgery. I suspect that these would be pretty typical for someone getting a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy. They were also kind of insane in a "you are going to do what?" sort of way, so my readers might enjoy hearing about them.
My first stop was the ultrasound room in the breast cancer clinic. Apparently my lump was not palpable (did I mention how frigin' lucky I am that they caught this when they did?) so the doctor planned to get a guide-wire put in. Yes, they use guide wires in boobs! Who knew. Unfortunately this procedure was done sans freezing. Barbarians!!!! Okay, I'm exaggerating but still it wasn't what I would call pleasant. I'm beginning to suspect Ethel had feelings because she certainly objected whenever anyone put needles in her. Friday was probably a rough day for her but since I have wished her a speedy death, I have trouble feeling too bad about her pain. As an aside, I should probably stop personifying her as I'm beginning to feel guilty.
Okay, back to the point - the tech, using ultrasound, put a piece of wire in to point out the lump. The wire looked bigger than your average needle but then, I wasn't super calm at that exact moment so it probably wasn't. Once she had poked Ethel she wrapped up my boob with the wire still sticking out. I'd say it was out about 5 cm. Certainly not something I was expecting at 7:30 in the morning.
Next stop was back to nuclear medicine. Now you may recall that I listed the bone scan as my favorite test. This was the same machine but this was not my favorite test. As I was laying there for this test I was debating whether I disliked this one more than the MRI. In the end I came to the conclusion that I did not but it was close. In this particular test radioactive isotopes were injected into Ethel. FYI, radioactive isotopes in the breast burn like a mother! Made all the worse by the subsequent massage. I guess the massage (which is weird but remember that whole post about saying goodbye to modesty) helps get the isotopes up into the lymph system so they can establish the sentinel node. After a few minutes she came back with a needle-like thing and a pen. She used the needle-like thing to track the isotopes and then drew on me. She was able to establish the node, she marked it and off I went back to my room to continue waiting.
I'm back home now, which is awesome since the TV in the room turned itself on every morning at 6:30, breakfast was served promptly at 7:30 and people came in and out of the room ALL NIGHT LONG. I plan to get a good sleep tonight, maybe even the first since my terrible biopsy on the 27th. The only gross thing, besides the fact that I haven't showered since Thursday, is the drain that is still in me. Tomorrow I have to measure the amount of "stuff" that comes out and write about it in this journal that the hospital gave me. Paul says if I can't stomach it, he will. What a good man.