Just One More Surgery

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About the time I hoped to return to work part time, I was scheduled for a surgery known as a margin revision. In my post-op visit, the breast surgeon explained that there was one cancerous spot on the border of the clean tissue.  The goal of the surgery is to leave a margin of at least 1mm of normal, cancer free tissue.

I arrived that the Surgery Center at 7:00 AM on June 16, 2009.  I went through the usual details: financial responsibilities, Nurse #1 and then back to the holding pen where I changed my clothes and got ready.  I asked the nurse to pull the curtain so everybody couldn’t stare at me.  I was hoping that the surgeon would take the drains out during the surgery.  The breast surgeon stopped by to see me and reassured me that she was going to get clear margins.  She previously asked me if a pathologist could attend the surgery.  She confirmed that the pathologist would be attending the surgery and would be able to examine the tissue immediately.  The breast surgeon would gain access through the 3 incisions in the right breast from the surgery on June 3, 2009.  She explained that the plastic surgeon could not be here and she would do her best to put me back together.  The anesthesiologist also stopped by and I told him that I had past issues with nausea after surgery and he assured me that he would give me something to prevent unnecessary nausea.

I was ready to go back.  Doug kissed me goodbye.  This time it was just Doug in the lobby because this was supposed to be a shorter, uncomplicated surgery.  The nurse took me back to the operating room where everyone greeted me and introduced themselves.  The surgeon came in and I told her, “Let’s do this”.

The next thing I remember was that I was in the recovery area.  I was trying to wake up but it wasn’t working.  I could hear the nurse asking Doug if I opened my eyes yet. The nurse kept saying, “Okay Laura.  It’s done.” The nurse told the doctor as she came by that I wasn’t awake yet. They were standing at my bed and I could hear them but my eyes would not open.   I could hear her talking to me but I couldn’t move. I wasn’t scared, though.  I did tell God that if this was my time to go that I would be okay with it as long as I was going to heaven.  (Obviously, I didn’t speak that but I was praying silently.)

After another surgery, the doctor came by again.  I heard the nurse and doctor talking about my vital signs.  They looked good so the doctor said to give me time.  I was trying to open my eyes and they all told me to relax and take my time.  They assured me that I was okay.  The doctor completed another surgery and came by to check on me and this time I opened my eyes a little and gave her a half smile.

How ironic! After the 6 hour surgery, I was in recovery 30-40 minutes and this surgery was supposed to be so easy (1 hour) and I was in recovery 2-3 hours. Eventually, I walked out of the surgical center and went home to go to bed.

At the post-op visit, the surgeon gave me great news that the pathology report was clear.   the surgical drains had to stay in place until the drainage slowed down.  I started Herceptin, the good chemo, one week later.  Plans for Paige’s wedding would begin soon.

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