Surgery Day

I had my surgery on Tuesday. It was a long day. We got to the hospital at 7:00 AM, they got me into their so-stylish hospital attire, I had one test at 8:00, and then we sat in a waiting room till after 1:00 when I was finally called for preop. Jerry tells me that my surgery didn’t start till about 2:20 and I wasn’t out of recovery till sometime after 7:00. After I could prove that I could eat (crackers and vegetable soup) and drink (lots of ice water) without being sick, they discharged me a bit after 9:00PM. Yesterday was sort of a lost day. I slept a lot, still working off the affects of the anesthesia. My throat was pretty raspy due to the breathing tube during surgery, so I let Jerry do all of the talking. Today, I’m feeling more like myself, though I did go back to bed after Jerry left for golf and slept till after 9:00 (to the extent that our new kitten, Boo, would allow!). The pain has been minimal and I have almost full range of motion of my left arm already. They put a sports bra that zips up the front (which they asked me to bring with me) on me in the OR, which is my “bandage” except for a layer of gauze over the one incision. I think they used superglue on the other one! This is much easier than lung surgery was, which is my only point of comparison.

They performed a lumpectomy or, as they now refer to it, breast conservation surgery, on my left breast. They also did a sentinel lymph node biopsy. I went in on Monday afternoon for an injection of a trace material and back on Tuesday morning for a scan to identify the sentinel node(s), i.e., the one(s) to which lymph flows from the breast first. X marked the spot. They removed 3 lymph nodes, reviewed them during surgery, saw no cancer in them, and I’m delighted to say left it at that. So far, this is best case scenario. Part of the pathology tests will determine if the nodes were indeed cancer free and if the tumor was removed with “clean margins.” If the answer on either is “no,” they’ll go back in. The pathology reports take about 2 weeks and my followup with the surgeon is scheduled for 4 December.

Only when the surgeon is finished with me will he release me to oncology, where we’ll decide on the remaining course of treatment. Because I elected lumpectomy, I know that radiation will be a component. Because my cancer is estrogen and progesterone positive, I know that I will go on some type of hormone therapy (tamoxifen or a relative) for several years. Chemo is the big question mark.

So that’s what I know now. Based on the way I feel today, I’m thinking I’ll be back at work on Monday. I’ve enjoyed your cards, flowers, food, gifts, emails and texts. You are all part of my support team. Thanks so much for all of the positive energy and prayer you are devoting to my recovery.


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