The New “Star Wars” World of Treatment

When I returned to see my doctor the following week, it was a good news – bad news scenario. The good news was that the cancer was ductile (not invasive as the last time) and it was early stage, so I did not need to have any lymph nodes removed. The bad news was that it was fast growing. It already was the size of a golf ball and much deeper into my breast. My surgeon called it “Of significant size.” How did it grow so quickly? How long had it been there? It had not been detected on my last mammogram from a year ago. My surgeon explained to me that because of the size and location of the lump, that she would have to remove a lot of breast tissue but she assured me that she would manipulate the tissue as best she could to prevent too large of an indentation. The day before my lumpectomy I am to report to hospital to have a radioactive seed placed into my tumor so my doctor will be able to locate it exactly. Producing less trauma to the tissue. As I stated earlier, I am fascinated by the advances in the technology that has been developed over the past 25 years. This procedure is facilitated by me sitting in a large chair. The Queen for a Day (or just an hour to be exact) chair as the tech referred to it. A small amount of local anesthetic is used to numb up the area to be work on and my right breast is placed in a mammogram machine. The actual procedure takes just a few minutes and there is very little discomfort. I am handed a small black box to give to my surgeon to place the radioactive seed into when it is retrieved during surgery. I am also instructed to stay away from pregnant women and small children. Wow that’s a little scary. Will I glow in the dark I ask? The Doctor smiles and tells me no. Something tells me that she has been asked this question many times before. When I arrive back at the hospital early the next morning, one of the first people I meet while being prepped for surgery is the Anesthesiologist. I am quick to tell him how very sick I was the last time I had anesthesia. He explains to me that he has a “Whole bag of tricks” to use to prevent that from happening again. Including a patch used for motion sickness placed behind my ear. I am greatly relieved. Before I know it I am being wheeled out of pre-op, down a long corridor, into an elevator, down another long corridor and into the operating room.

I don’t remember seeing the operating room last time. I start to panic and tears well up in my eyes. “Don’t cry, Don’t cry”, I keep whispering to myself. Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned my concerns about the anesthesia. Maybe they didn’t give me enough! I then look up and see my surgeon, Dr Holly Mason, standing beside me. “Are you waiting for me?” I ask. She laughs and says yes and my anxiety melts away. I know that I am in good hands. Now maybe the meds had finally kicked in but I like to think It was Dr Mason that calmed me down. When I wake up, I am told that the lump was larger than was anticipated but they were able to remove it all and the margins were clear. I would again heals for 2 weeks and then start radiation. Just like last time, I went back to work the same week that I started radiation. Bad, Bad idea!

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