The surgery itself wasn't too bad. I was a little nervous about it, but I kept telling myself that it was just a "procedure," so that it wasn't as daunting. Charlie got up with me about 4:50am so that I could eat a light breakfast, and we stayed up until about 6am so that I could drink clear liquids for as long as possible. We went back to bed but I doubt I got more than about 20 minutes of sleep. We left for the hospital around 10am, checked in a few minutes before 11am and they came and got me right at 11am on the dot. I changed into my very attractive hospital gown and booties, got my IV and the radioactive tracer injections and chatted with my mom, Charlie, and the parade of nurses and doctors who came in to check on me until a little after noon. This IV was SO much better than my first one -- I need to request a comfortable hospital bed for my future IVs, because I think that was did the trick.
The anesthesiologist warned me that they weren't going to give me anything to relax me before going into surgery which is not exactly what I wanted to hear, but it ended up being kind of neat. I joked with the anesthesia nurse on the way to the operating room and got a non-drugged up view of at least part of what goes on pre-surgery. My name and birthdate were checked several times, they helped me onto the operating table, put massage boots on my calves to keep my circulation going and prevent blood clots, and started getting my arms ready. I'm sure they could tell I was nervous, so the anesthesia nurse was really nice and talked me through everything they were doing, and the surgery resident I met earlier reassuringly patted my arm a few times. Before they knocked me out, I made sure to show everyone the "not me" Charlie wrote on my "good side," just to make sure everyone was on the same page, which got a good laugh. Once they got me hooked up to the oxygen with the sedatives I was out like a light, and woke up in the recovery room. The last thing I remember in the operating room was thanking everyone for taking such good care of me.
In the recovery room, the nurse went and got Charlie when I was awake and he helped me drink water and ginger ale. I was already starving before surgery and couldn't get the thought of a turkey club sandwich out of my head, but for some reason all they give you in recovery is Satines and graham crackers. Weird. I stayed in the recovery room for about an hour before I felt ready to get up and change into my clothes and hit the road. I was determined to walk down to the lobby, but that determination quickly waned when I got out of bed and I have a sneaking suspicion the nurses would have nothing of it. I can't tell you much about the drive back to the Goughs' house because I slept on Charlie's lap the whole ride.
I had to leave the dressing on both incisions for a full 48 hours, which meant no showering, and Nurse Julie and Nurse Mary Margaret did not allow any cheating. Now that the dressing is off, the incisions are both about 3" long and the stitches are covered by steri strips, which should fall off on their own in another week or so.
I have some numbness on the back of my arm (which is probably due to swelling in the lymph node area), some swelling and some pain/discomfort, but the biggest result of all of this is the fatigue. I didn't expect it since I didn't have general anesthesia, but I am exhausted all the time. Going back to work this week is definitely going to be a transition.
Through all of this, I have realized that I am so incredibly lucky. No, I take that back. Not lucky, blessed. As Charlie's dad pointed out, ever since the diagnosis we've gotten nothing but good news. On top of that, I have THE BEST family and friends. The outpouring of love and support has been so humbling and ovewhelming and I can't begin to find the words to express just how much the prayers and kind words and sweet gifts mean to me. Thank you.
|Shirts my sister had made for my family in NM|
|Just in case!|
|Being wheeled into the OR -- let's do this!|
|A+ service (post-surgery) ... I vaguely remember asking to be fed grapes next.|