Lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy

Wednesday 3 October - lumpectomy day.

As my op was scheduled for the afternoon I could eat breakfast - so long as it was before 7 am!  I made sure I was up early enough to get some food in me to try and keep hanger at bay!

First call was the needle localisation.  I was under the impression that I was getting solid wire needles to act as markers showing the surgeon where the cancer was to ensure they took out all the cancerous tissue however I was relieved to find they were floppy wires.  These were put in and then I had to have a mammogram to check they were in the right place - never a pleasant experience but particularly uncomfortable when your boobs are sore from having needles poked into them.  My boob was then taped up to keep the wires in place and I was sent to day surgery.

Thankfully I didn't have to wait long in day surgery before I was taken through to complete some paper work.  I was then sent down to nuclear medicine to have something injected into my boob near the nipple which would help the surgeons know which lymph nodes to take out.  This was probably the most disconcerting as I was taken into a tiny windowless room a bit like a cupboard and told to sit in a chair that looked alarmingly like a dentists chair.  There was a bloke and a lady in the room - the bloke stood and stared at the computer while I took my top off so the lady could inject me.  Thankfully I wasn't in the room cupboard long and then it was back to day surgery.

Back in day surgery, it was time to change into the sexy gown, paper pants and dvt socks.  Prof Douek's colleague came in to run through the op and get my consent.  The anaesthetist then came in to run through the procedure and get my consent.  As dad had malignant hyperthermia when he had a general anaesthetic, there was a chance I might too so rather than gas and muscle relaxants, they used my PICC line to put me to sleep.  The nurse then made sure my name tags were on my left wrist and leg - just in case the arrows weren't clear enough to indicate which boob is was they were operating on!


Arrows to ensure they operate on the right boob!
I was taken through to another waiting room around 1330.  I thought I'd be straight in to theatre however there were two ladies there who had been waiting since 0730 in the morning for their operations.  I prepared myself for a long wait but then the anaesthetist came a got me to take me through to the theatre.  The nurse was amazing, sensed my unease and made sure I was settled and then before I knew it, I was waking up in recovery.  No complications and no adverse reactions to the general anaesthetic.  At 1730 I was taken back in to the waiting room and was allowed to eat.  The surgeon came by to check his handy work and was a little concerned about the swelling so admitted me overnight.  Thankfully this time I'd come prepared and had packed an overnight bag just in case.

I was taken to Florence Ward which happened to be a male urology ward which had a few side rooms that took female patients when the hospital was full!  While it was great having a "private" side ward, it was stiflingly hot.  After a fitful night's sleep I was given the good news that I could go home at 1000 - discharged and out the door before noon - miracles do happen!

I find out whether they got everything out or if I'll need another operation/mastectomy on Monday 15 October.  Fingers crossed they got it all, I really want to just crack on with the healing process and then start radiotherapy.
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