Breast surgery - third time not a charm

Saturday 8 February, the third date for my breast surgery (operation 1 was postponed as they hadn't read my mammogram report properly and I needed another biopsy and operation 2 was cancelled as the surgeon went on long term sick leave).

I had my pre op assessment on 19 December however even that didn't go smoothly.  I was told I could go to pre op as a walk in as I already had a scan at the hospital that day and rather than take more time off work, I could just turn up after my scan.  Unfortunately they forgot that it was the lead up to Christmas and it was incredibly busy so I had to do an inordinate amount of talking to convince them to let me have my pre op then and there.  As with my previous pre op, they asked me if I was allergic to anything and I mentioned that I might have malignant hyperthermia as my dad had it and it's hereditary.  (Malignant hyperthermia is an inherited disorder of the skeletal muscle in which patients develop a potentially fatal reaction to certain commonly used anaesthetic drugs.)  Once again they nurse noted this in my file and said I needed to let the anaesthetist know on the day.  

Saturday morning, 0730, I check in at the day surgery unit at Guy's Hospital.  Very quickly I'm called through so they can start to consent me for surgery.  My blood pressure and temperature are fine.  The anaesthetist comes and has a chat with him.  I let him know about the malignant hyperthermia and mention that last time it was fine, they just used a different anaesthetic.  He seemed ok with this and continued consenting the other day patients.  The surgeon came and discussed the surgery.  I knew I was going to have a drain this time, however I thought it would only be for a day or two but the surgeon mentioned it could be for a week to ten days.  She also mentioned I may well be kept in overnight for observation whereas Mr Kothari had been pretty sure I'd be able to go home if I had someone to take me home and stay with me.  No matter - those details didn't affect the surgery.

I was then asked to gown up and two surgeons came in to draw on me with a marker pen, indicating what they would need to do in surgery, pulling faces and nodding to each other.  Everything was seemingly going to plan.  

Initially I was informed that my surgery probably wouldn't be until the afternoon as there were two people before me however I was then bumped to second on the list due to the risk of malignant hyperthermia.

10:00, I was taken through to the pre op waiting room.  Thankfully as it was a Saturday and it was very quiet, Minna was able to sit with me and keep me company.  Then the two surgeons walked in.  Surgery was cancelled.  It was too high risk to do on a Saturday when there was only a skeleton staff on due to my potential predisposition to malignant hyperthermia.  I was stunned, shocked and then tearful.  

When I explained that this was the third time my surgery had been cancelled the surgeons were surprised - clearly they hadn't read my full notes.  I was so worried that it might be cancelled as I'd been on antibiotics recently that I really didn't think there could be any other reason for my surgery to be cancelled.  Mentally, so much was resting on having this surgery - it feels like the bookmark at the end of the treatment journey and only once it's done will I be able to revert to living with cancer.

They assured me surgery would be rescheduled as soon as possible and I would have a call on Monday...  I feel like the boy who cried wolf now.  Once again I have to inform work that my operation didn't go ahead.  Once again I have to let friends know that they don't need to disrupt their lives to come and look after me.  Once again I'm living in limbo, not able to plan or make decisions as I wait for the next date and prepare for the inevitable, another cancellation. 


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