Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The assimilation has begun: I'm officially a cyborg

So yesterday I had a port inserted in my jugular vein--it's a little plasticy thing that they will use to pump the toxic chemicals into me that will kill the cancer cells. It helps protect my veins, and it will also take place of regular IVs for all the various blood draws and tests. I still get stuck with needles, but I have numbing cream and my one good vein won't get trashed.

The night before, I made a will. The first time I've ever done that. It was a little sobering, but necessary. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it, right? So since I made it, I won't need it!

We got there at 6:30am to check in, and then they took me back to put me in a gown, get my vitals, and start my IV of tylenol and anti-nausea drugs. Then Michael got to come sit with me for about 45 minutes before it was my turn in the OR. Mary the breast cancer nurse navigator came by and gave me a couple hats for when my hair falls out. She's a sweetheart and obviously loves her job. My surgeon, Dr. Eaker, came by to say hello and go over a couple things. I also met the anesthesiologist and the other nurse who would be in attendance. All of them, including the nurse who was prepping me, asked me to state in my own words what I was getting done that day.

Finally it was go time. Michael gave me a good luck kiss and went to wait in the waiting room, and I was wheeled down the hall into the OR. They had me shift over to the operating table and finished their prep, which included reading out loud what we were doing one more time (they are really careful about not performing the wrong surgery!) and getting my agreement. That is the last thing I remember. I was dreaming (I don't remember what and it wasn't very clear), and then I heard someone telling me I was all done. Really weird. I don't remember counting backward or falling asleep or anything.

It took me a few minutes to wake up fully, and my darling Michael was there getting instructions from the nurses. I don't remember anything they said, but thankfully he does. He said the doctor said it all went perfectly, so that's a relief. I'm not allowed to lift anything heavy or reach for anything with my right arm. Complying with this will not be a problem because every time I move my right arm, it hurts.

I slept for most of yesterday and much of this morning. When I'm awake, I'm in pain. The whole area they worked on is sore and bruised. Every time I change position, it hurts, although then everything settles down and I'm OK as long as I sit still. The pain meds do help but don't take it all away. I had to cancel lunch with two old friends today and the makeup class tonight--there's just no way. I'll have to reschedule for later this month...maybe next week. I'm sure this will start feeling better in a couple days. It doesn't look infected or anything.

Tomorrow morning, chemo. I have to drink almost a quart of fluid today to prepare and get up ridiculously early to get the numbing stuff on before my also ridiculously early appointment. And then it's go time. I hear the first round or two isn't too bad, so I probably have a couple weeks before I start hating life.

On a side note, having cancer and needing all these tests has afforded me the opportunity to get a check on my general health. My heart and lungs are in fantastic shape and all my labs have come back within normal ranges. A couple nurses thought it remarkable I've had no other surgeries (other than wisdom teeth extraction) to date. So, other than the cancer I'm actually quite healthy. Good to know!


  1. It is good that you are in great health otherwise. Glad the port insertion went well and I hope it stops hurting soon. Good luck tomorrow!

  2. You are doing great love! So proud of you for handling biz and cracking wise with me! I look forward to all the things we will do to help put this in the past and I'm excited for you that it gets started now so it can get done sooner rather than later! Squeeze Michael for me and tell him he is my hero right now and I'm stoked for your progress and know you will rock an outcome! Tomorrow will come soon enough so smile and know you are doing what you need to today! <3 <3 <3 xoxo

    1. Thank you, my sweet friend! You and Dana have been amazing.