Saturday, 6 April 2013

Blue Boob

We had a gorgeous time in Aberdovey, this is a view from our bedroom window and it was a lovely tonic for us all.  It was most definitely the right decision for my well being.

Then back to reality.  Into Neath Port Talbot Hospital on Thursday the 4th April at 7:30am.  It's an amazing place, reminded me of a five star hotel with a section carved out for shops, galleries and eateries.  A wide open space three stories high.  Amazing.

The nurses were pretty amazing too.  I was talked to firstly by a lymphoedema care nurse (Sue), who discussed the things I need to be aware of.  As I'll have fewer lymph nodes to fight infection I will need to take care of any damage to my right arm immediately; from something as insignificant as a paper cut or insect bite to anything more serious. From now on I always need to make sure I get blood samples and blood pressure taken only from the left arm.  Also if I'm considering flying I need to order a compression sleeve from Jill (my breast cancer care nurse).  Keeping my skin supple by moisturising is a good idea too. Sue gave me some exercises to do which so far I've been keeping up with and she measured both arms all the way up from the wrist round the circumference at 4 inch intervals. Sue told me that we all have a different number of lymph nodes, some people might only have 10 and others 40.  Funny what you remember.

I was asked lots of admin questions and repeats of those questions and many forms were ticked, scribbled on and completed. I remember speaking briefly to the surgeon and the anaesthetist.

I undressed and wore one of their hospital gowns.  Then I was walked down to the radioactive isotope area where the injection was given to me in my right mammary gland. It felt like lots of bee stings, being pushed deep in my breast. Not too painful really, more uncomfortable and probably only lasted 10 seconds or so (though felt like longer).

Then I had to wait awhile.  I think the time was about 10am.  All jewellery had to be removed and as I wasn't wearing cotton knickers I had to wear some paper ones provided. (Not sure why cotton is important, I'll have to find that out). I also had to put on some compression stockings that ran from toes to thighs. 

Again I was walked to the operation area.  I was getting emotional and I remember a nurse holding and stroking my hand and talking to me... it makes me want to cry now. She was lovely, they all were. Very gentle. I was at the point of no return.  I drifted off in a haze of morphine and other drugs.

The red squares are my biopsy areas.
Blue dye and isotope injected near the DCIS to locate path to sentinel nodes.
These nodes have been removed from my armpit and have been sent to a lab for further examination.
I awoke in a recovery ward and was wheeled back to my bed - this was about 2:30pm.  I felt OK.  I remember being very, very hot and had to lie on top of the bedding with the window wide open. I was due to go home that same day, but I later came over very nauseous.  I just didn't want to eat anything for tea and could only face sipping water. The nurses gave me an anti sickness pill at about 10pm but it had no effect and at 11pm after what had seemed like an eternity I was eventually very sick. At last - I then felt so much better. Somewhere along the line I remember being given an injection in my stomach for the prevention of DVT. 

I hardly slept... don't know what was keeping me awake as it was a very quiet ward. After a long night Him and Her Next Door came to pick me up at 10am the next morning. (Him Next Door just had to sample a breakfast in the hotel hospital, it looked so good.) 

Although I've been given post op pain relief I've not had the need to take any.  I'm really feeling fine... in trepidation a little for the mastectomy operation booked for next Thursday but still positive and at least the first hurdle is over. I should get the results of the lab analysis of the removed sentinel nodes in a week or so. I'd still like to get off this roller coaster but I have to deal with the cards I've been dealt. So be it. "Onwards and upwards" as someone who's been through the whole process said to me.


Wendé said...

You are a truly amazing woman, Lindsay. This will help others who are going through the same ordeal. It's an honest account of the procedure and is upbeat as well. I am SO proud to be your friend. See you very soon, xxxx

Chris Stovell said...

Once again, I'm struggling to find the right words, Lins, but, wow, what a woman! Here's wishing you all the very best for next week.

Rob-bear said...

Lins, you are a very courageous soul! Not only did you go through the procedure, you even wrote about it. Full marks, m'lady!

Not surprised you were feeling sick afterwards. Happens to lots of folks. Your body was just not thrilled by everything that had happened and was happening. It said, "Bloody enough, already!"

Here's hoping things go well in the coming weeks!

Blessings and Bear hugs — lots of hugs!
Bears Noting

Midlife Singlemum said...

Thinking of you and sending you good vibes. Don't think too much - just do whatever's necessary and look forward to having it all behind you. xxx

the veg artist said...

So glad you got that little holiday in - these bright days are much better! It sounds like you are being cared for by a very caring yet efficient group of people, and are well on the way into the process now - onwards and upwards sounds very good advice.

Lins' lleisio said...

Thank you all, your support is much appreciated. I read and re-read the replies quite often at the moment; they help to lift my spirits. xx

Maggie Christie said...

Courageous, yes, and this this will help those going through the same thing now and in the future (there, for the grace of God, etc). All my good wishes, as always. xx

PS: Please can I make a request for a 'subscribe by email' button? Then I won't keep missing your posts and you having to tell me all about them instead. Mxxx

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