I had my oophorectomy yesterday. No big deal. I'm a surgery pro. COVID test, pre-admission forms, bloodwork, fasting, showering with Hibiclens, arrive two hours prior... Yeah, yeah, I know the drill.
As usual, the worst part was getting my IV placed. Chemotherapy toughened my veins, so it always takes at least 3 tries and several minutes of digging around. Interestingly, the person who finally did it was the anesthesiologist.
The surgery went smoothly. The robot did an excellent job. They were able to reuse my DIEP scars and only added a half-inch scar to the left of my faux belly button.
Jeff and the girls came to pick me up at 5pm with a veggie burger in the car. (I hadn't eaten in 30 hours.) Unfortunately, the hospital wouldn't discharge me until I peed, and I was dehydrated from the bowel prep. Jeff and the girls sat in the car for two hours and finally gave up. I sat around getting IV fluids and drinking water and Powerade and soda and tea for hours. Recovery II closed, so they had to send me back to Recovery I. Recovery I was scheduled to close at 9:30pm, so at 9:15, they gave me a "last chance" before I had to be admitted with a catheter. No pressure!
Thankfully, I was able to do it and received a standing ovation from the wonderful nursing staff. It's the small victories that matter.
I'm happy to be back home, bossing Jeff around and enjoying the lovely flowers that my parents sent. I should be back to normal in a couple weeks.
In addition to finishing my last surgery, this is also my 100th post! I always heard people refer to cancer as a "journey" and now I understand why. Treatment takes a hell of a long time.
Let's take a look back at my journey in numbers:
7 doctors on my medical team (not including second opinions) plus countless nurses, a lymphedema specialist, and a nutritionist
16 chemotherapy infusions over a period of 20 weeks
4 Neulasta injections
33 radiation treatments
10 proton therapy treatments
1 ER visit
16 Lupron injections
450 doses of Letrozole (and counting)
6 surgeries (port placement, bronchoscopy, nipple delay, unilateral mastectomy and port removal, DIEP flap reconstruction surgery and unilateral lift, oophorectomy)
12+ failed IVs
2 surgery postponements
1 global pandemic
3 mammograms, 1 PET scan, 4 CT scans, 3 MRI scans, 2 bone density scans, and a partridge in a pear tree
If you're not a numbers person, here's my journey in pictures:
I started this blog as a way to update friends and family, so I didn't have to repeat myself or look into the eyes of my loved ones when I said the words, "suspicious lymph nodes." It's also been therapeutic for me to put everything down in writing. Cancer is not an easy thing to make sense of.
Ideally, I would love to share this blog with other women who have been diagnosed, but I'm not great at self-promotion. I'd be content if this blog made one person's cancer journey a little less frightening and more lighthearted. As Gilda Radner said, "Cancer is probably the unfunniest thing in the world, but [...] even cancer couldn't stop me from seeing the humor in what I went through."
Jeez, the hydrocodone is making me all emotional. Time for a nap.