Lumpectomy At Last!

by Maggan

in Biopsy,Pathology,Physicians,Surgery

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My surgery is expected to take two and half to three hours. Dr. Guru promises that he himself will do the whole procedure. “Won’t even let a second year student help,” he says. He will make a slit in the twelve o’clock position on my right breast,  a slit under my right arm, and a slit on the left side of my left breast (where the titanium chip is implanted.)

Everything, Dr. Guru scoops out will be sent to  pathology although both my breasts have been biopsied already.  This time the pathologist will have bigger samples to work with and it will be easier to make sure that earlier biopsy results are correct.

Surgeon at Work

The windowless operating room is surprisingly small, and seems crowded and noisy. Several people in scrubs sit by a table at the far end of the room facing  monitors lined up  in front of them. I am surprised at how many persons seem to be here. What are they all going to do? Then a voice announces that a lumpectomy is about to take place on a post-menopausal female. That has to be me! (Although I never think of myself in those terms.) All of a sudden, I realize how young everyone looks behind their masks down there by the monitors.  Medical students!

Dr. Guru II, my anesthesiologist, guides me up on the table which is shaped like a cross. Electrodes are placed on my back and my chest.  A pair of foam boots without feet are put on my legs. (They will massage my calves so I don’t get blood clots.) I lie on my back, arms stretched out.  My head is covered with a shower cap, the rest of my body, except for my breasts, is covered up with sheets.

All around me: a steady hum of activity:  instruments rattle, machinery blinks, people talk. Despite the busy  atmosphere, everything  seems under control, relaxed and congenial.

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“Here is your glass of vine for today,”  says Dr. Guru II, a syringe in one hand, as she grabs the tube I am attached to with the other.

“Oh, you really read that crap people put in your pre-op questionnaires?” I remember thinking, but I suspect I am out before I give her my flippant response.

When I wake up I am back in a chair in the same area of pre-op area where my gurney used to be.  I have no idea how I got here. Did they really lift me off the table and put me in this chair?

I don’t feel the slightest pain, nor drowsiness or grogginess. Last time I had anesthesia I was told over and over again that I had a boy and a girl. Still I kept asking: What did I have?  I remember not being able to lift my limbs. Even my eye lids were too heavy to open as if they had been glued shut.  Back then my whole body felt as if it had been filled with lead. Not this time.

“We have different drugs now,” the nurse tells me. “They are much better than before.”

I feel completely free from nausea and clear headed. Actually, I feel light as a feather, perhaps my imagined weightlessness is from the idea that my tumor is now out. I am cancer free.

Then I remember the blue ink that was supposed to stain my lymph nodes (sentinel node biopsy.)  Did Dr. Guru find cancer cells in any of them or what?

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