Thursday, January 20, 2011

Surgery Plan

We have a plan!! I'll be going in for a lumpectomy on Monday, January 31st so I only have to wait a little more than a week. Thank goodness.

The RN seemed pleased with the impact chemo had on the tumor. She said that the tumor looks like it has a hole in it on the mammogram which could mean that it is dying from the inside. And, that may be why it hasn't shrunk much. Unfortunately there is no way to really know what is going on until after surgery. The two satellite nodules that the first MRI identified are still there. One in front of the tumor and one behind it. Their location is good because they are all in a row so not as much tissue will have to be removed. Yay! The doctor explained that they'll have to remove a significant amount of tissue, but that it is in a part of the breast that fills in well so hopefully after a year I'll be satisfied. If not, he told me we can address it then... um, I don't think so, I've had enough!!

They will be removing the sentinel node (or nodes in some cases). Basically that is the first lymph node from the breast and the first place the cancer would spread. They'll identify it using dye and something radioactive using a Geiger counter. Fancy stuff!! The node will be biopsied while surgery is being performed. Hopefully they won't find any cancer cells so no more nodes will have to be removed. I am confident that it will be clear because I had a biopsy of a lymph node under my arm before chemo that came back clear. I know it is possible since the biopsy was on a small section of tissue, but the odds are in my favor in my own opinion.

Assuming I don't have to have lymph nodes removed, I won't have to stay overnight in the hospital. I was told to expect to be out of work for two weeks, but since I have a desk job I may be able to return earlier. I can't see how I'd have to be out longer than a week. I don't need my left breast to use a computer or talk on the phone, right?? Seriously, two weeks?? I don't think my family could handle me being home for two weeks. The biggest problem with returning may be getting my laptop from my car to my office and I'm sure I can get someone to do that for me if it really is an issue.

There were two things I really didn't like about today. First, I had to have another MRI with an IV. It is really not a big deal, but I've had 4 MRIs in 5 months!! The hospital has more pictures of me from this period of time than I do of my kids!! And, it extended my day longer than I anticipated. I hate to be off of my internal schedule. Second, they told me that I'll have to have an air tube down my throat during surgery. I know I won't be conscious and I probably wouldn't have known about it if they didn't tell me... but, now I know and it gives me the creeps! The silver lining is that I didn't have time to anticipate the MRI and now I know I won't snore during surgery... it is the simple things that I worry about!

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