Lumpectomy 101

So, it’s out.  My cancer is “unofficially” gone!  I should get a call from Dr. Sweatman’s office before my next appointment to give us a full surgical report with details.  But as far as I’m concerned, it’s outta here!  Surgery wasn’t bad at all, I’ll admit.  Mel is required to be with me for the 24 hours following surgery “just in case,” so I’m trying to milk that a bit.  (He doesn’t read my blog, so I’m good.)  I’ll get up and, “ooh” and “ahh” a bit here and there to get a bit of sympathy from him.  I tell you, it’s like pulling teeth.   He’s been complaining more than I have.  You would have thought he has had surgery.  Sympathy pains, he says.  He keeps complaining about a “stress ball” in his shoulder.

I don’t think we have ever spent an entire consecutive 24 hours together, so this should be interesting.

Warning:  Details below.  If you don’t care to read all about the “wonderful details” just skip…

After arriving at the hospital yesterday around lunch time (no food or fluids after midnight) and changing into my precious purple gown and socks (Sorry mom, they made me take off the cupcakes socks you bought me for surgery), I waited for each and everyone of my teams to meet me, greet me and explain to me exactly what was going on.

Mel will never be allowed to accompany me for any other procedure in the future.  Ever.  As I was getting my first IV, that blew, he was making the most obnoxious faces and joked with the nurse causing me and my nurse to laugh.  Laughing.  AS a monster needle was being woven into (and apparently out of) my vein.  And on a side note, I’ve never had trouble giving blood or getting IVs.  Interestingly, the nurse explained that this was yet another side effect of my chemo-“hard to catch” veins. After my second IV was placed successfully, I was given a shot of Heparin in my abdomen.  Why couldn’t that have gone into A) the IV that was just placed or B) my port.  Take your pick.

What I’ve been dreading most was up next.  (I’m giving the nitty gritty here because I had the sweetest email from someone who is just beginning her cancer battle.  She mentioned that she loves reading about my experiences.  So, for most of you this may be TMI.  I just want to put it out there for anyone who may be interested-and for Mel and the off chance that he’ll actually read my blog for once. A few sympathy points.  No?)

Mel was asked to step out of the room and two men walked in.  Yes, two young men. Exactly who I wanted my “nipple injections” from.  In all fairness, they were very professional, respectful and quite funny.  Probably not until I made a complete fool of myself joking and giggling and talking a bit too much, too quickly.  I’m totally blaming it on my nerves.  My first joke was about the Emla cream that I had stacked on my breast.  It’s a numbing cream I used about an hour prior to arrival.  Mel and I were driving through Columbia and he pulled over into a parking spot for me to lather it on. (Not even a remote, hidden spot.  It was across from the Bank of America corporate building on one of the busiest streets in our State Capitol.)  He’s so gentlemanly like that.  I used the entire tube, so I’m sure the “injection guys” got a kick out of that, a mile high dollop of Emla.  After they wiped it off and five injections later, the “site” had to be massaged.

Word of advice:  if you are one that is a bit modest, do not get breast cancer.

The injections weren’t bad at all.  My injection guys were nice enough to inject two at once.  One guy on each side.  So, really I had only three sticks. I did have a bit of burning from the “dye” or whatever was in them as it was going in, but nothing too terribly uncomfortable.  The thought of it was far worse than the actual process.   The dye helped Dr. Sweatman see the lymph nodes and tissue he was removing.

After a stroll down to the OR and a bit of happy juice and gas, I only remember waking up to Mel staring at me again and cracking jokes.

Nitty Gritty over.  Begin reading here…

After a couple of hours in recovery, we were all set.  I have a bandage on and will keep it on for 48 hours.  Steri-strips will wear off after a while and I see Dr. Sweatman in 8 days.  I have an appointment with Dr. Butler, my oncologist, in mid-February and will begin the radiation process.

After we left the hospital, I was craving French onion soup, specifically from the Gourmet Shop, my favorite.  But it was after lunchtime and the Gourmet Shop was closed.  Bummer.  So, we headed to Panera.  French onion soup isn’t something that is generally “car friendly” so we decided to go in for a “quick” dinner.  “Surely, I’ll not see anyone” in my post surgery haze.  I even went in bald, my first public outing with my blonde fuzz going on.  Not 10 minutes later, two young cutie college girls bebopped over to our table.  Whose parents and older siblings I’ve known forever from my hometown.  I’m sure I scared them.  They were so sweet and polite enough to pretend not to notice.

Mel and I even stopped by the Dairy Queen for a blizzard before returning home.  Like chemo, surgery does nothing to my appetite!  When we got home, I took my happy pill and dozed off.  Today, I’m a bit sore, but haven’t even taken anything for pain, so it’s truly not bad all.  Shhh, don’t tell Mel, but I even did laundry this morning.

So, there you have it.  Lump is G.O.N.E.  Just like that!  Cheers!  Bring on the radiation.  I’m ready!

Photo of my fuzz-hawk on the way to Columbia!


Jennifer  on January 19th, 2012

Congratulations to you…and your nurse

Carrie  on January 19th, 2012

You are amazing! I am so happy for you that you are CANCER FREE!!!!!!! Now, the injections in the nipples, yeah ummm, I probably would have asked for 2 tubes of the numbing cream, one for each breast! Enjoy your 24 hours…in addition to the oooo and ahhhs, when you get up do it really slowly bracing yourself for support 😛 I am so glad you are doing well and not in a lot of pain! YAY and hugs

Betsy  on January 19th, 2012

Yay! Glad it was an easy out! Maybe you should sneak in one more online shopping spree during your “post surgery haze.” 😉

Elizabeth  on January 19th, 2012

Yay! So happy for you, Kerri! It’s over! Let the celebration begin!

Love to you from my family!

Sissy - aka Sherrill  on January 19th, 2012

WOW – can’t believe how much hair is growing! Hope it come back blonde & curly – Like ME!!!! haha

Pam  on January 19th, 2012

You are definitely an amazing women and a source of encouragement for others.

Enjoy your 24 hours and definitely “milk” it for all that it is worth… deserve it.

Let the celebrating begin!

Judy Brown  on January 19th, 2012

Only one more hurdle, the radiation, but you have weathered the worst with so much grace and determination, this will be just another inconvenience for you. You mentioned that some might not want to read this blog because it might be TMI; Kerri, you are so talented, you could be writing about the background of the ABCs and I would be spellbound. I meant it when I offered to be a driver to go to radiation with you any time you need me. You know how to get in touch with me, so just say the word! Love you, girl. Keep on giving all of us lessons in how to make it through the tough times in our lives.

Julie Cole  on January 19th, 2012

So happy to see this update! I have been keeping you all in my prayers. JP does the same kind of stuff as Mel – the more uncomfortable the situation, the funnier he seems to get, so I can appreciate the love/hate experience you have with it. I so appreciate your honesty. It really is moving and inspiring.

cici  on January 19th, 2012

Awww Kerri, I am so glad the worst part is behind you now.
Love your fuzz hawk!!!… You always make me smile, even in the midst of your pain.
Big hug for you, big kick for Mel. 😉

Jean Mixon  on January 19th, 2012

So glad the surgery is behind you. Will keep on praying for you during the radiation treatments. Good to see the hair growing back.

amy  on January 19th, 2012

Yay Kerri!!! You are one of the most amazing people I have ever met. Cant wait to celebrate with you and the fam!

So much love,

P.S.- Your “fuzz hawk” still has Mel’s beat. 😉

Nonnie  on January 20th, 2012

I love you-so proud of you! Mom

Kim  on January 29th, 2012

Glad surgery is over and WOO HOO on negative nodes! I’m envious of your hair growth! My last chemo was on Dec 16 and I have no where near that much yet. Your blog rocks.