Saturday, August 15, 2009


Yesterday was a very hard awful day. A dear friend C was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She has had other cancers as well. So we wonder how many times can she beat cancer. Yesterday she had surgery, a lumpectomy. Her cousin and I were there with her all day. I will not keep you in suspense, she is going to be fine. But the day was hard for her and for us.

I was at the hospital by 7:15. I had to be there early because I own magic earrings. I have earrings that hold up airplanes and get loved ones through surgery, illnesses, whatever. I am not real superstitious, but I am with these earrings. I have to wear them for scary events. They got me through a flight over the ocean, so they are really magic. (for those that don't know me, I hate flying, I went ten years without getting on a plane, I am the Amtrak queen)

C was to have surgery at 9:00. Before that could happen procedures had to be done. First a wire, yes a wire, was placed in her breast to pinpoint the cancer. That took some time. They called for a wheel chair to take her back to pre op. And we waited and waited some more. It turns out there were no wheelchairs available. The hospital was packed with surgery patients, ER was over flowing, and just run of the mill wheelchair usage was up. Finally the volunteer arrived with a wheel chair. We got back to pre op at 9:00. We had missed the window.

The nurses started getting her ready for surgery, questions asked, IVs started, the breast is marked with magic marker to be sure the correct one is operated on. They put her in another gown. The one she is wearing has traveled through the medical building and the hospital. It can't go into the operating room. And I wait in the waiting room, her cousin S is with her. After over an hour S comes out and says for me go in and have some time with her. And we wait.

The surgeon came by and talked to her, told C again exactly what she would be doing. She also marked the breast with magic marker. You know the saying, measure twice, cut once. Then the anesthesiologist doctor and his anesthesiologist nurse came by. More detailed questions and information about everything he would be doing. Kaiser is very efficient, and has excellent bedside manner.

Then at 11:00 suddenly activity, one of the OR nurses came in unlocked the wheels of the gurney and wheeled her off. I walked with her and then kissed her goodbye.

Back to the waiting room. We waited and waited and waited. We had been told 2 hours and it took 2 hours. A very long 2 hours. The surgeon came out and told us she was fine and that they are pretty sure they got it all. The initial tests say nothing lurking outside the tumor area and the sentinel node is clear.

But more waiting. She is in recovery, they will come get us when she wakes up and is clear headed. We wait 2 more hours. Then we both can go in. Once I see her, the relief is overwhelming. We tell her the good news, she is relieved.

The moral of this story is ladies get your mammograms on a regular basis. C's tumor was found when it was small and very early stages. Get in there annually and be safe.

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