(Sleeping. Don’t tell her I took the picture.)
Spending the night in a hospital is, well, not restful. Loretta and I both passed out at about 10:00 and woke up at the first major inspection at midnight. It was a good nap. After that it was touch and go as far as sleep. The nurses and doctors here have been fabulous. It isn’t clear how much of that has to do with friends in high places (thanks Nicki!) or if they are like that all the time – I suspect that they are like that all the time. So no complaints.
We are resting and waiting for the pharmacy to get us meds to take home with us. Once we have those, we will head home.
The surgeon and the associated cohort came through this morning and inspected their work. They think they passed. From outward appearances, I think they are right.
Loretta is doing fine physically, though exhausted. Emotionally she is back and forth, She loves to read all your comments and is trying hard to accept that it is okay that you all care for her like you do. She reads (or I read to her) every comment and I expect that she will have a lot more to say once she is home sitting on the couch with her Chromebook.
Next update we should be home.
What a day! Long and not all that exciting until about 2:15 when I got the call from on of the OR nurses that it was going to take longer because they were yanking out more than they thought they would have to. That was when it turned into a different kind of day.
Prior to that call, everything was going really well. The mapping was not a big deal (they weren’t poking my body with giant needles but Loretta seemed to be taking it okay). It showed two sentinel nodes that would be clipped out for biopsy. Then we had to wait – but really only for about an hour. Stuff started to happen around 11:30 when anesthesia showed up, the prep nurse, the surgeon… the resident and her shadow the med student, the Professor and Maryanne. Everyone. It was the resident that clued us in on the fact that there was a cancellation and we were next. At about 12 they took her away for a two hour
Then the call at 2:15. That was when they said that it was going to be all the axillary nodes and that they hadn’t started until just before 1 and they needed another 1.5 hours. (Question: when do these people eat lunch? It isn’t like they can eat at their desks while they continue to work.)
At about 4:00 the surgeon came out and verified that they had removed all the nodes and that 6 of 7 were cancerous. About 5:15 I was finally able to see Loretta in “recovery”. She knew and was not happy. Mostly she wasn’t happy because she felt like she had let people down and she was a little scared.
About 6:00 we were wheeled up to the fourth floor all the way across campus into a private room with a nurse that is happy to use her elbow on Loretta’s back which is still hurting her (not related to the cancer or operation). She is having dinner which is tasting good and behaving well. I will spend the night with her and all her new nurse/doctor friends.
Tomorrow, she gets to go home after she demonstrates that she can keep down breakfast, do things in the bathroom, and manage her pain. I expect to be taking her home mid morning. Sorry, I don’t have any more Gilligan’s Island references. Maybe I’ll be better tomorrow.
A big THANK YOU to everyone who has written comments. I read them to Loretta (and she will soon read them herself and they mean so much to both of us.
…and it was worse than we thought going in. It turns out that a bunch of nodes were positive for cancer so they came out. Positive nodes takes us down the road of chemotherapy. How much, what it is and all that is still unknown and will take some time to figure out. Then she’ll have radiation, too.
They are going to keep her in the hospital for the night. I should be able to get her home tomorrow morning.
I’ll post again when there is more information.
The surgeon was surprised – again – by what she found. None of this has gone like anyone expected. Loretta deserves a break. She gets strength from all of you so your continued support is very much appreciated.
They decided to take out more nodes. No idea what that means yet. She is expected to be done around 4pm.
A “case” was canceled so we moved up a slot. Loretta is in surgery now.
The surgeon came in to talk to us and let us know that it is very unlikely that she would be sending nodes out for testing during the surgery. This is good news and a little disappointing at the same time. It is good news in that they are pretty sure that they are not going to find anything that looks like more cancer. Disappointing because now we won’t know if the nodes are positive until Tuesday next week. I’ll take the good news any day. Obviously, we will know more after they* are done but it looks like they are planning on removing two nodes.
The anesthesiologist gave Loretta a little “cocktail” just before taking her back to the OR. When I say a little, I mean less than 1 CC of whatever the narcotic was. The syringe had at least 20 CC in it so she could have gotten all of it if she needed it. No. Loretta is truly a “cheap date”. “Oh, I can feel that!”, she said. They didn’t need to do any more. Loretta was offering to do a table dance. (I did not make that up!) They declined the offer but appreciated the sentiment.
*”They” refers to the crowd of people that show up whenever one specialty arrives to do something. This is a teaching facility so there is always at least one person shadowing each specialist. For example, the surgeon has her resident (who we met a SCCA for the initial consultations) and she has a med student. So there are three of them. Everyone has been really good.