I suppose two cuts above might be more accurate, just above my right collarbone.
Wednesday night we headed back to the tri-state area, once again on a delayed flight. Jet-setting Kai was wonderful and slept from take-off to landing for a third flight in a row. I am so thrilled that she has travelled so well up to this point. This back and forth business would be infinitely more difficult if she was a maniac on airplanes. Hopefully our good luck with Kai flying stays with us.
Yesterday I was on the OR schedule for late afternoon. I began fasting, including no water, at midnight the night before. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty crummy by the time I walked into the operating room around 4:30 pm. As the nurse started my saline IV drip, I commented that I was pretty excited about it because I thought it might help with my dehydration.
I really wasn’t upset in this picture, I was just being overly dramatic for the camera.
It was my first time in an operating room and I was quite impressed by the whole experience. I have to say that everything at Sloan-Kettering has been top notch, so it is no surprise that I had a great experience, all things considered.
I started off in a pre-surgical prep area where they had me change into a gown, took my vital signs, and autographed the biopsy site. When the operating room was ready for me, a nurse walked me down the hall to the room. It was pretty odd walking into the operating room, you don’t see it happen that way on TV.
I went in and met everyone who would be working on me; no less than seven people between the doctors, nurses, and pathologist. As we did introductions, they asked me to climb onto the table where they fitted leg massagers onto my lower legs and covered me with a heated inflatable blanket. With all of that getup in place, they pulled out a strap and began to restrain me. I’ll admit, that part was a bit strange, but part of the protocol I suppose.
I asked not to be sedated, but they insisted on keeping the anesthesiologist around for just in case. I was happy about that later on, but going into this I figured that if I could have a baby without an epidural this should be a piece of cake with a little lidocaine.
After they prepped the site and got to work, I was thinking that it wasn’t so bad. I could feel a lot of pressure, some pinching, stinging and whatnot, but not too bad. I felt encouraged when I heard the doctor passing off a sample to the pathologist. After some discussion, they decided to take one more sample before stitching me back up. By that point I could feel the stitching a bit more than I might like, but I decided to sit tight since it was almost over.
Or so I thought.
A few minutes later the pathologist reported that the samples were benign. Good, no?
No. Undeterred, the doctor decided to open me back up, dig a bit deeper, and go for more. By then, I wasn’t sure how much more digging I could handle. I was having trouble staying still when I felt the zaps of the incision being cauterized. I asked for some sedation. I kind of felt like I was wimping out, but at the same time just didn’t care anymore.
Finally, after about two hours in the OR, they decided that sample number three was good and stitched me up for good. As we expected, the preliminary diagnosis is Hodgkin’s lymphoma, we are just waiting to find out what variety of Hodgkin’s it is.
In some twisted way, it was a successful trip. Now we’re back to the waiting game until Tuesday when we meet with the oncologist.
It was a really strange feeling when the surgeon told me what I had assumed from the get go. Kind of surreal. I was expecting it, so it wasn’t a devastating blow or anything, but it still doesn’t quite feel real. This isn’t something that happens to me, or even anyone I know for that matter. It is something that happens to a friend of a friend or someone with a vast degree of separation from me and my life. So far, I feel like I’m dealing with it pretty well, but I hope that isn’t just because it hasn’t fully registered yet. I guess only time will tell.