Wednesday 11 July 2012

Goodbye and good riddance!

Yesterday, I finally saw the back of my tumour – at least, what was left of it!

It was an early start at the hospital but it was good to know that I was second in theatre and so wouldn’t be kept hanging around. By 8.30am, I had already seen the anaesthetist, the surgical team, signed my consent form and had things written and drawn on me in felt-tip pen. (See pic. below)
I then got sent for an ultrasound scan and a ‘localisation wire’. I had thought that this would be like the marker that had been inserted previously but, no, it really was a piece of wire.  A long piece inserted in my chest and left dangling in a 6 inch coil in front of my tit. I have no idea why it had to be so long and hang externally but there you go ...
They also had a little scribble on me in felt-tip pen and sent me for a mammogram. Now, mammograms aren’t that comfortable at the best of times but imagine having one with a piece of blood-covered wire sticking out your chest. It was an experience.
In the thick of all this, was Mr P. He watched as they inserted the wire, vociferously corrected them when they called him my ‘husband’(!) and then – bizarrely – helped the mammogram operator work the machine. He came away very pleased with himself.
By the time I got back to the ward and got my gown on, they had called me to theatre. This was the point when I started to shake.
Mr P. came down with me and wanted to stay as they put me to sleep but this wasn’t allowed. So as I lay on the trolley, I could feel my legs trembling. The anaesthetist was very nice though and after I explained (and he saw) how damaged my veins have been from the chemotherapy he inserted a small children’s cannula instead of the usual size. And that’s one of the last things I remember ...  
About 2.5 hours later, I woke up in recovery. I lay there for about an hour and then got wheeled back up to the ward where Mr P. and my lunch were waiting for me. I have never been so grateful for a ham sandwich and a cup of tea! In fact, I think I knocked back about four cups before being escorted, with wobbly anaesthetic legs, to the bathroom.
At this point, I still wasn’t sure the extent of the surgery. I knew that they were doing a biopsy of my lymph node but I had no idea if anything had been found and if they had taken more than one node. However, the ward nurses were able to confirm that it was good news: the lymph node tested contained no cancer. Either it had never spread or the chemo had seen it off.
This was such good news that Mr P. and I did get a bit emotional. Obviously, I can’t be sure that I’m out of the woods until next Friday (20th) when I’ll hear whether the ‘margins’ around the tissue taken were clear, but we’re remaining hopeful.
I have to say, that all the medical staff at the ‘Marsden were lovely. It’s obviously a really well-resourced hospital which I know isn’t the case for all NHS facilities. I knew I was in good hands.
And, as always, I’m really grateful to Mr P. for supporting me at every stage.  Even though he does get up to ridiculous mischief – like putting surgical socks on his head – it really does help to lighten the mood.
So for now, I’m back at his house where he’s taking very good care of me.  My chest is obviously very sore and swollen but not nearly as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. I’ve got exercises to do too, which I have started, and a substantial supply of painkillers.
It’s really just a case of resting and being patient. I’ll know the full picture soon enough, but it’s looking positive.
Not entirely sure why this was necessary ... ?!


  1. I guess they needed to know that was your shoulder, so they didn't hack into the wrong prt of you??
    So glad it's all going well. Lots of lovexxxxx

  2. That's great news Kate, fingers crossed everything is looking positive.
    Ro xxxxxxxxxxxxx