What To Expect On Double Mastectomy Day

Guest Post: Surgery Day – Cancer, You Have Been Evicted!

This is ‘Hot Hubby’ taking over the blogging for the day.

Sam is in surgery now, and I’ve assumed the controls (insert Dr. Evil laugh here).  It seriously takes an anesthesiologist for me to get a word in. But, if you know her, you know that already.  After a week of making checklists, phone lists, schedules, more lists, checking them twice, and scheduling out the next few weeks hour by hour, I now have a bit of peace and quiet in a beautiful beige waiting room.  I played some Bob Marley in the car on the way to the hospital “Three Little Birds“. Don’t worry, ’bout a thing. Not sure if it was the valium her doc prescribed, the wind in her hair, or the music, but she was brave, calm and ready to go the whole ride up (although she fell asleep 2 times in 30 minutes, but who’s counting?) (it might have been the valium…).

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 4.05.50 PM
Don’t worry, ’bout a thing…. cause every little thing’s gonna be alright…..

The surgery itself doesn’t seem threatening even though it will be long and super painful, I’m sure. It’s the recovery that will be challenging for Sam.  She’s restless on the best of days (6am walk this morning, in fact) so I’m sure she’ll be a handful as she starts to feel better, as she’s basically been assigned to bedrest for 10-14 days – she’s not supposed to do anything except rest and recover. Not doing anything for a week would be a real first for her, I just hope she doesn’t go stircrazy in the process! The 2 weeks after will be a bit more active for her with walks, then longer walks, but she’s not supposed to drive for 3 weeks, and that’s where I see it getting a little rough (her first, then me by proximity).

Screen Shot 2017-09-10 at 8.05.13 AM
She smiled bravely throughout this whole process

Hospital check-in went great, we arrived a few minutes early thanks to the carpool lane, and our pre-op nurse seemed to approve of our surgeon choices “Oh, you have the Dream Team” – so that’s always reassuring.  Sam was carted off to surgery (about an hour late as the operating room wasn’t available) wearing her bear paw socks (for traction), graffiti on her chest (to provide detailed incision instructions to the operating team), and a fancy hairnet (just for looks, I’m sure).Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 4.05.23 PMAs I wait in this slightly comfortable, beige, impersonal waiting room with FOX news on TV, I have to say this cancer thing blows. It’s definitely changed our lives over the past 6 weeks and turned them into a whirlwind. And, we’ll have to follow a different track than we were expecting for the rest of our years, what that means I’m still not sure. Most of her post-op treatment plan depends on the pathology of ‘the thing’ that we won’t get for a few weeks after surgery, so it’s still unclear. But it’s thrown a wrench into this year for sure.

On the positive side of things (I’m always looking for the silver lining, of course) the crappy cancer has brought us closer together.  It’s one more thing we’ll have conquered as a couple (I’ll add it to a long list), one more mountain we’ll have climbed as a team. And when you’re faced with your own mortality, it makes you really look at everything going on in your life in a different light. What’s most important? What do I absolutely have to / want to do if I only have so many weeks or months left? It makes choices more clear – you do things for the right reasons.  It’s also reminded me that she’s the only one for me. We’re in tune more than ever before.Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 9.19.04 AM
Another positive: our friends. It’s occasions like this where our friends really shine – people that we haven’t been in constant touch with have come to find us. We’ve had so many offers to help with everything, from coming to visit, to driving the kids, to meals, to laundry, to cleaning the house (nobody’s offered to wash my car quite yet) – it’s really incredible that we’re surrounded by so many great, caring, loving people.  A huge and sincere THANK YOU for being there for us last week, this week and for the next next few!

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 9.19.35 AM

On the negative side: this experience has made me a bit emotional at times, especially when doctors speak with her about “chances” and “survival rates” when discussing post-op treatment options. I’ve found myself needing a tissue on more than one occasion. F*&k Cancer.

3 Hours Later
I’m still here.
Waiting room is still beige.
FOX News is still on…so I’m listening to Jack Johnson and responding to emails.
Since Sam won’t read this for a day or so, I’ll embarrass her a bit and share some meaningful and timely lyrics that made me a bit misty (I HATE YOU cancer!):

Better Together
Our dreams, and they are made out of real things
Like a shoebox of photographs
With sepia-toned loving
Love is the answer,
At least for most of the questions in my heart
Like why are we here? And where do we go?
And how come it’s so hard?
It’s not always easy and
Sometimes life can be deceiving
I’ll tell you one thing, it’s always better when we’re together

Surgery Update #1
4 hours and 20 minutes after going into surgery, the first half of the “Dream Team” popped into the beige room to let me know the first half of surgery went great – everything came out perfectly, and looked exactly as expected. Cancer, you have been evicted!

Surgery Update #2
A full 9 hours after she went into surgery, Sam’s reconstructive surgeon (Dream Team part 2) came out – everything went according to plan. No issues, difficulties or complications.  New inflatables are in, but absolutely no upper arm movement for 3 days so the blood supply can rebuild.  Small challenge, but I’m sure she’ll conquer that too.

That’s all from Hot Hubby.
Signing off to visit with the patient, and eventually drive home to go to sleep.Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 4.06.23 PM

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