Tomorrow, tomorrow, I’m having surgery tomorrow.
Two weeks and six days ago I found out I have an interloper trying to take over my body. Tomorrow – three weeks after finding this jerk – it will be removed. I may not officially know for seven to ten business days if it’s completely gone. Dr. B. will take out the mass, but depending on the results of the sentinel node biopsy, which could take seven to ten business days to receive, he may have to go back in.
I’ll arrive at 11:45 am for prep. They’ll inject blue dye and nucleotide tracers. I’m going to be a radioactive Smurf! Dr. B. will use a Geiger counter (for real) to follow those tracers and find the sentinel lymph node. He’ll take a piece of that first, because if it’s not cancerous, he doesn’t want to take the chance of spreading the interloper.
I appreciate that.
Today we remembered that our niece is an anesthesiologist. Funny what you forget. We called her and, like my sister-in-law, she calmed my fears. It was cool to hear her experience, listen to her clinical-speak. I’ve known her as warm, kind, loving, a great mother, a funny soul, a smart cookie. Today I met another part of her, and while I’m not thrilled for the reason why, I’m grateful for the added dimension.
My surgery is at two pm. It shouldn’t take too long. I’m still planning on Managed Anesthesia Care (MAC), or Twilight, as it’s colloquially known, even more so after talking with my niece. That’s for two reasons: one is because it’s not as aggressive, and two is because recovery is supposed to be faster, and I am all about faster recovery. I don’t want to spend any more time on this. I don’t want to spend any more thoughts on this.
I know that’s unrealistic. No matter what happens, whether tomorrow excises the whole thing or I have to have a second surgery as well as radiation, this will impact the rest of my life. Not only will I be taking a pill every day for five years, I’ll have to have more mammograms. We know how my first turned out, so I might be a little reluctant. (I’ll do it, though.)
The biggest way this will impact my life is as an extension of the consequences I’m already experiencing. I am now a person who had (yes, I’m saying “had,” because very soon that will be the accurate tense) cancer. The other health issues that surfaced beginning July 22 were things I could put my finger on. I could change my diet and see an immediate effect. And while I’ve read lots of advice on getting rid of this jerk through diet and supplements alone, there is so much conflicting and confusing information out there that I am not going to take that chance. No matter what, the dietary changes I’d begun making before any of this drama are going to help.
Then there’s the bonus complication of COVID. We’ve been home since Friday morning after my test. No three mile walks to burn off the energy. And my energy is manic. I couldn’t focus on a single thing yesterday. I made lists. I made plans. What I ended up making was soup. We watched a movie. Captain Marvel. We didn’t plan to watch a movie about a woman who has something in her she can’t control, until she does.
As I get ready to make dinner tonight – pork tenderloin, corn on the cob, and crostini with roasted tomato and melted asiago and fresh basil from my garden – I’m trying not to spin again. I have to take a shower tonight with special soap and take another one tomorrow with more special soap. I can’t eat after midnight. I can’t drink after midnight. I have four hours to get it all in. What movie will we watch tonight? Another superhero. Another strong being who conquers fears and does what’s right. We’re going to be watching a lot of those movies.
I am a strong being. Throughout all of this I haven’t felt like my body’s betrayed me. I have felt at times like I’ve betrayed my body. I’m fixing that, now. It’s never too late to be better.
Above all, I am grateful. I had to remind myself of that gratitude yesterday. After fretting and pacing and generally freaking out I said to Jim “Can you imagine what I’d be like if I were having a mastectomy? If I were getting it cut off?” He’s been “on call” this weekend. Staying in his office until I need him. I’ve interrupted him often for hugs and random bursts. He’s been my Saint Jim: Whatever you need, honey. Today the neighbors came around the wall of green between our backyards and presented me with homemade banana bread, telling me they’ll be thinking of me and wishing the best for me tomorrow. I cried. She cried. She told me she was out of normal sugar, so she ended up using the iridescent sugar she sprinkles on cookies. I said “You gave me sparkly banana bread!” Jim’s going to carry that bread with him tomorrow and hold onto it so it can be the first thing I eat post-surgery. We’ve had her banana bread before, and if holding onto it all day without a bite doesn’t qualify him for sainthood, well then, simply being married to me should do it.
I am grateful. We found this tiny jerk early. We’re getting rid of him before he has a chance to grow into a big jerk. Other beings have tried to control me and it didn’t work out so well for them. I don’t do well with anything that wants to take over my body.
I’m getting into fight mode. I’m going to make a delicious dinner and watch superheroes and wash my body with the special soap. I’ll fall asleep in loose-fitting clothes on clean sheets, and tomorrow I’ll get up, wash my body with the special soap, and head to the hospital in loose-fitting clothes. And tomorrow night, at this time, I’ll know that the superhero is me.