Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The result

I had a rather uncomfortable and restless night after the operation. I had two wound drains coming out of my left side and an IV stuck into my left hand. As you can imagine rolling over and going to the bathroom was quite a challenge. There was also the issue of the man down the hallway who expectorated very loudly every minute or two. One thing I don't like about hospitals is that you leave your dignity at the door on the way in and pick it up on the way out. I know that I needed a lot of support in those first few days, but the indignity of being showered, dried and dressed by a male nurse was almost too much to bare! Luckily I was doped up on morphine so I didn't care as much as I usually would. Unfortunately, when returning home, I also needed the same assistance, without the morphine cocktail to numb the humiliation.

The surgeon came to see me very early on Wednesday morning, the news was a little bit good and a little bit surprising. Turns out I had the most aggressive grade (grade 3) of the most aggressive type of breast tumour you can have. He removed all 17 lymph nodes on my left side and 16 had malignant cells in them. He said he was surprised that there were so many lymph nodes involved. He was surprised - it shocked the hell out of me! It is believed that the cancer cells travel from the breast tissue through the lymph nodes before travelling to other parts of the body. Which basically means, I had one spare one. Once again, I was thankful I had the itch when I did. Since I was young and have no other medical issues - they were going to blast me with heavy chemotherapy. The next few days in hospital past in a blur of visitors, floral deliveries and vital sign checks. Friday afternoon I had a visit from the oncologist and fertility specialist. It was quite an information overload in the space of 2 hours. The next few months were going to be quite a challenge.

Saturday morning I was allowed to go home with one wound drain (affectionately called my wound gunge bag) still inserted. The weekend past quickly with the days filled with more visitors, a car accident, pain killers and wound gunge care. Monday morning saw me back at the hospital - to the IVF clinic. I had no idea where my cycle was at and no idea if my eggs could be harvested. The fertility doctor had been advised by the oncologist that he had only one cycle in order to harvest my eggs. As it turns out, that Monday was day one of my cycle. So just two short days after leaving hospital, I started IVF.

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