Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Emerging on the other side of breast cancer
My "second carving" is over and was a piece of cake. I showed up at 6am at Brigham and Women's hospital yesterday for my 7:30am surgery, was headed home by 11:30am and climbed into my own bed back in Ghent at 3pm. I was as calm as could be, especially after the versed and other goodies they put in that IV. The pink hospital slippers, pictured here, from my friend Kathy McSweeney Kelly cheered me up as I recovered. Much better than those boring old brown ones they gave me at the hospital!
Today I am feeling like I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and ready to get back to work - emotionally anyway! I was going to take the week off but instead am working from home taking full advantage of technology like instant messaging, conference calls, blackberry to reintegrate into my job while letting the stitches fully heal.
My surgeon, Dr. Troyan from Dana Farber Cancer Institute, said that things went as planned, she got what she needed. She'll call when the pathology results are in to scientifically confirm it was enough clear margin to move on but basically she gave me the "all clear." This was considered minor surgery so they were able to use local anesthetic plus IV sedation leaving me fog free within a few hours instead of a few days.
I summoned all of your good wishes and positive thoughts to keep me calm despite the difficulty they had in finding a viable vein to use for the IV and the strangeness of feeling aware - and actually talking to them - as they wheeled me in and out of that operating room. At some point I must have gone out because I heard them asking me if I had a nice nap and a lot more time had passed than I thought.
It feels great to be on the other side of breast cancer. Radiation and tamoxifen are next but those are simply to guard against future cancers. Today, for the first time, I feel truly able to celebrate my cancer free status without caveat. I didn't realize how heavily the second surgery was weighing me down until it was over yesterday.
David and I will be married four years on August 11th and planning a semi-local romantic adventure to celebrate. We feel very blessed, are appreciating every moment on this earth just a little bit more and finding it easier to be fully present in each and every one of them.