Thursday, March 29, 2012

From OBB to NoBB

Just a quick post op check in with everyone. So here is how yesterday played out.

Alarm was set for 7:00am but my nerves and a garbage truck woke me at 5:45am! Nice start. After some yoga, I felt oddly calm and relaxed while we prepared to head out the door. Knowing our little monkey was tucked away at her grandparents having an absolute ball and most likely eating ice cream for breakfast helped ease our worries. We then headed the 10 mins down the road to the hospital and made our way to the Day Surgery Unit. Having been there twice before, I knew the ropes and what was the come. It was so nice to see the three same nurses who had looked after me the two previous operations. They greeted me like old friends and it instantly put me at ease. They said it was great to see me but that they didnt like that they had to see me under these circustmances to which I couldnt agree with more.

Next up was changing into the highly attractive hospital outfits and a final goodbye to my old leftie friend in the mirror. Then waiting...lots of waiting. I was starving and nauseous at the same time which was a fun combination. I signed off the deeds to my boob in the name of research and had my pre consult with my surgeon. It was so nice to have someone I knew talk to me as my previous surgeon had been alittle too direct for my liking. Of course this surgery was much more straightforward and they assured me that the recovery would be much better.

Finally it was time to go in. Deep breath!! I walked in and there was a handful of green clad people running around in green masks prepping. It is always so bright in the operating suite - almost like a sports stadium at night. I of course briefed the anaesthetic nurse about my IV anxiety but she brushed my worries off. As I lay there and they fiddled and missed my vein (great start), just like the last time - the enormity of the situation hit me. As did the tears. I started crying but in that way where you are trying so hard to stop. A nurse came up to me and asked if they could do anything for me. My answer "No I will be ok but please lets start as soon as we can." I took one more glance downwards at what would no longer be there when I was awake. Oh the sacrifices we make to stay alive!

I remember having a very vivid dream about my daughter and then quite literally being pulled out of my narcosis back to reality. I was back in the recovery room and it was over. I could immediately feel the absense on my left side and that something was missing. I had truly gone from OBB to NBB. The nice thing was that I felt much better then the previous surgery which was a nice surprise. I was fussed over by my husband and the nurses which was nice and we chatted through most of the afternoon. They also made sure I was in the least amount of pain possible and didnt skimp on the painkillers!

Now I did have a special visitor towards the end of the day which touched both my husband and I. One of the breast surgeons I first met in February (we both couldnt believe our paths hadnt crossed before as I was quite well know on the breast and endochrine surgical floor!), had been taking special care of me. She always took as much time as I needed to explain everything, she called me personally as soon as she got test results and she genuinely seemed to care about me and my situation. She was originally going to do my surgery but had a last minute switch due to a course she had to attend. Well this surgeon (and we know how busy surgeons are) took time to come from her course to visit me in recovery to make sure I was okay. She also brought with her a gift she had brought back for me from the European Breast Cancer Conference in Vienna the following week. I had spoken to her about my concerns over how to eventually explain to my daughter about the whole cancer bit and she clearly remembered this. She had brought me a childrens book written by 6 women who had had breast cancer that helped children understand the situation. I was so touched as was my husband. This is definitely going above and beyond and it made us feel so special. Now I dont know whether this would happen in many other countries where healthcare is much more like a business. I feel so lucky to have met and been looked after by some truly amazing people. They are the ones who have the power to make you feel safe, ease your worries and just be there when things are rough. And for that I am eternally grateful.

So in terms of my recovery, today I am more fragile then yesterday as the local anaesthetic wears off and most things are challenging for me. I am already impatient though and just want to be myself again. So in the meantime I will entertain myself with trashy tv and the Daily Mail gossip section.

Thank you again for all your phone calls, emails, texts and facebook messages. I read them all and appreciate the support from around the world.

So I have officially transitioned from OBB to NoBB but I am of course still me - though perhaps a little lighter!

PS: If you havent already checked out Aprils issue of Foreldre og Barn please do as there is a wonderful article about my cancer story. It is only available for print in Norway and is written in Norwegian so google translate will be needed for most of you! I hope to scan a copy here for those who dont have access to it.

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