Saturday, July 27, 2013

Surgery Part 1

So much has happened in a month since I last posted.  What a roller coaster ride....and not a fun one.

Before I left for California, there were lots more tests done here.  I had a chest x-ray, EKG, and blood and urine tests.

July 12th-- I left for Southern California with my sister, Lisa, and three of her kids.  We stayed a couple of days at her in-laws house in Utah before we headed on our way.  Lisa's awesome husband, Bob, flew in to Utah to drive back with us.

July 14th-- We left Utah, Sunday morning the 14th at 5:00 am, and got to Lisa's house probably around 3:30 pm.  I felt knots in my stomach the entire way there, thinking about all my appointments the next day.  I had a hard time sleeping that night, knowing that I had a lot to face in the days to come.

July 15th-- Lisa and I left for the hospital early Monday morning the 15th, and arrived at the hospital a little before 8:00 am.  It was a long day, full of lots of pre-surgery appointments.  We met with Doctors from 8:00 am until 6:30 pm.  My brother-in-law, Bob is the CEO of the hospital.  So, of course we were treated SO GOOD!  I think we would have been treated so good regardless.  Just great people!

My first appointment was with Doctor Chen (radiation oncologist).  We talked all about the Intraoperative radiation, along with other types of radiation.  He was good to sit and explain things, and answer all my questions.  The original plan was for me to have all radiation that was needed to be done, done during surgery.

Following Doctor Chen, I went to the Hoag Breast Center and met with several doctors there.  At first they had me do a breast MRI.  They took approximately 2000 pictures of my armpits and breasts.  The results from the MRI showed that my lymph nodes looked swollen, and they needed ultrasound and take several biopsies of tissue from my armpit.  They had to deaden the area several times and it was quite painful because it is such a sensitive area.  The Doctor taking the samples was Doctor Levine.  He was very friendly and had we had lots to talk about.  When Doctor Levine was finished he took the sampled tissue to get the results, and I had a few more tests done.  A very short time later, I was walking down the hall past Dr. Levine (to see the next Doctor), and he wouldn't even look at me.  My heart sank, as I knew that it must be some bad news.

When I entered the room with Doctor Silverstein (surgeon), he asked me if Doctor Levine had given me the news.  When I told him no, and then he dropped a huge earth shattering bomb on me.  The cancer had spread to my lymph nodes.  I was so stunned that I could hardly speak.  Finding this out changed everything!  I was no longer able to do the radiation during surgery.  Radiation was now going to have to be done when I returned home.  When Doctor Silverstein was finished with the consultation, he gave me a hug, and left the room.  My sister and I just hugged and cried.  The cancer had spread to my lymph nodes.  I could hardly believe it.  I just felt sick.  Where else was the cancer?  Is it spreading throughout my body?!  Still unsure of these questions.

We had a short break before the next Doctor appointment and we went to get some lunch in the hospital cafeteria.  We just sat in there stunned.  We spent the next few minutes eating and crying.  I was SO grateful that my sister was there with me.  (John was not able to fly in until Monday night).

The last appointment for the day was with Doctor Savalia (plastic surgeon).  I felt like I was in a fog going into that appointment.  Doctor Savalia was very nice.  He walked me through what would be done the next morning during surgery.  The first part of the surgery would be Doctor Silverstein removing the cancer and some lymph nodes.  Then Doctor Savalia would step in and do breast reconstruction on both breasts.

The doctors and staff at the hospital were so good to me.

It was late when we finally arrived home at Lisa's house.  Bob drove to L.A. to pick up John from the airport.  They didn't get home until probably 10:30.  Lisa and I waited up for them, so I could have them give me a blessing before going into surgery the next morning.  I think we went to bed after midnight.  I was still in a daze.

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