Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bye Bye Cancer, Hello Percocet

Someone in editing is in big trouble
Fortunately the folks that took great care of me yesterday don't work in marketing and billing, because I have a sneaking suspicion that who ever proofed this billing stuffer is in a bit of trouble.  I did wake up with a little paint, but it's mostly Sharpie art.

Arrived at the hospital as directed at 7:30 am yesterday morning after no liquids or food after midnight.  Thankfully I am not very caffeine dependent anymore, so no withdrawal there.  After checking in and carrying my unnecessary pee sample around, I was moved to the pre-surgical unit where I was given my lovely gowns, and swaddled in warm blankets.

My speedy transport person guided my wheelchair around the twists, turns, and bridges to the Nuclear Medicine department where I spent a fair amount of time parked in the hallway awaiting my 8:30 dye injections. (Radioactive dye is injected to locate the sentinel lymph node, which is the one that is removed, sliced, and frozen, then sent to pathology to be analyzed during surgery. It's results determine whether more nodes need to be removed).  I was finally fetched by a couple of techs, one of whom reminded me of Raine Wilson, circa Six Feet Under.  And not in a good way.  Turns out he was just in charge of loading the radioactive blue dye in the syringes.

A doctor came in afterward and gave me five injections around the site.  The injections also contain lidocaine, so they pinched, some more than others, but it wasn't that bad, all things considered.  Then I was reparked in the hall and instructed to massage around the area to speed the dye to it's node destination.  You can just imagine how funny that looked, but most of the early morning workers were focused on their donuts, or were talking with each other about the weekend, and barely noticed me.

Next up, after about a half an hour in the hallway, my speedy transport dude came back and whizzed me down to the breast center for my next procedure, which was the placement and insertion of the guide needle.  Which I didn't really have a clue was coming until I got there.  Probably just as well, since it turned out to be the least fun part of my day.

Basically a seated mammogram, without a lot of pressure at first, so the titanium chip that was put in at the biopsy could be located.  The usual pancake treatment - vertical, then horizontal.  Then the fun part, more pressure while holding perfectly still until the radiologist came in to insert the needle.  Honestly, I think I semi-blacked out and went numb after a few minutes.  There was some debate about the new needles between the nurse and the radiologist, which were apparently a first for the radiologist.  But I barely felt it go in.  Then after a another film, they removed it and did it the other way and put it back in.  Then it was taped to my chest and I was returned to pre-surgical.

I was visited by the good fairies from anesthesia, and after a false start with a not too sharp needle, the IV was hooked up, my friend Debbie was allowed to visit for a few minutes, and then I was off to the OR on schedule at 11:30.

Woke up around 3:30 in recovery.  Didn't feel too bad, pain wise.  Took a bit to shake off the groggy, then I got ginger ale and Lorna Doones.  Apparently pathology was a bit backed up and it took awhile to get my lymph node results back; she took out two, I am not sure exactly why yet, but they are clean, and as a bonus, I did not need a drain. 

Got my going away Percocet around 4:00, and after a pit stop for frozen peas/ice pack, was back in my good old recliner by 6:00 pm.

My BFF Debbie took excellent care of me and made me a pain med schedule.  She went home and my sister came to spend the night.

I woke up about 3:30 and took a green pee (!).  I asked the Nuclear techs if I'd pee blue from the dye and they said no.  They were wrong. Apparently the don't know the end results of their work.  It's toned down, but still not quite right.

I decided to sit in the recliner until my 4:00 am percocet, and was resting peacefully with my favorite cat, Jake, on my lap, when a mouse/cat scuffle broke out behind me.  The cats usually play with/torture the mice and leave me to do the dirty work.  Jake made a dive and came up the victor, then proceeded to take it upstairs to show my sister, who was still pretty much asleep.

We finally cornered Jake and his catch in the dining room, and he dutifully dropped it, and I covered it with a bowl and Michelle slid a file folder under it and took it across the street.

I figured that was the end of rodent gate until this morning.  Back story: Last week my dryer started taking 2-3 cycles to finish a load.  I figured it was old and on it's last legs.  So I had the handyman take a look at it.  It felt like only the low heat was working.  He took it apart.  Couldn't figure out what was wrong with it, so I decided to just go get a new one.  We went to Lowes, got a new one and hooked it up.

Did a load on Friday and it seemed to not be working much better than the old one.  Hung out with friends all day Saturday at the Fabulous Food Show (Alton Brown was a hoot!), then had another fantastic Tour de Crop chef's menu at Crop Bistro (thanks Chef Steve for such a great meal!).

Sunday, I wanted to get the laundry caught up and it just wasn't getting dry.  Finally I noticed that there was water coming out of part of the duct and the tape was coming loose.  So, I pulled on it and was rewarded with a shower of acorns, birdseed, and leaves that were completely packing about 12' section of the pipe!  Threw up my hands, left a message for the handyman, stuffed a couple of towels in the open pipe, and said, a project for another day.

I'd really hoped it would be fixed when I got home last night.  It wasn't.  At some point last night, Debbie and I heard a noise, and I noted the absence of cats, but we really didn't investigate.

So this morning when Michelle went down to clean the litter boxes, she discovered CSI Squirrel Akron on the basement steps.  Seems the owner of the nuts came a knocking, but was no match for the cat posse.  Who apparently think mice are toys, but squirrels are the enemy.  So there was a little extra clean-up.

The cats and I have been chilling out the rest of the day.  Debbie cooked her way through most of my CSA veggies and there are all kinds of yummy things to eat - roasted fennel with garlic and tomatoes, roasted broccoli, roasted sweet potatoes, and a  great big salad.

I feel surprisingly good, probably thanks to my new friend Percocet, but I think my surgeon, Dr. Partin, gets some major props as well.

Thanks to all of my friends who sent many green things and good wishes, I love them all.


  1. And we are all glad that you had good news and successful surgery!

  2. All that and you have to do your own rubbing? Sheesh. I'm glad you are home safe and sound and that the cats are such great protectors :)

  3. Ah, this took me right back. We had very, very similar experiences. Isn't nuclear medicine about the scariest place?? And the guy who came and got me (the "blue dye guy") at UCLA? We referred to him as "Lurch"! Must be something about working in nuclear medicine.

    Anyway, glad to hear you are recovering well!

  4. Glad to hear your test results were good and that there isn't a squirrel loose in your house!


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