The surgery is behind me

This entry was written by Jackie Roth, PhD student at Thomas Jefferson University. Every other Friday, throughout the entire year of 2011, Jackie will share a blog entry about her breast cancer experience. This year-long blog series is in honor of LBBC’s 20th anniversary.

To read Jackie’s previous entries, enter “ Jackie Roth” in the search box on this site.

The morning of my surgery came and went so quickly, much faster than I could have imagined.  I got to the hospital with my husband and my friend Jamie P. around 7 a.m.  We signed in and waited for my dad to arrive.  Knowing that he would be late, I told my dad to meet us there at 6:45 a.m.  He eventually showed up at 7:30 a.m.!

We were told to go upstairs to a secondary waiting room. I didn’t even have time to sit my coat down before I was called.  It was not time to say goodbye to the girls yet. It was just time to get changed.  I was given a small changing area and some anti-bacterial cloths that you use to wipe your body.  I was so thankful that they had warmed the cloths up because they are normally freezing.  Once I was changed and in bed, Ron, Jamie, and my dad came back.  It was great to have Jamie there because she had this surgery last year, and she was able to assure me that everything would be OK.  

Before I knew it, I had to say my goodbyes and I was rolled off to the prep-room.  I thought, Wow! I must really be on the fast track! I’ve only been in here for 45 minutes and I am ready to go!  I was thankful for the fast pace because I didn’t have time to psych myself out or become very anxious about the surgery.

Next I waited in the pre-operation room for a little while and talked with the anesthesiologists.  Shortly thereafter, my three surgeons, carrying their morning coffee, came walking in to say “hi.”  I had to have two breast surgeons, one working on the side with the cancer, and the other, on my healthy side.  This was to limit the time that I was under anesthesia.  Then the plastic surgeon would take over and place tissue expanders on both sides.  Together the three of them drew all over my chest and talked about closures.  They were very comforting and reassured me that everything would be just fine.  So I lay down and drifted off into a deep sleep…

I awoke in a haze of nurses and doctors running around me.  It was really hard to see anything, and not just because they took my glasses.  Everything was blurry for what felt like hours.  After some time, the first thing I focused on was the clock.  It said what appeared to be 1:40 p.m.!  I assured myself that that couldn’t be the correct time since my surgery (which started at 9:30 a.m.) was supposed to last 9 hours!  But, in fact, it was the correct time.  I was out super early; I hoped that meant good things. 

As soon as the nurses saw me waking up, they put a phone next to my ear where I could talk to my husband and my dad.  I couldn’t lift my arms to hold the phone so this was a challenging task.  But then Ron and my dad were allowed to come see me for a short while.  It was great to see familiar faces and have people there who can understand what I am saying just by looking at me! 

Hours later I was taken to a room that would be mine for the next two days.  I was in a tremendous amount of pain and suffering from a lot of nausea.  But I had over 30 visitors during my stay in the hospital to cheer me up.  My boss even brought in a bunch of clowns that work in the hospital! I had a great nighttime laugh! 

20th anniversary, breast cancer surgery, masectomy

I am recovering at home now, spending a lot of time resting, watching T.V. and sleeping.  I plan to continue hibernating in my apartment until April, when I can emerge just in time for spring! 

How did you channel any anxiety you felt before your surgery? Comment here or on our Facebook page.

Be sure to read Jackie’s previous entries by entering “Jackie Roth” in the search box on this site.

13 thoughts on “The surgery is behind me

  1. Jackie, I am so glad to hear you are doing well. It is amazing how fast the surgery ends up being when you stop watching the clock. I had to wait about two hours before my surgery and it just killed me. You are so strong and beautiful.. Talk to you soon. 🙂

  2. Jackie – What a great story you shared. Thank you for allowing us to know how your surgery day unfolded. I’m sure so many people are curious how it feels going into such a surgery, just as you were curious and had Jaime to support you. I can’t believe it has already been two weeks (and a day) since your surgery. I wish you a speedy recovery, and that you’re limit of lifting nothing more than 3 pounds for 3 months will be be here before you know it…so we can toast many cheers to you winning your fight against breast cancer. All the best in your recovery. Hope to see you soon.

  3. I am so thrilled to know that you are home recovering. The worst is over. Here is to a wonderful brave girl. Love you.

  4. What really saved me,prior to my Masectomy was a verse from Isaiah 41:10.”Fear not,for I am with you.Be not dismayed,for I am your God.I will strengthen you,Yes,I will help you.I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”You know,I initially had a lumpectomy,a month prior.The surgeon thought that was all that I needed until she went inside,saw more growth,tested it…well,you know the rest.I was apprehensive prior to my lumpectomy,but at least they were going to save my breast…(I thought!)Once I accepted the fact that my breast was full of so much cancer that removing it was the only option.I felt so calm about it,until they wheeled me into that OR.I cried hysterically,once in…My heart was racing…But,I recited that passage that had sustained me before,and I ACCEPTED the inevitable!That’s what STILL gets me through at times when the mere fact of all I’ve been through becomes overwhelming!I pray that with each new step you take in this journey you,1) Find the peace you will require to get through it.,and 2)Continue to draw from ALL that love,and support you have surrounding you.Keep on…It will get better.That was hard for me to hear in the midst of all that,but it’s true.There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…I pray when it’s over you find yours…

  5. Jackie- So glad the surgery is behind you and that the healing all goes well. You are in my thoughts and prayers! Love, Jen

  6. so glad everything went so well for you during your hospital stay. hope your recovery flies by and things keep getting better all the time. have a very Happy Birthday!!!

  7. Hope you are continuing to heal quickly and well, Jackie and I’m relieved that the surgery is behind you. Steve and I send lots of love and prayers to PA for you and Ron. I am so glad you found such a terrific guy to help you with this nasty challenge. Maybe you guys can come out and visit one of these days when you are feeling better. I can promise lots of beautiful sunshine to speed your recovery.
    And the Margaritas aren’t bad either ;o)

  8. Dear Jackie,
    Mark and I have been thinking of you…so sorry you had to experience this…but from what I hear, you have been an inspiration!. We wish you continued stength and will keep all good wishes coming your way. I hope today has been a good one. Please send our regards to your husband. You and Ron are in our thoughts and prayers. Love, Patty and Mark Gernerd

  9. Jackie, your dad always tells me how courageous and strong you are, however I don’t think those words even begin to describe you. You can’t put into words the true warrior type strength and determination that you have. I am just happy that you have such a wonderful support system around you with your husband, family, and friends, and even some ~like me~ who don’t know you but still keep you in our prayers. You continue to be an amazing woman, and I know your dad, in particular, is extremely proud of you. Wishing you a speedy recovery, and I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.🙂

  10. My mom had breast cancer. And she survived. My mom is struggling now with thyroid cancer and I decided to talk about her story to help the others get cured of breast cancer naturally, without chemo.

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