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!
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.