Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Surgery Day - October 17, 2012

Today was surgery day. I didn't sleep really well last night. I had dreams about the surgery where it was done on a couch, and I needed a graft... Let's just say anxiety was high.

We got the kids out the door...Lolo took them to school while J took me to the National Melanoma Center at Washington Hospital Center.

9am Nurse Robin took us back and had me laughing so hard, it really reduced my stress. We ended up weighing not only me...but my purse! Can you believe it weighs 8 pounds?!?

9:15am The Nurse Yvonne took me back to the OR. J sat in the chair that would be at the top right or my head...and I got into my gown. He stayed there the ENTIRE TIME.

Then Dr. V came in. What a sweet guy...with handsome look and bedside manner that all doctors could learn from. He prepped the area and started the music...he picked a Coldplay song on YouTube, it was calming.

9:20am Dr. V proceeded to inject lidocaine all around the area.

But J knew me better and when that one was over...he played a different Coldplay song.

Then we remembered my phone plays pandora!

Pandora played while Dr. V continued. Dr. V started laughing and said "I love this game!" It took me a minute to realize he was talking..."guess that artist" with the music. We all laughed.

It took 6 syringes...2 more than originally thought to anesthetize the area.

While we played "guess the artist," Dr. V proceeded to cut out a diamond shape out of my back...the kids thought it looked like Israel way back...and Unc thought more a female private part...I will go with diamond.

I was really nervous that I would begin to feel it. But the sound was the worst...not the sound from the outside...but sort of hearing the cutting from the when you are under water. It is hard to described.

So at first it was the cutting...and then it was the cauterization sounds...the worst. The sound of the zaps going *into* your body....remember he dug out all the tissue down to the muscle. That zap sounded like it was going into a cavern. It not only made a sound...but had an echo...and a reverberation!

Then came the stitches. Layer one...about 4. Layer 2 about 5...but before he got to layer 3...he had to do something I wasn't expecting. In order to stitch the two sides together to form the line, he had to detach the layer of skin from the tissue when you want to put the spices and margarine under the skin of a turkey.

That sound...I can't even go there. Think of removing a hem stitch...but fast...

Then it was finished up with 12 stitches on top.

I was dressed and we were on our way home.

10:50am I was in the car and sent out a message saying: Done and on the way home! Though we have to stop and get worms for Fuego! Results should be in by Friday or Monday to confirm complete removal. 

But what we really did:
1. Stop at the kids' school to let them see for themselves that I was fine.
2. Stop for sushi buffet lunch.
3. Stop to get worms for Fuego!

We got home and I was still feeling ok...until about 2pm when I guess the lidocaine started wearing off!

And now I lay flat on my back.

I am so thankful for the support I have, but most of all for the amazing husband and life partner...he is a gift, the love of my life. To sit their and watch as they did I could see him the entire time and feel reassured was tremendous. I can't imagine.

Calls and texts from friends and family were wonderful. Also, two fun deliveries were made - one from my Board and Staff - and the other from the Federation I work closely with. It was so nice, thoughtful and truly made my spirits lift. Here is to mending quickly...early detection...and being cancer free.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

One Month

It has been a month since I got my diagnosis. So much has happened in this month on so many fronts...

What I can say is that I feel positive and lucky. I am starting to tell people outside immediate family, only so they know the reasons I have been dropping some balls and not have the kids tell them...or worse, find out on Facebook!

I am grateful to a brave young woman who shared her story and journey who lost her 14 month fight to Melanoma 6 years ago - and to troops who continue to fight for awareness and early detection. If it weren't for her chronicling of her story I don't know that I would have been mapped 6 years ago...and paid enough attention to get checked.

TEB has been in my thoughts and her family in my prayers for years. Her life and journey has made a difference in my life and the lives of my children and family.

May her memory continue to be a blessing for all who loved her and all the lives she has touched.

updated to put context back:
NES is my friend who first forwarded me TEB's the guise that she and I (hormonal and pregnant) needed more blogs to read and cry while reading. But TEB was the reason our pregnant selves found Dr. G, (female and on both of our insurances), and made an appointment together post the birth of our bundles (E and Puppy). Thing was, Dr. G told her, come back if she saw anything change...and she told me - get mapped and I'll see you every year from now until eternity! And not too long after that...she left the practice. I was dumb...I waited 4 years between the last time I saw Dr. G and when I walked into Dr. B's office.

Monday, September 10, 2012

"Day 18" - More good news!

Today we got the good news we were waiting for. The second independent lab confirmed that the first biopsy is a melanoma and it is Stage 1a! It might even be thinner than we originally thought - so not .5mm but possibly as small as .37mm. That is good!

The second biopsy is not melanoma - but an atypical mole, they treat that with the same excision as they do the other...and since they are so close, one surgery will get them both.

My sister's wedding is September 30th and the doctor is more worried about me traveling within 14 days of surgery because of infection - than waiting for the surgery, as it has now been confirmed 1a.

Surgery is scheduled for October 17th - 9am.

Deep breaths. This is good news.

Friday, September 7, 2012

"Day 15" - Good News and No News

So today I got a call that the third biopsy is benign!!! Good News!!

But Dr. V's office said that the second opinion biopsy slides from the first two had not yet made it to Boston.  Not happy about that. So we are still in a wait and see mode.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"Day 13" - 13th Anniversary and a visit to the Melanoma Center

Today J and I spent our 13th Anniversary on a field trip. We drove down to the Washington Hospital Center in DC - it shares a campus with Children's Hospital, so we know that drive pretty well.

We found parking and waited for our turn. There was a fish-tank in the lobby - so it was nice to small talk about something we know well. The nursing staff was tremendous, I mean in their depth - not their size or numbers. As we answered question after question they really made us feel as comfortable as we could. Even having J answer many of the questions as - who would really trust me to answer them! Team effort as we ping-ponged.

The most uncomfortable part, for the both of us, was having Dr. V check me out head to toe and every crevasse in between to make sure nothing was missed.

Did you know there is a frame of reference on your back called a "nipple line?" It is what it sounds like...but as I think about it how accurate a reference is it? All nipples don't line up...and what if  you are wearing a different bra?

Anyway, the bottom line is they did another biopsy of one on my back, right side now (other two were on my left side). Those cells are going to Boston to be read. And my others are going to Boston to get a second opinion as well.

Hoping to hear back by Friday or Monday about both!!

We are going to wait to schedule surgery until after the second opinion comes back. But the good news is he feels like he can do the surgery without a skin graft!! So W is off the hook:)

J did promise me that for our 14th Anniversary we would do something more fun!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Friendship is...part 2

When you call your other best friend in full blown out hysterics, incomprehensible and she doesn't know if you are crying over your own diagnosis or a parenting issue or a work related blunder...and all you say is: "just don't tell me to calm down"

Her first response, without knowing the issue was: "get riled up!"

And I did...and with her amazing grace and guidance...I calmed down.

This cry happened to be over parenting issues/puppy being sent home from school and probably not invited back...but mixed in with getting that call while on the biopsy table for a third time in as many weeks, I hit my breaking point.

Thankful today for best friends.

Friendship is....

When your best friend offers to help in anyway, and adds: "like if you need a flap of skin or anything. Mine is not in *the* best condition, but it is pretty nice and tan right now!"

Not just friendship, but LOVE.