Breast Cancer – the Lumpectomy

I got my appointment for my lumpectomy. It was June 8, it was very quickly after my diagnosis which was May 29. The doctor that was doing the surgery had an opening, but there was a catch.

Because it was booked so quickly I had to go to two different places to have the surgery done. The first part was the insertion of a wire into the affected area of the breast. This was done at Jim Pattison Breast Health Clinic. It wasn’t as painful as I thought as they were doing it without freezing. The procedure was again explained to me in great detail. When the doctor came in, yet another new face, he asked how I was. I said, “Good, but that’s not really important, I’m more concerned about how you’re feeling today. Are your hands steady?” He chuckled and assured me they were.

I was then hooked up to the mammogram machine again with a very precise plate covering the area. It was a lot smaller than they had used before and had a very tiny hole in the middle. The technician then took pictures and made sure that I was in the machine at the right angle and they had a direct hit in line with the little hole in the plate. As is quite often the case, the nurse or the technicians do all the work and the doctor gets all the glory. 🙂

Now I’m all lined up and pinned in the mammogram machine waiting for the doctor. The one with the steady hands. 😉 He comes in and with no freezing inserts a very long needle into my breast through the little tiny hole in the plate. Surprise, surprise, it didn’t hurt! I was expecting the same kind of pain as the biopsy. There was a little pin prick kind of feeling, and then nothing. It took seconds and it was all over.

Then the nurse taped me up covering the wires and I got dressed. Without my bra of course. I didn’t dare look, I didn’t want to see any wires sticking out of me. 🙂 We then drove over to the hospital where the surgery was going to be performed.

The nurses got me all prepped and ready to go. They told me I might have to wait awhile as there were other surgeries that had priority. So we were prepared to wait. Then the doctor came in and explained exactly what he was going to do. He then asked me which side it was and I told him. He then made a funny mark just above the breast. Think he would know where he was going to be operating with a wire sticking out of me, but it was standard procedure. He then told me he was taking me in right away! I was surprised and relieved we didn’t have to sit around and wait any longer than necessary.

I was wheeled into the operating room and before I knew it I was waking up after a nice nap. They then wheeled me back to my starting place and we waited a very short time and I was released. All in all it seemed very quick to me. I’m sure it wasn’t all that quick for Ed who spent most of his time waiting. I think it’s harder for the care-giver or your support person than it is on you. All the waiting and wondering. I spent my time being prodded at poked at and sleeping so my time was occupied, but Ed had to just sit and wait.

We then drove home and that was that! A portion of me was missing, but I was relieved that “that stuff” was out of me. There was no pain to speak of, but I was uncomfortable. Of course, the hardest part is getting the body functioning properly again after the anesthetic. Bring on the fruit juice! Prune, oh yeah, my favourite. 🙂 I felt amazingly calm through the process and in good spirits. Looking back I think that really helped keep me at ease, and speed the healing.

So, now what’s the next step. Oh ya! The follow up with the surgeon and the results of the biopsy of the cells they removed. So, you guessed it, more waiting…

Stay tuned for the next segment in my series, “Breast Cancer – had the lumpectomy, now what?”.

About Arlene

I am married and live in Langley, BC, Canada. I am a retired Fire Service Dispatcher and I am presently a Manager for a Retail Store Chain in Canada. In my spare time I enjoy motorcycle touring and have been across Canada and through a lot of the US on my bike. I also enjoy cruising in the winter. I am also an avid genealogist spending most of my time working on our tree and helping friends build theirs. I became a grandmother 10 months ago and love every minute I get to spend with my grandson.
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