Look at that girl! The love of my life! Who would ever think that something like cancer would have attacked her. Like I said in an earlier post… breast cancer can pick anyone as their victim!
OK… so, the surgery was scheduled and we counted down the days until it would happen! I just kept thinking… “She’s being treated for cure!!!” That sounded so much better than the earlier prognosis! Patty had a few meltdown’s on the days before the surgery… she’s still terrified and she’s also doing the “what if’s?” “What if…. it spread? What if… they find it’s in the lymph nodes?” Hey, I don’t blam her for thinking about those things. (OK… I’ll admit, those “what if’s” crossed my minds also!)
So the day finally came… Thursday, July 29th! The day the cancer comes out and the cure begins! Patty slept really well the night before! I was surprised but she really did. I was the one who woke up at midnight thinking it was time to get up. I also woke up at 4 a.m. and layed there in the dark and couldn’t get back to sleep. So I got up at 4:30 a.m. and started my day. Patty actually got up around 7 a.m. We had to be at the hospital at 9 a.m. and surgery was scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
We got to the hospital a little before 9:00 a.m. They took us into a “pre-op” room shortly thereafter. The room was really small, but the setup is great. It’s just a room to hang out in before surgery. They wanted Patty there early so they could inject some type of radioactive dye into her breast that would allow the surgeon to see exactly where the cancer was located and be assured she got it all out! (that’s pretty important!) Patty had the injection around 10 a.m. which took maybe 20 minutes. She came back in the pre-op room and we just hung out waiting for surgery time. Nicole (Patty’s daughter) showed up around 10:30 a.m. and helped me kill time and keep Patty busy until surgery time. I could feel the anxiety in the room watching the clock tick, tick, tick to 12:30. I know Nicole felt it also but she was a trooper and wanted to keep her mother’s mind off of things so she (who is 7 months pregnant) told us stories about her birthing class and how she was worried about her maternal instincts kicking in! She had us laughing about how her gag reflex would most likely kick in when her baby has “ugly/stinky poo!” Well, it turned out that the surgeon was at another clinic that morning and was running late! The scheduled 12:30 surgery was more like 1:15! But we patiently waited. She showed up a little after 1:00 p.m. She was just her happy self as usual! She was just what Patty needed to see. I could see her anxiety level drop the second the doctor walked in. So, it was time to go… I gave Patty a kiss and she walked off with the doctor. Before she left, the surgeon told me that her part of the procedure would take an hour to and hour and a half to complete then the reconstruction surgeon would come in and that would take another hour and a half. She said she’d meet me in the waiting room. So I walked over to the waiting area and did what I was supposed to do… wait! Damn, that seems like all we’ve done is wait. But what’s another three hours after the last three months? My sister, her husband and son came to wait with me, so I wasn’t alone. But when talking to them, my mind was in the surgery room wondering how things were going. An hour past… no doctor. An hour and a half passed… still no doctor. Ok, so my mind was starting to play games with me… a little. Of course I was making excused in my head why the surgeon wasn’t out yet. Now two hours had passed… no doctor. Ok, I’m really starting to freak out. I’m normally not like that… but this was my wife, my best friend in the surgery room having a mastectomy! I wasn’t feeling good about this. I tried having a “normal” conversation with my sister, but looking back right now… I have no idea what I talked to them about. About two and a half hours into the surgery, the surgeon came walking down the hallway. She looked at me and apologized for the time but she said she was stuck waiting for the biopsy results. She said the surgery went great… they did find one lymph node that had, as she said, “a little cancer” in it. But the one next to it tested negative. She also said they biopsied 14 other lymph nodes and wouldn’t have the results for at least another 5 days or so. Whatever the results of the biopsy are just tell them what treatment Patty will need. She did say she wouldn’t be surprised if Patty will have to go through chemo or radiation or both. It was kind of a stupid question I asked, but I asked: “Will Patty be alright?” She smiled at me and said: “Patty will be fine.”