Perspective Of Yet Another Night Owl

Mom’s surgery…
October 13, 2007, 12:20 am
Filed under: Breast Cancer, Family, Life, Reconstructive Surgery

Tuesday night was spent mostly in anticipation of my mother’s upcoming surgery on October 10.   It had been a while since my brother, sister and I had hung out without any children or spouses, so of course, we took slight advantage of that.  We visited with Grandpa and Mom until they fell asleep.  Then the three of us “kids” snuck out to have a couple of drinks and settle our nerves.  Ok, and well, we needed to have a little fun, too.  Things were kind of serious at home.  It turned out to be a late night for us.  My brother having to go to work the next morning, and sister and I having to get up early with Mom and Grandpa.  We probably should have turned in earlier the night before, but well, shit happens.

Wednesday morning rolled around quite early.  My sister and I got my grandfather’s day started and made his lunch and got ready to take Mom to the hospital.  We got Mom registered around noon.  None of us had anything to eat or drink so Mom wouldn’t be alone in that.  Of course, we were all thirsty and starving.

Mom got settled in and the procedures began.  We were able to come back with her for the first part where they injected radioactive fluid into the breast.  This fluid would travel to the largest lymph nodes and those surrounding it, making it easier for her surgeon to find them with the meter that reads radiation.  This was used in conjunction with a blue dye that would make the lymph nodes sort of glow as well.

With Mom’s procedures beginning, my sister with her to be there when Mom went under anesthesia, I ran home to get some things situated with my own kids and grab some things I forgot.  I returned to the hospital to find my sister and a friend of Mom’s in the waiting room together.  The quick update was the masectomy part of surgery was in progress and the surgeon would talk with us when she was done.  The reconstructive surgeon would also speak with us before he began his part of the 6 hour surgery. 

My sister and I went to the hospital cafeteria and got what was left for lunch.  Since the grill closed at 2 PM, we were left with salad, soup and some really cold chicken strips.  Whatever, it was food, so we ate.  $20 later, still hungry, we went back and waited some more.  We spent some time in the gift shop.  We bought everything we thought Mom would want, lotion, mouthwash, chapstick and snacks.  We bought balloons, a breast cancer bear, a get well bear, magazines and a pair of earrings.  Back to the waiting room.

About 4 PM, Mom’s reconstructive surgeon came to tell us that things were going well with the first part of surgery.  Mom had a bit more volume in that area than anticipated and therefore it was taking a bit longer, but looked good.  He expected to begin his 1/2 of the surgery within the hour.

Just before 5 PM, Mom’s breast cancer surgeon came out and told us everything went pretty well.  They were able to complete the skin sparing mastectomy and therefore the reconstruction should not be a problem barring necrosis of the remaining skin.  There were no complications with this surgery other than the radioactive chemicals didn’t reach the lymph nodes as quickly as normal, so the surgeon had to remove those after the breast tissue. Usually she would have removed the lymph nodes first, but the chemicals needed more time to travel to them to get a good reading.  It was neither here nor there and had no real affect on the outcome though.  Mom’s reconstructive surgeon had begun and would be done in about 2 hours.

Mom’s friend left, our brother arrived with some dinner.  Mmmmm. Crab Cakes and french fries.  So much better than the crappy cafeteria food.  They reopened for a short 2 hour dinner, which somehow we missed.  We were thankful for the food from my brother.  

Around 6:45 PM, Mom’s second surgeon came out and spoke with us.  All had gone smoothly.  They were unable to save the areola and nipple for the reconstruction.  Due to some extreme thinning of Mom’s skin, he had to remove a bit more skin than he anticipated.  It shouldn’t matter in the reconstructive phase though, as she had lots of volume before surgery so if they end up a bit smaller, she wouldn’t mind.

Mom was taken to the recovery room to wake up from the anesthesia.  We were told they would page us and let us know when she was taken to her room for the night.  Once there, we could visit with her for a while before leaving for the night.  So again, we waited.  After an hour, we were getting anxious, so the nurses moved us from the surgical waiting room to the post-op waiting area on the second floor.  We at least had some different scenery.

About a 1/2 hour later, my brother went and asked about my Mom again.  He was told that they didn’t know exactly where she was, but they were expecting her to be brought to her room soon.  Wrong thing to say to the baby of the family, although he is 25.  He immediately came to his big sisters and said he was pissed, they had lost his Mama.  They hadn’t really, she was in transit and we would be in her room in about a 1/2 hour once she was settled in.

We didn’t stay too long.  Mom was in a semi-private room, alone, but being that it was semi-private, no one could stay over night with her.  We talked with her, gave her the gifts, made sure she was ok.  We met her nurses and the nurses for the upcoming shift.  We made sure she was in good hands.  We all told Mom we loved her, kissed her good night and we left for home. 

We got back to Mom’s and got Grandpa situated for bed.  We called Mom to check on her and make sure she got some food.  She was starving when we left the hospital.  Mom called us later because she couldn’t sleep.  I guess that was to be expected because she had slept. albeit under general anesthesia, for the entire day.  Sleep came easy for us that night.  We were all tired from the long day and pacing. We all went to bed shortly after.


8 Comments so far
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Whew! What a day for you guys. Bless you. I just don’t understand why no one could stay the night with her. I guess I am comparing things with my cousin-and of course he is a child-well was a child- and circumstances for him I assume are different. Well it sounds like all went well-a whole day of surgery though-you will have days of learning more and more about her updates. I am still praying for mom and the rest of you guys. I do have your email don’t I? I have a friend I wanted to tell you about-through email.

Also-I was handed the message in a bottle and asked if I wanted to lead a team for Relay for Life. I thought that my co-worker that handed it to me was doing this with me-but she is on a team at her church and was just passing the information to me. I have researched this and it seems like alot of work if I don’t have the help I need. I asked around at school if anyone wanted to be on a team-no-no-no…I have always supported by donating directly to ACS and going to these events and participating, but not in this capacity. Any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions? When you have time…I know you are extremely busy right now. *Sending hugs to all your way*

Comment by Mercedes

Wow, Semi, what a day! Glad to hear things went smoothly. Prayers and thoughts go with you. 🙂

Mercedes–fund raising events are a lot of work. I signed up for The Breast Cancer 3 Day. Last year, I did not raise the required $2200 to walk. This year, I’ve joined early to meet the requirement. I want to build a team, however, each team member has to raise his/her own $2200 so everyone may not be able to walk. Some things I’m going to do are talk to some local restaurants. Applebees, for one, will do fund-raisers as will Max & Erma’s and T.G.I.Friday’s.

Comment by shadesofpink

Thanks Shadesofpink for the info. WOW-your event IS a lot of work. Correct?

Compared to what I am wanting to do-I believe. You will be walking for 3 days and possibly traveling to the city of the event. A hint for you-if you don’t already know is to set up a website to ask for donations-my SIL ran a 26.2K marathon this year and used this for hers (she raised 1,000 just through internet donations):

Krysti-hope mom is doing well!

Comment by Mercedes

You are right, Mercedes, The 3 Day is TONS of work! I do have a website for donations. Last year, I had my own URL domain for my 3 Day site. This year, they don’t have that option. Makes it a bit challenging in directing people to the website if I wanted to, say, print it on a card or something. Nonetheless, I’m getting the word out early this year and my goal is to raise at least $200/mo for the cause. This will get me to the minimum within 10 months. I want to aim higher so I’m not raising the funds up to the day of the walk. whew! I’ve got a job to do! 🙂

Comment by shadesofpink

Mercedes, I sent you an email with my email. 🙂

Thanks everyone for the prayers and thoughts. I love that everybody is planning on doing something for the cause. This is fabulous. I want to also, but have been so busy with Mom, that I haven’t even begun to look into it. Maybe next year when things are calmer. For now, I can donate though. 🙂

Will post an update on Mom after her doctor appointment today. Also will be posting an update on my kids and family. We have our first homecoming date! How exciting!

Comment by Krysti (f/k/a Semi~Charmed)

Oh! An update: I DO have a URL now. They seem to be adding things to the 2008 walk each day. This is the URL for my 3 Day Website:

Comment by shadesofpink

Dear Krysti, Hey, I have had some personal stuff going on so have not been online so much, was just reading and catching up and just wanted to send my prayers, love, and support to you and your family. Take care of each other!!
Love and Pink hugs, MK4ME

Comment by MK4ME

I hope everything with you is well. I have been offline quite a bit myself. Thank you for your prayers and support. It means a lot! HUgs, right back at’cha!

Comment by Krysti (f/k/a Semi~Charmed)

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