Talked to the Doctor

The surgeon was very kind and patient as I asked my questions and even sat quietly while I cried.

He explained how the decision is made to put a person on their side or their stomach… it is the anesthesiologist’s choice… and he said they made the wrong decision. He said next time he does surgery on my back, he will insist I stay on my side, which does have its own challenges, but he said surgery was fast and there was too much trauma to my body to make the stomach a good choice.

Underboob Slice

The doctor explained that when someone is going to be on their stomach, they use cushions to help the breasts not be smashed on the table and it looks like the cushion was out of place.

He said because the cushion was misplaced (which happened because I am a challenge to turn over, which I already knew), then trauma split my underboob open, something that can happen to “fragile” skin. I told him I have yeasties under there a lot, but not in a few months and he said that can make the skin fragile (the perfect word I had been looking for), but it was no excuse for not getting the cushion where it should have been.

I asked if next time we might put the cushion in place before I go into the Operating Room and he said that was a good idea, but reiterated that anything we have to do small, he will try and keep me on my side.

“I’m Sorry”

As I said in the previous post, what I wanted most of all was an apology. He said, “I’m sorry” twice and I thanked him and told him that was what I was needing to hear.

I told him I had zero desire to sue for anything and I wanted him to know that, that I trusted him and his team and since he explained it, and apologized, I feel better.

Crying

I cried talking to him. I am still crying two days later.

Artist unknown: The crying girl, Colored Ballpoint Pens Technique

Looking at the bruises on my breast reminds me of the ones I had on my breasts after I was raped in 1979. I didn’t remember getting those, either, so it is a similar emotional response.

I do not like things happening to me when I am not aware.

Another thing he said that made me feel somewhat relieved was he was in the Operating Room from the moment I got in there until I was wheeled out and into Recovery. I do trust the man. (Is that weird?)

Pathology Report

He told me the results; the margins were clear! (They got it all.)

Yay!

Follow-up in Clinic

When we talked in person, he checked my underboob and it is healing well, which I knew. He apologized again and I told him I wish we had done the excision in the office, which we had talked about. I said I had never regretted having a surgery until this time and that when we have to do this again, if he can remind me of what I wanted in a coherent moment, I would appreciate it. He said as long as I can sit still, that could be done. I told him I can sit still; I have tattoos.

He did say that the decision to do the surgery in the office or the OR can go either way. He said sometimes, when he does one in the office, he thinks they should have gone to the OR. I said I understood that and I would take his advice and we could make the decision together.

It was a very good face-to-face meeting.

My back is healing really well. I have steri-strips on. I am not itching anymore. I look forward to this one being done.

Art: Talia Shipman

Cancer Returns/COVID-19 Negative

I have been waiting for some settling before writing, but it seems things are just pressing forward, so here we go!

Cancer First

I have Malignant Melanoma Stage 0, for the second time, on my back.

cancer Navelgazing Writer

I was going to the Dermatologist’s doctor to do the excision, but when I went on Friday to have it done, people either had no mask on or had it around their necks. And there was no hand sanitizer anywhere. I had never noticed before, but when faced with surgery, I noticed every unclean thing. I cancelled the surgery and left after telling them why.

Yesterday, I met with the surgeon who did the 2 cancer removals last year and it was wonderful being in his office again. I make them all laugh and they remembered me, which was great.

Hamilton Navelgazing Writer

The doctor played Hamilton Mixtape for me during surgery last time, so we are both Hamilfans and talked about it being on Disney+.

We did discuss the surgery eventually. He said we can start with local and sedation, but in the OR and take a smaller circle, trying to get the margins taken out, but if he does not, it will be a bigger excision like my arm was. He also said it was up to the anesthesiologist whether I had sedation or general. I said that was fine.

COVID-19 Testing

Before I could get my excision, I had to have a negative COVID-19 test, but let me tell you, that was no easy feat.

covid Navelgazing Writer

I am disabled so cannot stand for long and have no car, so waiting in line or doing drive-through testing is impossible for me. Testing sites are not made for disabled people! My therapist said that was an ADA issue for sure and I needed to let someone know how difficult it was for me to get a test.

After days of fruitless trying, I tried to get my Primary Care doctor (who told me to get one, too, because I had conjunctivitis our of the blue) to call in a prescription to LabCorp or Quest because they will only test with prescriptions for it. She said, “You can get tested anywhere! Just go to the clinic and get it there.”

But, people line up, standing, at 6am for the 9am start of testing. Once they sign in, they get back in their cars and do the drive-through thing. Both of which disqualify me.

Just

An aside. Do you ever notice when people say, “Just <fill-in-the-blank-of-instruction>” that the task is really complicated for everyone but the speaker?

coronavirus Navelgazing Writer

Same with, “All you gotta do is <fill-in-the-blank>.”

Doctors & Their Dismissiveness

When I called the primary care doctor, the nurse said the “All you gotta do” line and when I explained to her the situation and that I had conjunctivitis and couldn’t I make an appointment to come in because what if the conjunctivitis was COVID-19. She snorted saying, “You can’t get COVID in your eye,” like I was a stupid patient. I told her the doctor she is working for told me about it being a sign and perhaps she should Google it.

At any rate, they would not call in a prescription to a lab.

COVID-19 Navelgazing Writer

So I called the Dermatologist’s office to see if they would call in a prescription, especially since they wanted a negative test before they would schedule my excision. “We don’t do that. All you gotta do is….” and I got pissed.

CentraCare

The conjunctivitis did not respond to the 5 days of drops and my primary care was sending in a referral to an ophthalmologist. I shook my head when the nurse said that. I told her it takes WEEKS for me to get their referrals in the mail. “That’s what she told me.” I said I really hope I don’t die from COVID-19 before the referral gets to me.

clock Navelgazing Writer

I made myself an appointment with CentraCare online. It was for 6 days ahead. So I waited.

When I went 6 days later, the nurse assistant looked at my eye and got out a swab for a COVID test. I didn’t even have to ask. He swabbed up one nostril… and let me tell you, that was infinitely easier than when I had the lit sparklers shoved into my brain via my nostrils.

20 minutes later I had a negative result. YAY YAY YAY!

The Nurse-Practitioner gave me a prescription for different eye drops, stronger. I am doing better goopy eyes-wise, but it has not cleared up completely.

More Testing Coming Up

I will have to have another COVID-19 test 72 hours before surgery, so that is coming soon. I should know in the next couple of days when surgery is.

As Rachel Maddow says, “Follow this space!”

Surgery Done! Yay!

Surgery turned out to be a joyous experience. The team all laughed with me… I implored them all to have fun during surgery… to be mindful,  but have fun! They were all wonderful.

During pre-op, I asked the surgeon if he listened to music during surgeries and he said he did… any requests? I said questioningly, “Hamilton?” His eyes lit up and he said he had it on his phone, no problem at all. I was so happy to know I would fall asleep to Lin-Manuel Miranda singing to me.

hamiltonmixtape.0

I am a really hard poke, but the 40-year experienced nurse got me on one stick. YAY! My BP was awesome, I was doing great.

My daughter Aimee hung out with me and was the epitome of great support.

Once in the OR, we all continued laughing and then the surgeon came over, masked as everyone else was, and said, “Now here is the most important question.”

I braced myself.

“Do you want the Soundtrack or the Mixtape?” I laughed loudly and said, “Play the fucking Mixtape!” So I went to sleep listening to Busta Rhymes belting out “My Shot.”

I woke up great and easy. My mom came to say hi, which was nice.

I guess the main tumor on my arm had some roots to it, so they had to dig 1.5 inches further than they expected. Oh, well. The place on my back was smaller and closed with Dermabond (Superglue) and does not hurt one tiny bit. Yay!

Yesterday was my 58th birthday. WOO HOO!

Happy-Birthday-to-Me-Pinterest

My voice was somewhat hoarse after surgery, normal apparently. I’d never had that happen before, but whatever. Now, however, I am completely mute. A laugh sounds like a mouse squeak.

voice

I called the doc and they said that sometimes intubation can scratch the vocal cords. Yeah, it can take ONE to EIGHT WEEKS to be able to talk again. I asked for a referral to a whomever one sees for vocal cord injuries. For those that do not know, my JOB is talking. A LOT. I cannot NOT work for 8 weeks! Let’s all visualize my vocal cords bathed in healing juices. Oh, and happily, my throat does not hurt at all. So, there is that.

I am doing well, 2 days postop. Am glad it is done, looking forward to the Path Report.

Thanks for laughing along with me!

keeplaughing