March 8, 2012
I arrived at the hospital at 7:30am as instructed. There were several us there, all for some type of cancer surgery. The first of many nurses we would all see that day told our loved ones and friends with us that this was the time to leave us in their care. There were hugs and well-wishes in the room and then we were each led to our own, private, curtained-off cubicles. One by one, various medical personnel came to speak to us; anesthetist, surgeon, charge nurse, all with their forms and questions. I could hear a woman in the cubicle across from me softly crying. She was in for a mastectomy. She said through tears to the surgeon, ‘I don’t know if I can look when it’s over.’ I began to pray for this lady. I prayed if she knew Father, she would sense His nearness; I prayed if she didn’t know Him, that through this ordeal something would cause her to seek Him. Throughout the morning I was urged on to pray for the women around me. It was a lovely time of joining Father in His own desires to touch these women. I thanked Him that I know Him and His peace and courage. Thoughts came again to me as I talked things over with Father in my cubicle….’Show me how to use this experience. Help me to help others through this, perhaps to show them the way to You.’ That familiar joy quitely bubbled inside at the thought of opportunities that might come as a result of all this. What a mission field. I thanked Father again that no matter what happens to us on this earth, nothing at all is wasted with Him and indeed, He uses all the bad in our lives to show up His own goodness and then, blesses us in that goodness too. Only a true and living and amazing God can take the terrible and create wonderful.
At the appointed time I was prepared for my turn in the operating room. I was given tight, white socks to aid with circulation…designer leggings I told my nurse. We laughed. She asked me what I do for my work, so as I was being rolled under large lights, I told them about life in Central Asia. There was lots of activity around me; heart monitor attached, oxygen, an IV line in my left hand. The anesthetist says, ‘this might feel cold.’ She was injecting a milky-looking fluid. I said, ‘Ive wondered if I’ll really go to sleep.’ ‘Oh, you’ll be asleep,’ she assured. The next words I heard were, ‘Vickie, wake up, it’s over.’ Amazing! An hour an a half had seemed a few seconds. It was over. The surgeon walks in then. She gives me a double thumbs up. ‘The sentinel node was negative for cancer cells,’ she tells me. The sentinel node is like the gateway from the lymph nodes under the arm which, if cancer cells had reached this point, could have carried the cancer cells to other parts of the body. She explains the tumor area was deeper than she had realized so she incised deeply but removed all the cancer affected area and cleared the margins. That tissue is now in the lab being scrutinized for types of cancer cells. I’ll go back in two weeks and then be told the Stage of cancer I’m in and the plan of treatment, meaning chemotherapy and radiation or radiation alone. Since there was no cancer found in the sentinel node it is very likely I may only have to have radiation therapy.
I’m with dear friends through the week-end (I didn’t have to stay in the hospital as no drains had needed to be inserted) and am being well looked after. I’m having dog therapy here too which is always helpful! 🙂 I’m not to drive for a couple or weeks or lift heavy objects. I’m feeling very well, very little pain, and sleeping well too. Thank you everyone. Each of you are appreciated more than my words can tell.