Saturday, 6 September 2014

Node Nonsense

N.B: This post was written in August

So as I’m having chemotherapy before my surgery, they need to take out a few of the nodes closest to the breast to check for cancer spread (eeek). This is called a sentinel lymph node biopsy. If was having surgery first they would remove these nodes at the same time. The word biopsy gave me a false sense of security that made me think it would be a half hour job like the biopsy on my breast lump and off I trot. Wrong.

I was planning to try and have a small holiday before it all kicked off, however when the softly spoken consultant told me I’d need to have an op three days after the appointment I had with her, that put paid to that. It’s a day case op with a general anaesthetic where they cut through muscle and nerves under your arm to get to the nodes, remove them and examine them under a microscope. Not quite the biopsy I had in mind.

So the day of the op I had to be there at 7.30am even though I wasn’t being operated on until the afternoon. The highlight of my morning was having to go and have a radioactive substance injected in to my boob which really bloody hurt! And it didn’t turn me in to Spiderman either. Bah!

At least I had a bed allocated which means somehow I managed to drop off for half an hour but then spent the rest of the morning getting progressively more anxious. I have a real fear of general anaesthetic. The time spent waiting to be operated on compounded this fear so by the time they came to get me I was in such a state I almost made a run for it. Wouldn’t have been the best in my sexy hospital gown and paper knickers.

When you’re under the anaesthetic, they inject a blue dye in to the breast (yes, yet another injection in to my boob) which along with the radioactive substance injected earlier, helps them to trace the nodes they need to take out. One of the side effects of this blue dye is that it leaves you with a fetching grey tinge for a few hours after the op, but also with smurf-like wee that looks like blue WKD for a few days. Not that I’m a fan a WKD anyway, but don’t think I will look at the stuff in quite the same way again. For the few days after the op I had an overwhelming urge to take a photo of my wee and send it to people, so impressed was I, however I thought it might be bridge too far. The dye also leaves you with an area of blue stain on the breast – a blue tit! Boom, boom.

Anyway, they took four nodes out so now is just the wait for the results.  A regular feature at present!

Update - September

So apparently when you remove even a few nodes, the fluid that would have been passing through them has a bit of a panic and doesn’t know where to go so kind of hangs around. So I have what is called a ‘seroma’ the size of a tennis ball under my arm. Yey! With a gnarly scar across it. Pretty. Nurses wouldn’t go anywhere near it with a needle in case it got infected and delayed the start of my chemotherapy so I have to wait for it to ‘re-absorb’. It’s bloody painful! Especially when I had to go for yet another biopsy and boob squash. Not the most pleasant experience I can tell you!

1 comment:

  1. I wish you'd taken a photo of the blue wee. I'd have appreciated it hahahahaha!!!
    Sarah xx