On the day of my lumpectomy I needed to be at Royal Perth Hospital for an 8 am appointment at Nuclear Medicine, for a Lymphoscintigraphy so we set off at 6.45 to allow for traffic. My breast was injected with a radioactive substance that maps the drainage from the tumour in my breast and shows up which Lymph Node it will drain to first, this way while you are being operated on they can take that Node named the Sentinel Node and check that along with any others they think they should check, to make sure no cancer has spread to them. I am not going to lie, the injection stings and goes on stinging for a little while after, but it is not that bad. You lie still for five minutes while the scanner takes its images, then another five for the side view. I was worried it would be claustrophobic but even though it is quite close to your face your head is out and you can stare out the window or count sheep to keep you occupied.
I didn’t need to be at the surgery ward till 11.30 so we went and had coffee with our son Scott and his wife Dani who live very close to Royal Perth Hospital. Well Allan had coffee, I was fasting so had to just sniff the fumes and watch. Scott makes the best coffee. He was so passionate about good coffee, he did a baristas course some years back and gave us all lessons. Consequently, we are all coffee addicts and very fussy about a good cup. Allan’s mum has been moved to an aged care hospital a little further up the road, so after we left Scott and Dani we called in there to have a quick visit as I wasn’t sure how long it would be before we got down there again. Even though aged care facilities are necessary as families don’t always have the nursing skills to care for elderly relatives at home, it must be hard on the patient. The staff are generally friendly and when they deal daily with older folk who may not be in very good shape mentally, you can understand a certain amount of complacency, but, Mum has all her faculties and is just frail in her body, so to be stuck in a loud room lined up in a wheel chair with a dozen others to watch a television that you have no chance of hearing must be in total contrast to whatever lifestyle you had eeked out for yourself through the years before your incarceration. One old gentleman asked me to help get him up, I was nervous to assist as I wasn’t sure if I was radio active, so said I would get a staff member. They assured me his trolley wasn’t all connected and didn’t bother to go and see what he wanted. Very frustrating, if your trolley is in fact connected and you just cant get the body going. We sat outside in the forty degrees for a while with Mum, who doesn’t like air-conditioning, then left her with Allan’s niece Diane who has been driving down from Joondalup every day to see her Nan. What a blessing it is to have a big family.
We arrived at the hospital and after checking me in I sent Allan home to have a sleep.
Twiggy eat your heart out
My surgeon came to examine me and was shocked that the tumour had grown quite considerably since she had last seen me. Still, they prepared me for surgery, sexy circulation stockings and backless gown, and I spent the time waiting chatting to the girl in the bed next to me. She had been fighting cancer for thirteen years, had multiple sites throughout her body, but still had a very positive attitude. She was just having the old port for her chemo removed as she now took tablets. What an inspiration, she made me feel that my breast tumour wasn’t so bad after all.