I took the day off because I couldn’t think straight and am a bundle of emotions. My stomach was tied in knots thinking about today’s procedure. I was told to expect six injections into my nipples that will place a radioactive tracer into my ducts. The tracer will find its way to the lymph nodes and the closest ones to the tumor will be identified tomorrow through dye and a device that will pick up the radioactivity. The nodes closest to the tumor will be the ones they cut out and examine for more cancer. I pray that my cancer has not spread. If they find cancer in the sentinal nodes, they will take the rest of my nodes in my arm. My mom lost most of her lymph nodes because when she had her surgery, sentinal node biopsies were non existent.
We’ve come a long way but apparently not far enough to figure out how to spare women (and men) the pain from this radiocactive tracer procedure. Several studies note that when this procedure is done, on the universal pain scale of 1 to 10, most women rate it a 9 when no pain/ numbing agent is used. When pain prevention is given, patients rate their pain level between a 3 and 4. That is a huge difference no matter how long the pain lasts. I did have numbing cream and I have to believe that even if it didn’t work from a clinincal standpoint, the mind over matter worked for me. While painful, the burn only lasted a few minutes and the radiologist and tech were great getting me through the ordeal. I had a total of 7 injections and was done in about 10 minutes. The stress building up to this exhausted me and now it’s time to prepare for tomorrow.
My parents arrived tonight and this was a relief. I know that I will get through this and had some clarity later today that this is the right thing to do.
I will try to update via facebook tomorrow after I’m out of surgery. If I am not, I will have Paul log in and let you all know how it went.
Keep the prayers coming. They helped get me through this test today and will help tomorrow too.