So today I had a follow-up mammogram on my left breast, first one since my diagnosis and right breast mastectomy, and it was all clear! Not even anything suspicious. I also had my surgical drain removed. And that's the story I want to tell you. I should be jumping for joy and clicking my heels together, right? Well I am in so many ways. But there are parts that are bittersweet. Like today.
Two weeks ago I had a second surgery at my mastectomy site because somehow I was the lucky one out of, I don't know, a million? I developed a seroma, which is a pocket formed of fibrous tissue that continuously fills with and retains fluid. My surgeon watched it, and aspirated every 3 or 4 weeks. This has been going on since January. So when I finished chemo we decided on a second surgery to remove the problem. That was the one that was done two weeks ago.
So today was my big day. Lemme tell you, I was a big baby at the drain removal. It was irritated at the skin site and I was so afraid it would hurt when it was pulled out. I told her so and I asked for lidocaine. She said of course I could have a shot of lidocaine....but...it would only be the second one she has given for a drain removal in all her years as a surgeon. Of course you know what that said to me, in my own voice in my own head? Really Marianne? So I answered, "OK, OK, OK. I trust you. I don't need it." And she breathed me through it so kindly.
"Breathe in. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Now on the third one breathe in and then blow the tube out."
And then... I birthed that damn drain tube!
I felt nothing. At all. She was right. Again.
At the end of my appointment she asked me what was next. I told her radiation and Arumidex. She said that I'd be ready for radiation in about 2 weeks. That was great news because I so long to be done.
And then she said, "Well you're off the hook. You're done with us here."
WTF? NOOOOOOOO! It was the first time this truth actually dawned on me. It hadn't even crossed my mind that I wouldn't be coming in here once a month. I had really grown to look forward to these appointments. The people in the surgery department, all of them, have made me feel...Happy. Safe. Heard. The schedulers. The receptionists. The nurses...
And, my surgeon. I fell in love with my surgeon the night following my very first meeting with my team when I received her email that ended with, "...and while you wait for your surgery, take long walks and bless yourself often." There are just some people that you meet that do things right (for you) and become part of the life you love like you've known them forever. There are just some people that hold a very special place.
We exchanged a hug and a few words about dropping in to say hi. About staying in touch.
And on the way home I began to laugh a little bit at my episode of chicken in the office. And then before I knew it tears were quietly rolling down my cheeks. I will miss seeing her regularly. She's an amazing doctor. And now she's a friend. And it's all so bittersweet.