Thursday, 12 December 2013

Part One: The Unknown

There was an itch, I scratched it and suddenly 2013 became a trial I just didn’t to face. The dogs constantly barked, I was completely broke and my discovery turned my world upside down.
There was a lump in my right breast.
An appointment with a female doctor and then a referral to the imaging clinic later I saw the lump in an ultrasound as I shivered under the cold of the air conditioning.
“You’re gonna need a biopsy” they said. And so the drama began.
First attempt: Rinda came with me. She held my hand and told me it’s okay as I tried to fly off the examination table when the doctor tried to bring a needle near me while I was dosed but not doped on 3 sedatives. Instead of a biopsy I had a second ultrasound. It had grown
“You really need to have a biopsy” they pressed. The drama continued.
Second attempt: I took 3 sleeping tablets expecting that since people of much bigger build than me got knocked out on one. I asked a friend to come in so once I was asleep he could carry me to the appointment and I wouldn’t know a thing. The biopsy could be performed with me completely out of it. But like the sedatives, the overdose on sleeping tablets didn’t work.  Instead I was wired. As soon as the doctor saw me awake he laughed. He knew nothing was going be achieved that day either. The needles got brought out by the sonographer only to be put back by the doctor. I felt worse about wasting everyone’s time this round as not only had I not gone through with the biopsy again but my friend had driven 100km to come into town only to have him just sit in the waiting room while everyone dealt with my fear. The third ultrasound showed that the lump had changed.
“Maybe it’s better if I get gassed and get the rotten thing cut out?” The doctor agreed.
It took a while but a consult with the surgeon was arranged where she and I debated over the use of gas. She was against it while I was against being without it.
Soon enough a letter came through telling me when my operation in Darwin is. The dogs care arranged, Mum and Peter’s flight and accommodation booked and time taken off work, D-Day approached.
A week before I lay in bed thinking about what awaits me. I burst into tears and sobbed myself to sleep. I’m only 28, I don’t want to die. I want to live a full and happy life. I want to see my nieces grow up. I want to ride my horses, run my dogs, pet my cows. I didn’t want to be too weak to do anything. Too lifeless to hold my head up. I wanted none of what could be. And I certainly didn’t want surgery. But it had to be done.
“Well, you don’t have any major allergies and you’re fit and healthy, you won’t need to see the anaesthetist,” the Sister decided in my pre-admission .
“No, I would really like to speak to the anaesthetist please”, I was firm, but I needed to be, things were going to be done my way or not at all.
“The gas will knock you right out, I assure you” said the anaesthetist with a sweet disposition. I hoped she wasn’t filing my head with rubbish.
And so here goes, the following Monday. All gowned up and waiting to go. Surrounded by nurses, my surgeon and the anaesthetist.
“Gas, gas, gas and more gas” I stressed. Despite me being a handful everyone handled it really well and with such professionalism.
“Just breathe, deep breathes, you’ll be fine”.
“Time to wake up now!” says a chirpy voice beside me. What the hell?
“You can’t be serious? It’s all done?” I asked.
“Yes, it’s all over. I’m Wendy, your recovery nurse.
Relief just swept over me. It was gone. For now it was over. I was on a hiatus of a large amount of stress.
Getting the canula out was my final operation hurdle. I struggled to let the nurse pull it out so instead I pulled all the tape off myself in my own good time and left her to pull out the straw while I winced and cried.
I left the hospital with Mum by my side. Results on the lump were at least a week away.
So the wait began.

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