Monday, October 27, 2008

I Had My Ductogram & Biopsy Today

Last Friday I had some pre-surgical testing, which was no big deal.  Basically, they asked a bunch of questions, I filled out the paperwork that I would have had to fill out today, had some blood drawn to check blood counts and pregnancy (no babies here any time soon), etc.

That made this morning much easier.  I did not have to fill out any paperwork and I had a map with directions of where to go in the hospital.

I got there at 7:00 am, which as I am NOT a morning person, this was a challenge for me.

We checked in at the front, they strapped my hospital bracelet on my wrist and sent me with my paperwork to Ambulatory Surgery. 

I got there and handed my paperwork to the nurse behind the counter.  She told me to have a seat and as I turned to do so, my mom and I spotted my neighbor!

He was there with his eldest son for his colonoscopy.  I laughed and said we could have carpooled.  We did not tell them the real reason I was there, we just called it a procedure.  I didn’t want to deal with that so early, especially when other than the blogosphere, only my mom, step-dad and my closest friends knew about it before the surgery.

They called me back to a little cubicle after a while and got me started with all the questions, an IV and changed into a gown.  I was grateful to keep my pants on because it was so cold in there.  They weighed me and then shortly after I was wheeled down to the Ductogram.

If you recall, the Ductogram was the procedure I was not nervous about.  I knew that they were going to insert a needle and inject me with a dye.  I did not, however, expect it to be torture.

I have had a tattoo and laser hair removal.  To me neither hurt.  The mammogram I had a month ago did not hurt either. 

This hurt.  On a scale of 1 – 10, the total pain for the entire process, I would say was a 6, but I have a high tolerance for pain.  The rest of the world might say it was an 8.

It did not hurt through the entire process, which was about an hour, it just hurt at times.  Let me tell you what they did. 

They sprayed a pain reducer and then sanitized the area.  The doctor squeezed the nipple to extract the discharge in order to find the duct that was affected.  She continuously tried to insert a small, blunt edge needle into the duct.  It took her about 15 tries before it went in and that smarted.

Then they taped everything to me, including the syringe so that they could continue to inject more dye.  They took about 20 images via mammogram at various angles.  At that point, it was just the typical discomfort of the paddles.  When they had to move the needle to get it out of the image toward the end that really hurt.  I don’t normally make any noise when in pain, I just cringe.  I yelped.

They took the last few images and then went to read them.  The needle had already fallen out.  I was starting to get nauseous, though.  From the pain, lack of food and water and from being tired.

They came back and declared they found an area of concern, so they put me back in the paddles, however, this one had an opening on top.  They sterilized the area and injected a local anesthetic.  They inserted 2 wires to mark the areas and then 2 other thin wires I think looked like antenna.  They then took a few more images (I think I had my breast smashed about 40 times).  They removed the antenna ones before doing these images, though. 

Finally, that was done.  They cleaned me up (there was some blood) and bandaged me.  They got me back in the wheel chair and we headed up to the little cubicle again.  My mom was with and she said I looked red in the face.  I am a pasty girl, so red is unusual.  I said I felt nauseous. 

I started to get emotional at this point.  I was hungry, extremely thirsty, tired, nauseated, my IV line was uncomfortable and I was nervous.  I knew I had to have surgery.  I did not want surgery.

I sat with my mom for a few minutes before anyone came so I was able to wipe the few tears away and calm down.  The doctor came and went over the images, signed my shoulder (apparently the wires sticking out of me were not enough to indicate which side was to be operated on) and brought in the anesthesiologist.  He was super nice.  I told him I was nauseous and he went over what he was going to do. 

The nurses came in and put my lovely green cap on and we headed down to surgery.  I wasn’t nervous at this point.  I was just tired.  I trusted it would be fine and I was ok.  I was talking to the anesthesiologist about the Kindle when I started to fade.

Next thing I knew I was being wheeled into the cubicle for recovery.  The surgery was scheduled for 10, but it was closer to 11:00, which my surgeon was not happy about.  She was obviously annoyed when they took me for the Ductogram because she kept asking them about timing.

Since it was late, I was not out of recovery until after 1:00.  I was home by 2:30. 

I’m okay right now.  I have a bandage around my breasts.  If you’ve seen someone after a boob job, that’s what I look like.  Just without the large breasts.  They gave me a prescription for painkillers.  I took 1 around 4:00 and it knocked me out for an hour.  I don’t have pain, just some discomfort.  I’m not allowed to lift anything over 15 lbs for a few days, no vacuuming (I get a cleaning reprieve - YAY) and no shower for a day (I’ll just have to stink). 

I have to sleep on my back, which is going to be difficult.  I’m a stomach or right side sleeper.  I can’t do that with my stitches.  Hopefully, the pain meds will knock me out.

I will find out Friday or Monday what the results are.  They removed a small green grape sized piece from my duct.  My surgeon said she hoped to know by Friday, but the pathology department can get overwhelmed.  She will call me then and I have to go see her in a week.

I will let you all know what I find out.  Thank you all so much for all your support, prayers and well wishes.  It really means a lot to me.

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