Today I was anything BUT a model patient, so I'm feeling a bit like a fraud. Just ask my sweet husband and sister, Haley, who has traveled in from Alabama to help me this week. We spent the bulk of our day at Medical City Frisco for my last phase of reconstruction surgery. Turns out I am awful at fasting and my surgery wasn't until 3:00 pm. Normally I would have politely petitioned for a morning start time, but since this procedure was somewhat hastily scheduled (due to my cancer-positive lymph node) I was grateful that the plastic surgeon worked me into his busy schedule. By the late afternoon I was just plain hangry. With each hour that passed it seemed my tongue became sharper and sharper with sass just desperate to tear into some food.
Since I couldn't eat or drink all day I thought it would be a bright idea to keep my body busy. Sitting around tends to make me even hungrier, so this morning Haley and I embarked on a four-mile long jaunt along Katy Trail to occupy our time. It was a scorching 90 degree day. I figured it would help keep my mind off food. What it actually did was dehydrate me and shrivel up my veins. So when it came time to hook me up to an IV for meds and anesthesia, I was in trouble. After several unsuccessful and terribly painful pricks to my forearm and hand, I was feeling pretty agitated. The kind nurses reassured me that chemo was partly to blame for my ghastly veins, either way I was not a happy camper.
I was also a complete stress ball all day. In my mind I knew that this surgery had to be a piece of cake compared to what I endured three weeks ago with my double mastectomy, but it didn't matter. The sandman still haunted me last night with dreadful dreams. Before bed, Haley and I watched a brief interview on Extra with the doctors from the E! show Botched, then we watched the funny (but somewhat dark and disturbing) indie flick Sunshine Cleaning. What was I thinking? These were both terrible choices of programming before my big day. Why hadn't I oped for something safe like Little House on the Prairie? Too late. I know it was not by coincidence that my dreams included gore and scenarios of things gone awry. In fact, when I was dressing for the hospital today I took off my blouse and saw a streak of what appeared to be dried blood across my chest. My heart stopped for a moment as I assessed the area. Luckily it ended up to be dried dark chocolate- one of my many foodie vices. Did I mention I hate to fast?
Though I wasn't a pleasant patient today, my doctors were amazing which is all that really counts. They asked me to drop my robe, marked me up with a sharpie like a cruel sorority hazing ritual, wheeled me into the OR then quickly knocked me out and got to work. I came home just hours after going under the knife and though I'm sore and wearing a hideous orthopedic bra, it feels good to have yet another medical milestone behind me. Even as I look in the mirror now I can see a semblance of who I was before embarking on this journey. I've got a head full of newly sprouted hair, my feminine shape has returned (and is honestly better thanks to my skilled physicians) and I've certainly got a spring in my step. But I will never be the same. Breast cancer has forever marked me for both the better and the worse. Now let me check my attitude and get back to being a model patient.