|Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN|
We headed down to Rochester on Tuesday afternoon so we could be there bright and early for Kate's round of doctor appointments on Wednesday. After we'd gotten to town and found some dinner, Kate suggested we go find a liquor store so we could have a goodbye party for her breast. I was a bit taken aback, Kate rarely drinks, but was happy to drive her there. We walked in, and I started looking at the wines and fruit beers. Kate headed straight for the whiskey. I recalibrated, and we ended up with a great tequila and peach/raspberry Grand Marnier. We headed back to the hotel and had a fine toast to thank her body for carrying her this far.
Wednesday's appointments were much less stressful than those for the previous surgery; dare I say they were routine? We'll cut here, these are the risks, these are the benefits, are you sure you have considered this option? No party on Wednesday night; reality had sunk in and alcohol had no appeal. None. We had a quiet night.
Her surgery was first of the day on Thursday, which meant we got to be at the hospital with the dawn; our check-in time was 5:45. We got there on time, she was properly in the systems so check-in was painless, and then we got to wait. They took her downstairs about 7:30, and I promptly ran out for coffee (it seemed a little rude to pick it up before then and drink it in front of her...).
They started operating just before nine, and that's when the day got long and I suddenly wished I'd thought to have someone come down for the day. I could have used some moral support; someone to talk to and to help stop the nightmare litany running through my head listing all the bad things that can come out of surgery. (Even routine surgery that doesn't involve chopping off body parts.) I found a quiet corner to curl up in and a jigsaw puzzle to distract me. It helped, but then I went to grab a bite of lunch and when I came back, someone had picked up the puzzle and put all the pieces back in the box. I didn't have the heart to start over again, so I sat back and closed my eyes and tried to think positively. It didn't work so well.
Fortunately for my overactive imagination, surgery went smoothly and they finished right on schedule. It took over an hour for her to come up to her room from recovery, but when I finally laid eyes on her again, I was pleasantly surprised. She wasn't nauseous in the least.
From then until now, recovery has been smooth. Despite her chemo-ridden body, it's been smoother than last time; far better than either of us had dared to hope It turns out that if you never get nauseous, don't mess up tissue by digging for lymph nodes and don't get a massive butt bruise so you can't sleep comfortably, you recover more quickly.
She's still on a steady dose of pain meds, and will be until her drain comes out later this week, but other than that, she's already rarin' to go. At her insistence, we went for a slow 2 mile walk yesterday, and when we got back, she was tired but felt better for having gotten out. She hadn't overdone it at all. We won't talk of the state of my nerves - I was sure, after the first few blocks, that she was going to keel over and then I'd have to explain to the imaginary jury why I'd gone along with her idea to get out just three days post-surgery. I was glad to be wrong.
This week, we just wait for her to recover. Her marvelous friends have again signed up to bring food, so that's off the worry list. Her hair has begun to come back in; there's a black stubbly shadow on her previously bald head. Her energy has begun to return, I think she has turned the corner on this battle. (insert huge sigh of relief!)