Where we say goodbye to Schmidty, part 2

Not to worry, I totally did not forget that I left you hanging about my surgery to forcibly evict Schmidity from his resting place in my breast. In case you don’t feel like clicking that link, in our last episode, I prepped for surgery by worrying about what I was supposed to wear and bring the day of and trying to eat as much as I possibly could the night before so I wouldn’t wake up hungry. Key takeaways: comfy clothes and Gremlins.

Anywho, the day of the operation went on without a hitch. Basically it’s a lot of “hurry up and wait.” I showed up with my mom to the surgery clinic in the morning, signed in, and waited to be called to register and get my ID bracelet. Then I waited some more before being escorted to the pre-op staging area by the nicest hospital volunteer ever. He was a Korean War vet and noticed that my listed ethnicity was ‘Korean’ (I totally saw him reading my form) and when he called me up, he started practicing the Korean phrases he learned on my mom. And he was pretty good! Great, another non-Korean person who speaks Korean better than me. We both had a good laugh and he shared a few more stories while we made our way to the holding area. He showed me to my bed and left me to myself business as I completely undressed (so much for wearing my good pair of panties, right? I know I’m not the only one who makes sure to wear her good panties at doctor’s appointments) and put on the hospital gown where your naked butt hangs out if you don’t hold it correctly. I had to take another pregnancy test, which was interesting because, remember, I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink after midnight because of the gremlin thing. Okay, it’s because of the anesthesia thing but whatever. Gremlin sounds more fun.

So I waited some more. While I waited, the nurses began to prep me for surgery, attaching several monitoring things on my body and finger, wrapped my legs with some weird pressure cuff, and inserted the IV needle in preparation for the anesthesia. For a moment my mind drifted to my Dad and how he was always hooked up to machines and wondered what he felt as they prepped him for his transplant when I was distracted by Santa Claus. I kid you not. I heard the Korean Vet say something about Santa and another hospital volunteer walked by and I thought, how cute, they nicknamed him Santa because he as a beard. That’s when I saw Santa round the corner. In full gear. I nearly died from the absurdity.

There’s really nothing to do but sit and listen to what’s going on, so I eavesdropped on the conversations happening around my bed. A few beds down, I heard a surgeon talking to a patient about his surgery and I thought he sounded an awful lot like Greg Proops. It wasn’t until my surgeon popped into my area to check up on me that I realized Greg Proops WAS my surgeon! I had been trying to place his voice since we met and I’m glad I didn’t figure it out until then and this made me glad I would be out for the surgery because otherwise I might have trouble taking him seriously.

I got word that the previous surgery was being cancelled and mine would be moved up and there was suddenly a flurry of activity at my bed. I was introduced to my “surgical team:” the RNs and my anesthesiologist (who I made jokes with about wanting to simply wake up at the end), and was prepped for the IV and then waited with my mom, who was called back by then, to get marked up by my surgeon. Then before I knew it, the anesthesiologist injected the sedative into my IV and I was pushed down the hall.

Then this happened:


There may or may not have been dancing fairies and a maypole.

The sedative worked quickly. I’m not sure how far I made it, I know I looked back at my mom as I was wheeled down the hall and I think I remember seeing some kind of operating room but I honestly can’t tell if I actually made it there or if I was remembering the clip from Brenda’s surgery on 90210. Either way, I woke up in recovery with an ice pack on my chest and a nurse checking my vitals, mumbling instructions. Then my surgeon came in and said something about something (I don’t know why they are so intent on talking to you while you’re waking up from the anesthesia).  Then I was wheeled in the last waiting room to make sure everything was kosher before getting the all clear to change and head home.

Thankfully I wasn’t in too much pain following the surgery, nothing a little ice and Vicodin couldn’t fix and I was more excited that I was able to start weening myself off the pain meds the following Wednesday. I was determined to be better since I had a date that Friday with one of my college roommates to tour Alcatraz.

Yeah, I scheduled an outing the week of surgery. I’m that girl.

But in all, I’m glad I did finally opt for surgical removal. It feels good that I don’t have to worry about Schmidty (and the scar I have isn’t so bad!) anymore and I’m believing in God that there won’t be any juniors running around either.

Where we say goodbye to Schmidty, part 1

I made it through my surgery on Monday and Schmidty has been forcibly evicted from my body. I’m recovering at home, helped along by an ice pack and a prescription of vicodin. I don’t know what the incision looks like since the bandage that’s in place practically covers my entire breast and as curious as I am to see it, I’m too scared to peel back the bandage so unless it falls off between now and my post-op appointment I’ll have to just wonder about how it looks.

Since this was my first surgery, the days leading up to it was kind of a mystery. I had a ton of questions mostly surrounded around how to prepare, because I like being prepared like a Boy Scout. What can I expect the day of? What about pain meds? Will I be prescribed something or did I need to buy some OTC? And if so, which kind? What kind of anesthesia was I going to have? How “out” was I going to be? When can I play badminton again (yes, badminton. Sounds weird and random but I decided to play again. Two weeks before my surgery. I never said my timing was the greatest)? What do I wear? I mean, what was I supposed to wear? I couldn’t imagine wanting to zip up a pair of jeans afterwards and dressing super cute seemed a bit misguided. So I did the logical thing: I Googled “what to wear to surgery” which helped me to relax about the one thing I could control: what I wore.

I traded a few emails with my surgeon and discussed a few more of my questions with the anesthesiologist who assured me that I would not see or feel anything. Apparently the setup would be similar to what was shown in that clip from 90210, with a curtain like thing separating my head from the rest of my body so I wouldn’t be able to actually watch what happened. My goal was to get my medication and then wake up in recovery like I did when I got my wisdom teeth pulled. The anesthesiologist said that was what would most likely happen.

I received my appointment time last Wednesday, yes, right before Thanksgiving, and was given this list of things to bring/do that was basically the same as the lists I had previously Googled:

1. Bring my medical card and photo ID
2. Bring a method of payment
3. Come completely natural: no makeup, lotion, deodorant, nail polish, etc
4. Leave valuables at home (no jewelry, including piercings)
5. Wear something comfortable
6. Do not eat or drink after midnight (because I’m a gremlin?). This includes gum and candy. If I needed to take any medication the day of surgery, I can take them with a sip of water. And they are totally not kidding about the sip.

All that was left at this point was to sit and wait. My mom would be taking me to the hospital the day of and based on my prior conversations with the surgeon, this would be an out-patient surgery so I estimated I’d be there for about 5-6 hours before coming back home. Easy peasy right? A few people asked me if I was nervous or scared and I honestly didn’t feel much of anything. I wasn’t nervous or scared because, well, I knew things would turn out fine and it was something that needed to be taken cared of anyway. I had prayed about it on my own and again the Sunday before with my Pastor and felt covered. To be honest, I was kind of weirdly looking forward to it. I don’t know why but that is kind of within character for me. Who looks forward to getting cut and stitched back up? Why can’t I be normal?!

You’ve grown on me…

I don’t remember when I first happened upon the lump in my breast but I do remember waiting a bit before finally getting checked out. Silly, yes, especially considering what we know about the risks of breast cancer and what not, but I think I was a bit afraid of what it could be and kind of told myself it wasn’t a big deal. I did such a great job that I forgot it was there.

It wasn’t until two years ago, that my current doctor noticed the lump and finally made me confront the issue. She was fairly certain it was only a fibroademona, a benign tumor, and scheduled me for a fine-needle aspiration to see if her assumption was correct. My appointment was scheduled the day Michael Jackson died. Freaky, eh? So whenever someone asks me where I was when I heard the news, I get to say I was on my way to get a needle stuck in my breast. Yay! Anywho, the biopsy wasn’t too bad. The doctor was older and very to the point, swooping in to stick a skinny little needle into the lump and give me his preliminary diagnosis (a fibroadenoma) and reassure me that it wasn’t cancer, won’t turn into cancer, and didn’t occur because I was hit really hard in my breast (really? That was an option?) before slapping on a band-aid, handing me a pamphlet (“So You Have a Fibroadenoma…” totally kidding, I don’t remember the name of the pamphlet), and sending me on my merry way.

Up until this point, my only other exposure to a fibroadenoma was a “very special episode” of Beverly Hills 90210:

I will go through everything that is wrong with this depiction in a future post. Possibly with John Madden like telestrations. Oh yes I maybe will!

I had a few questions: what did this mean? How did it get there? What do I do now? Why does Wikipedia refer to them as “breast mice?” WTH, why are there mice in my boobs?! My options for treatment was either take a “wait and see” approach or opt for removal. I picked the path of least resistance (and admittedly, the easier choice of the two) and kept an eye (or hand…hehe) on it. Fast forward to September of this year and the bf started asking questions about it, seemingly concerned about its apparent growth and my disturbingly nonchalant attitude. With his prodding, I returned to my doctor who repeated her concerns with the growth and scheduled me for an ultrasound.

This is where things flipped into light speed: My OB-GYN appointment was on a Friday. She scheduled my ultrasound for three hours(!) later, where the ultrasound tech and doctor both didn’t like what they saw and requested a surgery consult, which ended up being scheduled the following Monday. There, I had a core needle biopsy for a final test to make sure nothing’s changed. I received the test results a day or so later and ended with a tentatively scheduled surgery for its removal (apparently they like to remove them when it’s 4cm long. Mine was 5cm. Even my tumors are over-achievers!). A week later I was back in for a pre-op consult where we discussed the procedure and possible complications, two weeks after that I was back to do some blood work for my labs, including a mandatory pregnancy test (I was really tempted to text the bf, “Guess what? I’m NOT pregnant!” but I figured my humor might not go over too well) and a few days after that, spoke with the anesthesiologist about what to expect for surgery.

The thought of having surgery is a little daunting to wrap my mind around. Of course there is the obvious, cosmetic concerns: the scarring, how will my breast look post-surgery (I’m not that well-endowed and at this point, the lump (ooh, double brackets! Anyway, I’ve resisted the urge to name the lump but I can’t hold out any longer: I shall call him “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,” but I think I’ll call him Schmidty for short) makes up a small chunk of my breast) and the really important concerns: will I lose feeling in that nipple? Will I be able to breastfeed normally post-surgery. Both of those latter questions are unknowns. It really just depends and I’m the first person the surgeon’s operated on that hasn’t already had kids so up until this point, he hasn’t come across that concern before. Dammit Schmidty!

Oh yeah, that name just paid for itself. IT’S GOLD!

But I’m confident in God that everything will be just fine. I’m covered by Him and will all turn out well. I’m already blessed that it’s not cancer! So hey, point for me.

There’s so much more to say but I won’t say it all now because that would make this one insanely long post about my breast and that’s kind of weird. But I do plan on sharing more of my experience as things wrap up because it’s a narrative that should be shared. So get prepared to know more than you ever needed to know about my boob.

Boom.