At least I haven't lost my sarcastic edge after surgery ;)
We arrived at MSKCC at 5:45am on Tuesday to check-in for surgery. They were
ready and waiting for me. I continue to be so impressed by the smooth workings
of the institution, in regards to appointments, communications, etc.
They brought me to the pre-op area where I changed into a gown and those awesome
slippers with the no-slip bottoms. They gave me a garment bag to hand my clothes in and
they tagged it with a sticker from my medical chart. They added it to a rolling garment rack and told us it would be delivered to my room after surgery. Thanks!
The nurse placed an IV after taking vital signs. Reviewed medical history, met with anesthesiologist, then surgical fellow who marked the correct side of my neck for surgery (with a good old sharpie!), and I was good to go by 7am. We hung out until about 7:20, when they came to fetch me. They had me walk myself to the OR and climb up on the table. No taxi service going in.
There were about 9 people in the OR, and everyone introduced themselves and were so nice. My surgeon came in to check on me and he put me right at ease. When they were ready, they started the IV and I was out before the oxygen mask coming towards me even touched my face. Love that part! I woke up seconds later in the PACU, although it was already noon. I dozed in and out for another 4 hours in the recovery room, before being transferred to my room on the 17th floor. I hazily remember my husband visiting me in the recovery room at about 2pm, and that he told me Dr. Wong took out 10-15 lymph nodes instead of just the five he planned from the pre-op ultrasound. Lovely. My cancer just keeps getting bigger and bigger. i always was an overachiever ;)
I had a corner room, overlooking the East River and my old campus of Rockefeller University and the 59th Street Bridge. How strange to be back so close to it all-and looking down at it from Sloan :(
All my nurses and techs were excellent! Thank you to Stephanie, my day RN (three times!) from Jersey City who was just adorable. My night nurse (three times too!) Victoria was fantastic as well. Jen, my day RN one shift, has a brother having knee surgery at Greenwich Hospital this coming Wednesday! Small world. And Lauren, my night tech, was the best of all. I was so grateful for being blessed with a great team. Oh! And the IV tech who took my blood a few times was hysterical. I forget your name, but thanks for the packet of McD's ketchup...it saved that turkey burger for me :)
The worst part of the post-op time was the unbelievably, incredible horrible sore throat I had from being intubated for the four-hour surgery. It took 2 full days before I could swallow somewhat comfortably, even with pain meds. My parents brought Jackson to visit me on Wednesday evening. He climbed in bed with me for a bit, brought me flowers, and then went to eat fried shrimp and french fries with Daddy. Nothing changes!
The neck drain was uncomfortable and ugly, especially the darn tube and collection tub thingie. Yuck. Poor Lauren had the job of emptying that puppy and measuring my output. God bless her! Luckily by Thursday afternoon, the drainage was almost nothing, so I could go home Friday morning. My neck is sore and tired, and starting to turn into a yucky pre-bruised yellowish/greenish color. Can't wait to see the final color palette. The incision is pretty small, considering how far my doc dug back to get those nodes on the right side. He tried very hard to keep the incision small and centered, so he told Michael he "tunneled" his way back to get them all. Ewww. What's cool is that I have no stitches...just glue and steri-strips keeping my neck closed. I'll try
to pat a picture so you can see.
and here was the view from my swanky upper east side junior suite:
I go back next Friday to see the surgeon, have some post-op tests, get the dressing removed from the incision, and hear the final pathology report. Please, please....no more surprises!