Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pre-Op, Post-Op: It's All Good!

To digress slightly, there have been some medical appointments as of late that have seemingly come in a pack of 3 - like socks, iTune gift cards and a really nice set of pens.

Doctors, follow-up appointments, pre-op surgical consultations and the post-chemo early Herceptin Echocardiogram to make sure the 'ol ticker is still in good shape has been on the menu. A cornucopia (excuse the Fall, but timely reference), of all-important appointments in the land of cancer and surgery.

First stop, Dr. Grafton, my general surgeon, whom I see every 3 months for the post-mastectomy show-and-tell where she inevitably brings another professional into the room to say the predictable "See, isn't this wonderful? Look at that!" And she doesn't, at all, do this out of the need to boast or brag about her uber-surgeon-skillful-work but rather, to connect with her patients and show her sensitivity towards the aftermath of a double-mastectomy. And also as usual for her was the mid-sentence conversation we had the second she walked through the door - "So, I just came home at 1:00 this morning, guys because I had to go back East on a college tour for my oldest..." aaannnnd we're off! Accompanying her was my 'Nurse Navigator' (I do not make these titles up!) whom I call my 'Nurse GPS' - Tammy Stockero from the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara (LUV her!!) who happened to be in Dr. Grafton's office so she popped in on the post-mastectomy-surgical-party! 20 minutes later, we were all laughing, joking and hugging-it-out and forgetting all about the Big C!

Next stop, was my pre-op final breast reconstruction appointment with the ever-talented Dr. Julio Soares, plastic surgeon. Yep, the time has fallen upon me as I'm going in to get these #$%&!# breast expanders and magnet ports removed once and for all and to have the new FDA approved breast implants, AKA, the 'New Girls' (which I've already named), take up residence in my post-mastectomy chest. FDA regulated this, 425cc's that, skin sparing this, blah, blah surgical-talk blah. BUT....the silver lining (yes, that's how I'm calling it) is that this is my final surgery and BOOOONUUUSSS.... I got thrown in a complimentary Latisse eyelash prescription treatment (my other choice was Botox - noooo thanks!) to help these chemo affected eyelashes grow and thicken. But in all seriousness, my appointment with Dr. Soares goes as it always does - with sensitivity, kindness, respect and a heart-to-heart about the breast cancer journey. And as always, Dr. Soares and Hil get into a deep but enthusiastic convo about cameras, lenses, lighting, megapixels, filters and the like, all the while I stand there getting my breasts measured with some cold metal instrument as he declares my numbers for the nurse to record. AHEM.... helllllooo people, I'm in a gown, with it opened in the front - can we move the Canon 60D dialogue along and out into the hallway?! Yeah, thanks!

Last stop, was my post-chemo, 6-month cardiac follow-up with my previous technician Kim who loves to distract my wooshy doppler ultrasound experience with stories about her teenage daughter and the challenges of pubescent technology and the lack of face-to-face communication (and I thought breast cancer was a challenge? - ha!). But, 30 minutes later, she said I had a "beautiful heart" and that there was absolutely nothing for me to be concerned about. So, we bid each other adieu with a "See ya in 6 months!" and that was that. But, all in all, it was good to know that the Herceptin hasn't done a thing to my favorite bodily organ! And in fact, laying in the dim light on a massage-like table was kind of like taking a mid-afternoon nap which apparently me and my heart needed.

In the end, I hope to marvel at the new me. Walk proud. Be courageous in all matters of importance and carry on as if this were a tiny blip on the radar screen of my life. Can I hear a big Woot! Woot! please?!