This was the little blob that started it all.
If you’ve started the journey on this blog – you might want to start at the beginning – otherwise it might not make sense.
By now my nervous levels were amped and darting all over the place. Was in full corny joke mode and started chatting to my ward neighbours. Did not get to torture everybody for too long because another dude pitched up.
Said good-bye to Chris and watched nervously as we tootled off into the lift and ascended into a part of the hospital I’d never seen before.
Pre-op. It was chilly as hell in there. A nice dude came and tucked a warm blankie-type thing around me. Stopped me shivvering – not sure if it was from the cold or with fear.
Several other people popped up waving forms around, checking my signature, was this mine? Was I sane and of sound mind… huh? Was I ever? Asking questions about nail polish and false teeth and when I last ate. Was I wearing the sexy undies? They gave me another pair of bloomers (okay not really but looked a lot like them) to put on my head.
The anaesthetist was running late and had not pitched up yet. 13h00 came and went. There was a giant-sized clock on the wall so I could see each minute ticking away. At some stage I pulled the bloomers down over my nose and shut the shitty world out.
I so badly wanted to get this whole freaking thing over with.
Eventually the dude pitched up, apologized for being late and the show got on the road. Apparently they like to double check that you are not talking shite and have not lied to the nursing staff. Really? I mean if you do something stupid like eat – it’s your life on the line. Who does that?
A beefy orderly wheeled me into the upstairs bowels of the operating area. Chilly as hell became even chillier. We arrived at the venue. I had to scoot onto an icy slab and feel that I was in the middle – I guess they did not want me rolling around and falling off mid-op now – did they?
There were three bright lights above and it was fucking scary.
My doctor loomed into view. I’d already had a jab of something to make me drowsy and the dude had said sometimes people got truthful. Not me. I just started bitching about how his useless receptionist had booked me for a boob job…
Next thing I knew a nurse was tapping me telling me to wake up.
Everything throbbed and burned and hurt like shit. Tilted my head to check that I still had my whole arm and hand. (Yes really – I had been very worried that they might chop it off in my sleep – stupid hey? Chris laughed like a drain when I told him.)
She asked if I was in pain. Fuck yeah. Took a million years for her to scome back. She rolled me over and jabbed me in the bum. That was sore too.
Lay there looking at the same big clock and realised I’d just lost more than an hour and a half of my life, as well as bits and bobs of body.
Eventually they wheeled me back to the ward. When my eyes lit on my lovely husband they filled with tears and leaked down my face.
My mouth felt like a thousand camels had trekked through it – was finally allowed a sip of water – 17 hours later.
Every little movement hurt like hell. Chris sat there and held my good hand – beaming love and support into my bod. Feeding me with sips of water every so often – it’s a shite feeling when your teeth stick together!
Eventually they brought me supper – at some ungodly early hour of the afternoon. I took one look and decided perhaps not but slurped down some shitty hospital coffee though that tasted fabulous. We waited eagerly for the doctor to appear and give me the all clear to go home.
He arrived, greeting me with “How are you. Sore? I supposed that’s a silly question!” I replied – Fucking silly question! Can I go home now – with some industrial strength pain killers and a sleeping tablet please??
But noooo…. he thought it would be a much better idea for me to stay the night in hospital and my ridiculous husband agreed with him. Better pain control and the nurses could monitor stuff.
Did you ever!
Did not have the strength to argue. Besides I was attached to those voluminous blue knickers – was not ready to hand them over yet. Okay – I lie – was too sore to even contemplate putting clothes on and walking any distance. So I wimped and agreed to stay the night.
Chris went home, promising to bring me pizza (which I had bizarrely been lusting after) for supper later.
I dozed. The pain was quite interesting – and I have a very high threshold for pain. There was a feisty old lady in the corner bed – who was a survivor from the camps in the Second World War. She kept telling the nurses interesting stories and the other two ladies in the ward and I eavesdropped unashamedly.
Chris Whatsapped later and said he was on his way back to the hospital. I texted furiously back and nixed the pizza- a ham and cheese homemade sandwich would be just lovely. True, I’d been lying there in bed, drooling for pizza, but could not for the life of me figure out how I was going to actually sit up and eat it without dripping greasy stuff all over the bed – besides – both arms were sort of incapacitated. One with a drip and the other with a chopped out forearm section and goodness only knows what was going on under my arm. I had yet to see. There was a drain too with an interesting looking concertina type thing attached to some tubing… attached to me.
In fact – I had no arms for the blood pressure thingy – they had to use my leg.
It should go on record – that was THE most delicious sarmie I have ever eaten.
I finally convinced Chris to go home and sleep. He’d had a horrendous day just sitting around worrying about his pain-in-the-ass wife. He was beyond exhausted.
Got doled out two pain killers and a half a sleeping pill around 22h00. Thought yay me – for once in my life I will sleep. Not so. Was awake again at 01h30. Mind you – it’s not very peaceful in hospital. They are always waking you up to poke and prod you and stick things in your ear.
Next morning finally arrived – woofed down the breakfast that the other two ladies looked disparagingly at. It was totally delicious. Chris pitched up bright an early – after all the doctor had said that he’d release me when he did his early morning rounds. Early my backside! He took his own sweet time.
Everything was still sore but bearable. The drain was removed, the hole covered up and I saw that there was an enormous track that had been cobbled up under my arm. I later found out – when the doctor removed the stitches, that they had removed the entire lymph node under my arm. That part of the operation was very much bigger than the excising of the melanoma bit.
Later that night, when I stripped and got into bed, I found this was still attached to my back. We had a good laugh and Chris peeled it off. The wound under my arm was incredibly uncomfortable. The next morning when I showered, I was horrified to discover that the whole of the back of my shoulder and arm was completely numb. Except for the bit above my elbow where it felt like it had pins and needles – sort of.
Apparently this is normal and it takes 3 to 4 months to get the feeling back. A bit of warning would have been nice.
Waiting for the results was just horrible. Everybody was telling me to be positive – but it had not occurred to me that the mole could have been a melanoma in the first place – and I’d been incredibly complacent. So I was not going to make that same mistake. Was cautiously optimistic.
We’d been told he’d give me a call on the Wednesday or Thursday. Life went on and I started driving on Tuesday (the op was the Friday before). Mom needed pills. I do confess, that when I had to go back to the shops on Wednesday because Clicks had messed up mom’s pills and she’d not checked – I had a meltdown. Stomped into my GP’s rooms and demanded to know what had happened to the histology report – who had screwed up and then promptly laid my head on the desk and wept. Then fled . (Called Chris and told him that there should be a support group for people who had to live with their 84 year old mothers, damn near broke my cell phone with all the snot and tears.) It’s not always easy. For any of us. But mom not having her license makes it a little harder. Had to take her a PS- I’m sorry choccy the week after and apologize. At least the waiting room had been empty because I had let rip with some choice words.
On Thursday – 6 days after the op, I emailed Miss Thang at “My doctors” office, reminding her to remind him that he was supposed to call me with the results. Par for the course there was no nice little reply back. She has absolutely no people skills at all.
The doctor called a few hours later and gave me the all clear.
Chris brought home champers that night and we all celebrated. Well not quite. It had been very stressful on everybody – tippy-toeing around a person who was branded with the dreaded C. Once I got the all clear, Emma fell to pieces and had a hissy fit. I could understand it.
On the 4th of June (3 days late because the dude went on holiday – check out the lovely professional emails). I had the stitches out of both places. My arm looks pretty good – specially if you look at it from above. From the side it looks a bit like a lop-sided camel.
The place under my arm is not half as neat. Think whoever sewed that up was practicing to be an upholsterer. In fact, I’m sure they used the opportunity to check out the insides of my elbow with the gamma camera whilst they were grovelling under my arm. Or that’s what it feels like, anyway.
The entire month of May 2018 was filled with stitches, worry, panic, more worry, jubilation, pissed-offness and being incredibly thankful that that I got the all clear – well – put it this way – that particular node was clear.