The day finally came, the day I would complete my BRCA surgical road. Unlike the preparations for my mastectomy and reconstruction, this surgery slowly creeped up on me out of nowhere in a sense. With so many overseas plans to be made for my mastectomy, I was constantly in the state of preparation. Phone calls, booking flights, medical tests, booking lodging and wrapping up the school year early. I blogged almost daily to help me get through it all and I talked about it a lot. I even wrote a children's book during the process. It was easy to talk about, it was familiar, it was long awaited. But with all of that preparation came fears, tears and a lot of emotional support needed. I was overly prepared, if that's possible. But for this surgery, it was quite different.
Planning for the oophorectomy to happen in Singapore required much less interference with daily life, which allowed me (good or bad) to simply live in the moment of each day versus stressing out about it. In a sense, I was avoiding it. A good friend would check in on my daily at work, asking how I was doing as the date approached. She knew and could see I was having quiet "bad" days as I kept it all inside. I don't think my husband and I even talked about it much, heck, he still hasn't met my doctor performing the surgery! I can't explain why it's so different this time...it just is. My appointment was booked a couple months ago, and up until today, I didn't need to do anything more but wait.
I kept myself very busy between Thanksgiving and Christmas and work was demanding with end of term report cards to fill out, holiday parties to partake in and holiday travel to Hong Kong. There were several times I would momentarily get overwhelmed when I thought about the surgery, but I couldn't put into words what scared me so much nor did I communicate it with anyone but my doctor. I think she understands I'm a control freak and needed as many answers as I could get. Was it the physical pain? The hormonal and emotional changes I'd go through? Was it that I'd now need vitamin D daily, along with exercise, just to keep this new me from becoming brittle? I think it was all of that, plus more. It was just the unknown.
But here it has come, surgery day, and I can't turn back. We arrived at the hospital around 5:30am, I was admitted and immediately taken to my room where I changed and waited for them to take me to the OR. Several times I told my husband that it all seemed surreal, that it wasn't really happening. I was a bit emotionless until the "cold" nurses came in and barked orders at me to get changed for surgery. There's a disconnect between staff and patients over here, and I've noticed it in several areas. This was hard for me, as I needed the compassion for what I was about to go through. I missed the US terribly, and I remember voicing that to my husband. It was all so clinical here. My doctor was my saving grace. Her humor upon seeing me was just what I needed.
This was also the first time I'd be wheeled into an OR fully awake, and I can say I didn't like it. None of it helped ease my anxiety, unlike my experience with my mastectomy. The nurses running around, the anesthesiologist talking about everything that was going to happen...I just wanted to be knocked out. I laid there, my body shaking every so often from tension and fear, and just waited to be sent into lala land. Finally, the oxygen mask came and the last thing I remember was being told a serum was being injected into my arm that would burn. I felt the burn and I was out.
I don't remember being in recovery this time as I do with my mastectomy. I only remember getting to my room and having to switch from the OR bed to my hospital bed. I cried. It hurt and I felt weak. My belly button is what is the most painful right now. Every move or tightening of the abdomen I have to do to sit up, stand up, sit down or lie down hurts. But overall, not nearly as bad as my mastectomy. I could move, that's a major difference.
I started writing this about an hour after I was in my room, and I'm now finishing the next morning simply because I fell asleep from the meds. I was able to get up on my own for the toilet and can feel a little more pain today, which is probably due to the hospital bed and being confined in movement. I'll find out today whether or not I can go home.