Decisions – Life, Death and Shoes

10 Mar

Bear with me as we’re almost ready to get back into our time machine to just last week. But first, my visit to the breast surgeon. When my doctor told me my test results, she also gave me the names of three breast surgeons. Once I returned home from my Thanksgiving trip to Boston I started researching. Two of the three were on my insurance plan. I did a little online research, both of the condition and the doctors. I was careful not to look up anything online until I had a diagnosis. That’s one definite way of ensuring you will not only need a breast surgeon but a psychiatrist as well. What I found were a couple of different opinions on treatment. Surgery or no surgery? Perhaps the breast surgeon could tell me.

I researched the two best options of doctors and after reading some write-ups online, I chose Dr. Hebert. I phoned her office to try to get an appointment. I spoke with her receptionist and explained my time constraint (I was leaving town in 6 days). She could get me in the next day – score! I told her that I chose Dr. Hebert due to the positive things I had read online. Her receptionist commented, “That’s because she’s an awesome doctor.” My response, “Good, because I have awesome boobs.” (Seriously, put down the drink!). Appointment made, return date to work still up in the air.


Not the shoes I got, but someday, when I can afford Louboutoin

Tuesday came and I arrived at the breast surgeon’s office. She went over the results with me and commented on how bruised the biopsy had left me. She mentioned that perhaps two hours of yoga the day after the biopsy was not a great idea. Point taken. She explained that treatment is not black and white (or in my case, black and blue). She could schedule surgery for the next day, I could wait until I returned, or I could get another mammogram in six months and see if it changes. Even better, it was 5:00pm and I had 10 minutes to decide. You should know that I spent much of this vacation deciding which pair of black shoes I should buy to go with my pretty new dress (both pairs were gorgeous) and which shade of pink to paint my bedroom (not little girl powder pink but one that, combined with my brown curtains will, hopefully, create a spa-like atmosphere).  Both of these decisions were finally made for me by my friend Karen. And now I had to make what could end up being a life or death decision in the time it takes to order a coffee at Starbucks. After 10 minutes of yoga breathing in the waiting room (see, yoga was beneficial) I chose to wait to have surgery until I returned in March. In need of a bit of reassurance I asked the surgeon if my breasts would look as good once the surgery was done. She replied, “They’ll look better.” My response, “Impossible.”

So, decision made, I called into work and told them I would be returning the following Saturday.

Now, let’s rev up the Flux Capacitor and go back to the future to last week. It’s a bit of a whirlwind so try to keep up. After a very stressful final few weeks onboard (heck, the whole contract was stressful, but those last ones really stand out) I returned home on Monday night. A lot happened in this first week home.

Tuesday – Although I had no plan to talk to anybody (actually, my plan was not to talk to anybody), I did an interview with the Associated Press (it’s just something crazy that happens in my adventurous life). Basic gist of the article, travel can be dangerous. . . so can a car ride. Get over it.

Wednesday – To the hospital for blood tests, grocery shopping to get food in the house and a massage. While at the grocery store the hospital called to tell me what to expect. They confirmed that the doctor would be removing an intraductal papilloma from my left breast. “Yes,” I responded. “Oh no, wait! Not my left breast! My right breast, my right breast!” Confidence shaken, I headed home while considering buying a Sharpie in order to draw a stop sign around my left nipple.

I had no plans to go out and face the world after my massage (again, my plan was not to go out) until I received a call from Tandy telling me that BreAnn had taken a turn for the worse and friends were gathering at her house. I also got a call from BreAnn’s ex-boyfriend Jessie. He was on the way over to Bre’s house when his car broke down. I got dressed, hopped in my car, picked up Jessie on the side of the road and headed to BreAnn’s house.

When I arrived, Bre was lying in bed with her eyes closed and surrounded by a bunch of girlfriends. I climbed into bed with her where she could see me. She opened her eyes and I told her some personal things and made some promises.

Thursday – More time in BreAnn’s bedroom with a group of women, some of whom had never met before. We laid with her and told raunchy jokes. It was peaceful and full of love and felt like ‘Sex in the City – The End.’ I ended the day with a yoga class.

Friday – Surgery. My friend Karen picked me up to take me to the imaging center. Here they would do another mammogram (really, at this point my right breast must glow in the dark). While being squeezed they inserted a needle (again, not that painful as they numbed it first) and then threaded a wire through that. They also injected some blue dye. They said that different doctors prefer different colors. I asked for green as I am a redhead and I look good in green. Apparently that wasn’t an option.

They left the needle and wire in my breast and I was instructed to go over to the hospital. In order to protect my breast (as there was this needle sticking out of it) the tech took her high-tech Dixie bathroom cup, cut the side of it and stuck it over the needle and taped it to my breast. I can’t wait to see how much they charge my insurance company for this.  I got in Karen’s car and simply said, “Don’t laugh.” I lifted my shirt to show her my Dixie cup to which she responded, as any good friend would, with a cackle of laughter.

I arrived at the hospital and sat in the waiting area with my Dixie cup taped to my boob while looking longingly at the coffee maker (seriously, the longest I’ve gone without my morning coffee since the original biopsy). I was called into the pre-op area, given a fancy hospital gown (wouldn’t it be great if some hospital had Vera Wang design their gowns?) and little slippers complete with treads similar to my Goodyear Radials).

The Anesthesiologist came to visit and asked me questions.

“Has anesthesia ever made you sick?”

“Yes, the one time I had (back) surgery (limbo contest in Trinidad. I won! And lost).”

“Tell me about your TIA.”

“Uh, what?” I’m a traveler. The only TIA I know is the airport in Tampa, FL.

“No, tell me about your stroke.”

“Seriously, what???”

“Oh, the information I have says you had a stroke in the past.”

“Um, noooo.”

That being cleared up, IV in my arm, we’re almost set. Dr. Hebert soon arrived to check in and sign my breast. Yes, she had brought her Sharpie and initialed my breast (I thought only stoned rock stars did this with groupies). This is apparently done so she does, in fact, operate on the correct breast. Another obvious sign would be the needle, wire and Dixie cup attached to the breast.

That’s the last thing I remember before waking up in recovery.

Continued in Goodbye, Farewell and Amen


Coming next – happy and not so happy endings.


2 Responses to “Decisions – Life, Death and Shoes”

  1. Shaunah March 15, 2013 at 7:19 PM #

    I am picturing the dixie cup attached to your breast! I am sure in Canada we would use a Starbucks cup! LOL!


  1. The Waiting is the Hardest Part | My Own Adventure - October 10, 2013

    […] Still to come – we fast forward the time machine to last weekend. Read it in, “Decisions – Life, Death and Shoes” […]

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