The bottom line is that the surgery went well and there is no lymph node involvement.
The pre-surgery activities were quite a production. Since the surgery was at
an outpatient facility, I had to go first to Vero Radiology to get wired. Yep, wired. Indian
River Surgery Center
Using ultrasound to locate the tumor, a Radiologist inserts a thin wire with a tiny hook at the end into tumor. This makes it easier for the surgeon to precisely locate the tumor. The wire is inserted through a needle. In my case, my surgeon prefers to have the need left in place rather than removed. The theory is that it will keep the wire in place.
With the wire inserted, the technician taped it down and sent me off for a mammogram. Unfortunately, in manipulating the breast to get a good picture, the needle came out.
Back to ultrasound to have it re-inserted. Then back for another mammogram. This time everything stayed in place
Then back to ultrasound to prepare for mapping. This involves four injections of a radioactive dye. (These hurt like big bee stings.) The dye will move to the primary lymph node. The surgeon can then locate this node using a Geiger counter and it can be removed and sectioned for biopsy.
The wire is about 4 inches long and could be taped down easily if it were not for the base of the needle sticking out. So I ended up with a Styrofoam coffee cup taped over it. I’d worn one of Neal’s button front shirts, but I had to button it around the cup. You can imagine the looks I got as I left through the Radiology waiting room. If I’d had a cup taped to the other side I’d have looked like a aged Madonna.
Off to the surgery center.
Everything went smoothly at the surgery center. I woke up with a 3 inch incision on my breast, and another 3 inch incision under my arm where they removed 2 lymph nodes for biopsy.
No stitches. No gauze dressings. Both incisions were closed with N-butyl-cyanoacrylate. Medical Superglue! That means that I don’t have to worry about wound care (except for icing any swelling) and I can take showers. Very nifty.
I was at home by in the afternoon. Spent a couple of hours sleeping off the anesthetic. So next week I see the surgeon for a post-op exam and then have my first meeting with a Medical Oncologist. That’s when the real “fun” begins, I guess