Day 1: Surgery

6 a.m., Tuesday

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The view from the pre-op room just after my 6 a.m. check in time."Please tell me your name and birthdate." That's the first question the nurses always ask before doing anything.The first IV.It's cold in the room. Cold helps keep germs from growing.My wonderful anesthesiologist, Dr. Ng, who will use a tiny camera in my small throat to make sure I won't have a sore throat after my 10-hour surgery.Mark gets his last feel of the soon to be "former" girlsMy parents and Mark wait with me until they roll me away.
The view from the pre-op room just after my 6 a.m. check in time.
The view from the pre-op room just after my 6 a.m. check in time.
"Please tell me your name and birthdate." That's the first question the nurses always ask before doing anything.
"Please tell me your name and birthdate." That's the first question the nurses always ask before doing anything.
The first IV.
The first IV.
It's cold in the room. Cold helps keep germs from growing.
It's cold in the room. Cold helps keep germs from growing.
My wonderful anesthesiologist, Dr. Ng, who will use a tiny camera in my small throat to make sure I won't have a sore throat after my 10-hour surgery.
My wonderful anesthesiologist, Dr. Ng, who will use a tiny camera in my small throat to make sure I won't have a sore throat after my 10-hour surgery.
Mark gets his last feel of the soon to be "former" girls
Mark gets his last feel of the soon to be "former" girls
My parents and Mark wait with me until they roll me away.
My parents and Mark wait with me until they roll me away.

Bilateral Mastectomy and TRAM Flap

We showed up at at UCSF Medical Center at 6 a.m. to the hospital for the 7:30 a.m.bilateral mastectomy. "We" means me and Mark. I had told my parents not to worry about getting to the city so early.

Yes, I was concerned about them driving so early in the morning, but more selfeshly, I was afraid my mom would stress me out or question my decision one last time before I was rolled away. I told my parents it was useless for them to be there so early since it was such a long surgery, but my mom would have nothing to do with that. She wanted to kiss me and tell me she loved me before I was rolled away.

When they were putting the epidural in my back, it was a very painful process. Sitting on one bed and leaning my elbows on the higher operating bed, I was positioned like I was playing hide-and-go-seek, hiding my face down against my arms.

On the other side of the operating bed from me was Dr. Esserman. She leaned over me, gently holding down my arms, stroking the back of my neck and hair like a mother comforts a child. She softly sang songs from "Phantom of the Opera" and "Wicked" while stinging needles were being dug into my back like I'd just swam through a swarm of jellyfish. They were numbing the area with pricks of needles before digging around to find the correct cavity for the epidural's resting place for the next three days constanct supply of pain medication.

I'll write more later when I'm not falling asleep evey other word.

Waiting to have my bilateral mastectomy

Rolling Away to Surgery

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Comments 3 comments

shari gail 7 years ago

Joelle, that's great that you are documenting your journey with photos! I guess that's your news background coming through. I love the photo of Mark copping a feel! That is so Alan's sense of humor! Also, you look just like your Mom!!


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 7 years ago from New York, NY

Joelle , ,

Though we just met wishing good wishes for the new year I am adding some special ones for you tonight. . Your are quite a courageous woman and anytime you need or want to vent I am just a type away. . and I mean that! I just lived through about of prostate cancer with my brother so i am somewhat versed in what goes on .. . For sure now this is going to be a wonderful year. . get the trials and tribs out if the way early and then the rest will be alllll you! My porayers and thoughts are with you,

x0x0x

shari aka wavegirl


Joelle Burnette profile image

Joelle Burnette 7 years ago Author

Thanks so much, Shari! I truly appreciate your kindness.

Joelle

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