Friday, June 6, 2014

Cancer Update: The Operation

As we are living day by day and getting through a whole array of “cancer curing” procedures in a slowly manner, Mark and I can check one more thing off the list: the operation. On June 3rd – a week earlier than initially scheduled (thank you, Dr. Carter for understanding our situation) – we drove back into Boston and endured the two hour traffic jam once again. This time, our destination was Brigham and Women’s Faulkner hospital, a good mile “down the road” from Dana Farber. Even though the operation wasn’t until 1pm, we had to be there for pre-op arrangements at 10am. The sun was shining brightly, while we spent all day in an icy cold sterile environment. Of course, this was the least of our worries.

 What's wrong with this picture?
After the mandatory paperwork was filled out, we waited. At 11am, I joined Mark to the nuclear medicine department. He was pretty excited about this part… A doctor injected him with a radioactive material, which was supposed to flow into the sentinel lymph node(s). This would enable the surgeon to find the right node(s) with a Geiger counter, before removing it/them for another biopsy. It is the only way to find out whether the cancer has metastasized (spread); the fluid would “follow” the same path the cancer cells would follow. Precautions were taken and while a radiation technician assisted the doctor, I watched the clear material being injected into my husband, who was reprimanded for trying to help hold the blood stopping gauze down on his chest. “Don’t touch this stuff with your hands!” Hmmm. I guess it is only safe to have radioactivity inside oneself? At least Mark didn’t seem to be glowing! Of course, it was not dark enough to really tell…

After the radioactive injection
More waiting followed and around noon, Mark went into the pre-surgical area to be hooked on an IV. I joined him later and together we waited for a couple of hours more. The surgeon was running late, but we didn’t mind. We were happy the procedure would take place that day and did not want her to rush on anyone. Around 3pm, I left Mark in the good hands of nurses, anesthesiologists, and Dr. Carter. She found me an hour later and reported that everything went fine. The operation had been a success and one lymph node (as opposed to two) was removed for further investigation. It took “dopey” Mark a little while to wake up (apparently, he is a “light weight” :-)), before we got into the car for the slow ride back to Newburyport, where we arrived twelve hours after leaving. Now, he is slowly recovering without too much pain and discomfort, and we are waiting for the lymph node report.

Nuclear Medicine Department

Filling out yet another consent form
 
Really??

"I am radioactive" sticker - a piece of memorabilia

13 comments:

Jennifer Newcomb Marine said...

Thinking good thoughts for you, Mark. Hugs to you both!

Liesbet said...

Thank you, Jennie!! xxx

lisa dorenfest said...

I loved this post. Updated Gypsy Blues on Mark's status as they are now in Bora Bora. MSK never gave me an 'I'm Radioactive' sticker when I had my lymph node work done. I was robbed

Unknown said...

Hang in there, Mark. Just think ahead of the super powers you'll have as Radioactive Man! Actually, "radio" and "active" are two fitting words for the man that invented the Wirie.

Liesbet said...

Only special people can become radioactive and get a sticker to prove it. And, of course, you would have to invent something great as well, something that ideally emits signals or waves, just like Unkown does know... Sorry, Lisa! But, you are still an amazing woman, even without that prized sticker! :-)

dmmbruce said...

Well done, both of you. I'm just one of your many readers, but wish you well just as though I were there.

Cheers!

Mike

Liesbet said...

Thanks, Mike. For your comment and for being a faithful reader of our blog. It always makes me happy to be reminded of the fact that "strangers" also read our stories and have their concerns. It gives us extra strength and courage!

Karl Vochatzer said...

Somehow I became Unknown Man!

Liesbet said...

Haha, Karl! Always the mystery man! :-)

krafthaus said...

Guys, I've read your blog for such a long time.....you were somewhere in the Caribbean when I first found you. I've enjoyed your adventures, but today when I opened your blog to catch up I see you are on a new adventure. Not the kind one wants, but then again you never know what is around the next corner. We will be thinking about you and are passing along our prayers for a speedy and successful recovery. All the best to you both!

Liesbet said...

Hello Krafthaus! I remember you leaving a comment way back when! Time flies... Thanks for the encouragement! Do you have German roots?? Soon, the blogs will become more interesting again; I promise! :-)

krafthaus said...

Yes, maybe those comments were back when you were enduring the rain, rain and more rain in the San Blas! Maybe sent along some encouragement....don't remember for sure. You've enjoyed some much nicer weather since then. German roots, ja. All 4 grandparents were German, but born and raised in Canada & Saskatchewan is home. The blog is good no matter what, so no worries!. You guys have some good docs looking after Mark, so that's a real bonus. All the best,
Mark & Myra Kraft
Saskatoon.

Liesbet said...

Aaaaah, Saskatchewan, the province with the big skies and the grain silos! Interesting place. I drove through there on the way to Alaska many years ago. Viele Gruß!!