I had my first surgery on March 11th, 2013. A lumpectomy. When I asked Dr J what the chances were that this suspicious shadow could be cancer, she said probably no more than 20-30%. Her words, “Go enjoy your weekend, I’ll see you in surgery on Monday!”. Ok, I will, or at least I’ll try.
Sunday night before the surgery, I cleaned my closet, organized my office and cleaned the entire house. Can we say nervous energy? It was a tough night, I had a hard time sleeping, but I knew that I had lots of prayers from my family and the few close friends who knew what was happening. I prayed a lot that night as well.
I woke the next morning, took a shower and blew dry and styled my hair. If I was going to have to go into surgery, at least my hair would look good for a few days!
I had no idea what to expect and I was scared, all I can say is I was quite happy when I saw the anesthesiologist. Just put me out and get me through this, I thought to myself. As the IV went in, the last thing I saw was lights and Dr. Josephson’s reassuring face, and then I was out. At least I was confident that I was in good hands.
The next day was painful and groggy, and then I got the call from Dr. J. She did not beat around the bush, she was very direct and very calm, but all I heard her say was CANCER. My life, as I knew it, had forever changed. What??? Ok…….no way, oh yes – and then the fear sets in. My mind went dark, and then after I hung up, the tears came, and didn’t stop for a long time. I barely got the words out to Dan before he was out the door of his office and on the first train back to Larchmont. I spent quite a bit of time on the phone with my sister Trish and my Mom, just crying, all of us.
Dr. J had cleared her calendar from 4 pm on, so that Dan and I could come in and talk with her about what this meant and next steps. Despite the circumstances, I really liked her. She had a way of making you feel that you were in the best hands possible, yet she had the ability to make you laugh, or at least try to. She explained to us that the cancer was invasive and that they didn’t get it all. Which meant I needed to go back into surgery to make sure they got it all (clear margins) and to also take some lymph nodes out to see if it had spread. We spent an hour or more with her (I’m not sure exactly because the whole day was a terrible black blur to me). We left her office with a hug and a second surgery date of March, 19th. I had exactly one week to recover and to go back in again.
That night, I read from the Daily Word, a prayer booklet that my mom sends to me. I like to read this one a lot, it always seems so positive, reassuring – and it makes me happy knowing that my mom and I are reading the same messages together every day, even though we live in different cities, NY and Chicago.
The entry for the day said. “The Lord stood by me and gave me strength.”
– 2 Timothy 4:17