The Peachfuzz Chronicles

June 6, 2011

Have I Still Got My Lymph Nodes?

Filed under: Uncategorized — by thepluckygastronome @ 5:02 pm

The loneliest feeling in the world is the moment you hop off the gurney and settle on top of the operating table. It’s surprisingly comfy.

All you can do is pray. That they get it right, that the cancer is caught in time.

The staff asks you a number of questions. Simple stuff actually. Name. Date of birth. Why are you here today? Would you believe me if I said I am here for a tummy tuck and lipo? I’m not quite so lucky as that. “I’m here for a hysterectomy.”

Then you fade away on a sedation vacation. When you wake up, you feel like you’ve been stepped on the abdomen by an elephant.

“Echo?  I’m right here.”  It is Jim. My devoted husband of 25 years.  He’s been with me every step of the way. Like they say… “for better or worse.”  We knew going into this that things could go four ways. Stage 1, 2, 3, or 4–the worst-case scenario. Stage 4 ovarian cancer means that the cancer has spread outside your ovaries and has made its way into your lymphatic system. Based on the images and the way I had been feeling recently, I suspected I would light up at stage 3 at a minimum.

In my drug induced haze, I croaked out the one question that had nagged me throughout the past week. “Lymph Nodes?” I was tethered to the bed with pressure cuffs, a Foley catheter and several IVs. I wanted to lift my hands to feel for bandages near my arm pits, but couldn’t move. Every time the left pressure cuff inflated, I thought it was Twinkie settling in against my leg. Then the right cuff would inflate and I would remember I was in the hospital.

“Lymph Nodes?” I asked again.

“You still have them,” Jim said. “You have stage 3 ovarian cancer. They didn’t need to go after your lymph nodes.”

Who would have thought that stage 3 would be a relief, but it was. It meant that I still had to do chemo, but my chances of survival had increased exponentially.

“Go back to sleep,” said Jim. “I’m here if you need me. It looks like you’re going to be around for a very long time.”



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