I told Scott before surgery that the one piece of information I wanted when I woke up was the status of the sentintel node biopsy. I was right – Scott tells me that I asked at least 5 times while in the recovery room, and was happy each time he told me they were clear. The surgeon just came into my hotel hospital room to tell me that “the preliminary results are clear but that they are preliminary results”. So, it is a very good news, but it is to be taken with a caution as they haven’t done the more detailed pathology. The prelim results are on the order of 90% accurate. What I can say is that I’m completely relieved. The sentinel nodes are typically the first place that breast cancer spreads. If my nodes come back from pathology as clear, then my cancer was caught at Stage 2.
After a longer visit with the Fellow, I got more details. They took 2 or 3 nodes from each side – a little more on the left. They like to take at least 2 for pathology. She emphasized that there was very small risk of lymphodema. The bigger concern over the next week was to avoid things that might tear incisions or injure the surgery sites.
Scott’s observation from the surgery team the only male he met was the OR nurse. All my surgeons, fellows, residents, anethesiologists, etc. were female. Interesting!
We had an OK nights sleep. They gave us a private room so Scott was able to stay the night. This turned out to be very useful, as several times I benefitted from having a patient advocate (things like helping out when I needed to use the toilet). It also meant that he was here for most of the doctor/nurse visits.
In sugery they put these cuffs on my calves (sort of like blood pressure cuffs but with less air) that gently massage my calves. It is done to avoid blood clots, but has really helped with the tight knotted calves that are a results of neuropathy and swollen ankles.
One thing that really impressed me about the Stanford Hospital is that they use room service for food. The menu is quite good, and so far the food has been good. The food is locally sourced where possible, and there are organic options. There are even organic options for those on a liquid diets. This is one area where I think it makes a huge difference in patient wellness. The food has been good enough that we decided to check out after lunch rather than before. That way I’ll go home well drugged and well fed.