I could hear my name being called, but I didn’t really want to open my eyes. But the woman kept calling to me, again and again, and I slowly found myself swimming back into consciousness and into lucidity. It was a nurse, and as soon as I opened my eyes, it felt like she let me return right back to sleep. Then I heard my name again, and the moment was so hazy, I never really knew if it was real or the product of wishful thinking and my imagine.
We tested your sentinel node, and it was negative.
It was Dr. F. this time.. I closed my eyes again, and when I woke up I was in a limbo-like recovery room. Dr. F’s voice was still floating in my brain, so I asked the nurse. She confirmed that my lymph node was negative. Sleep. They moved me then to my overnight hospital room where my mom was waiting for me. I felt woozy, and sleep is always the safest bet for those moments. But I still felt confused, so I asked again.
And again, I was told my lymph node was negative.
I didn’t cry, and I don’t really remember what my reaction was. My family and friends knew all of this before I did, and even though it finally sank in after the third time, it was a gradual recognition… there would by no chemo, and for me chemo was more frightening than the mastectomy. The mastectomy could be private and hidden and recovered from with few side effects, while chemo would scream to people that I was sick and have negative long-term effects. Chemo was poison, and it would make me sick in its own way. Yes, it would kill cancer cells, but it would kill healthy cells too.
But I wouldn’t need it. And it finally felt like I could breathe. My spirits lifted, and more than anything I wanted to get released from the hospital, heal, go back to work, plan a wedding, and get on with my life. Resolution.
Preston gave me his tacky gift, which was truly hideous… I’ll keep it forever because its kitschy gloriousness makes me smile every time I look at it.
I had to stay at least overnight at the hospital, and sleep seemed to be my best option. But when I was awake, my mom and Preston were always right there in good spirits. Preston told jokes, but he had to stop when we realized that laughing created too much pain. At random intervals during the evening and night I would wake up long enough to ask for pain meds, but I wasn’t in pain just laying there. I wanted the pain meds because they would put me back to sleep.
Pain is relative, and pain is controlled by the brain. Knowing that I had caught the cancer cells before they were able to mutate and move into other areas of my body did amazing things for my recovery. I felt lighter, better, healthier. This meant I was at the end, as opposed to the middle, of my treatment. I was told I could be released as early as Saturday afternoon, and I fully intended to go home as soon on Saturday as possible.