Cancer Fabulous Diaries: My Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy

lymph nodes

Date: April 9

I’m feeling: So damn hungry

My day started bright and early at 6 am with a shower. Then I received my daily phone call from Delah to tell me everything was going to be all right. She’s such a good friend.

The blue dye wasn’t bad at all. I was so scared it was going hurt like the biopsy, but I didn’t feel anything. As the nurse injected me, all I could think was “Thailand, Thailand, Kenya, Kenya,” beautiful memories that helped me distract myself.

After I was injected with blue dye, I was free to leave for a couple of hours. When I returned to the hospital, the rest of the day was torture. While I lay on a flat bed, they took four pictures of my lymph nodes with a special machine that I’m assuming was an X-ray. I was already beginning to feel little hunger pains. Fasting before surgery makes no sense to us hungry people. Then I went to see what time I had to check in at day ward for my sentinel lymph node biopsy. Unfortunately, they made me check in early. This really sucked because it was 11 am and I was bored out of my mind an hour past my surgery time at 3 pm when they finally came to get me.

The only thing that kept me sane was listening to the other patients in the room. A thin curtain separated my bed and that of the patient next to me. I could tell by his voice that he was an elderly gentleman, probably in his sixties. By way of eavesdropping I learned that he had tumours removed. What surprised me about this man was his cheerful attitude—surgery had not phased him one bit. There was not an ounce of self-pity in his voice. In stark contrast was the patient across the room. I watched and listened as she griped and complained about every single little thing. Note to self: be more like the cheery man beside me.

Every once in a while the smell of toast wafted by. I decided that I was definitely having toast after my surgery. With each ticking second, I wondered if I was going to die from dehydration. Finally, it was my turn. My surgeon came to answer any last-minute questions, then the anaesthetist saw me. After a few more minutes of waiting, I was pushed into the operating room.

The room was very sterile. The sad process began. First, the IV, which the stupid anaesthetist couldn’t get into me, caused blood to run down my hand, then the intravenous needle hurt soooo bad as he pushed it in further. Finally, when the drugs were pumped through, it hurt! I was gasping for air because i could hardly breathe. I glanced over at my hand, which was red with blood, and then I blacked out.

It seemed like two minutes later when I tried to make sense of my surroundings. Through the grog, two nurses exclaimed, “you’re done!” My throat was so dry I could not respond. I could almost feel the indent of the tube they had stuck down my throat. I was wheeled back to the day ward, where I passed out. – Sylvia Soo

To read more from the Cancer Fabulous Diaries, click here.

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