Episode 17: Surgery

New to Cancer Ninja? Click here to start at the beginning of Jane's story. You'll learn more about her and how she got to this point.

At long last, the time had come for Jane to have her lumpectomy.

She was given a bunch of instructions to follow in the days leading up to surgery. This included avoiding certain medications (like aspirin or ibuprofen) that could interfere with her blood’s ability to clot, and so could increase her risk of bleeding. The night before the surgery, she was told that she shouldn’t have anything to eat or drink after midnight (though she could take her regular medications with small sips of water).

She was told to be at the hospital by 6:30am the morning of her surgery. To be safe, she and her husband Fred set their alarms for 5:00am. They were at the hospital by 6:15am.

After checking in, Jane was told to take off all of her clothes except her underwear, and she was given an extremely fashionable hospital gown to wear.

An IV was inserted into a vein in her arm, and then she and Fred waited for what seemed like FOREVER, but was actually just a few minutes. They were both nervous, so it seemed longer. The Anesthesiologist, Dr. Jones, came by and explained his role in the day’s events. And Dr. Smith came by to say hi, and to make sure Jane and Fred didn’t have any last-minute questions.

As described in Episode 13, Dr. Smith injected Jane’s breast with special chemicals which would help her find her sentinel lymph nodes. Jane had to wait for a little longer after that to allow the chemicals to travel from the breast to her lymph nodes. Then it was time for the actual operation to begin.

Jane and Fred kissed goodbye, and Jane was wheeled down the hall to an operating room. She was transferred to a smaller table, and Dr. Jones, while he didn’t put her to sleep, did give her some medication that made her pretty drowsy. The medication also temporarily interfered with her ability to form memories. The upshot was that, when it was all over and she was fully awake, she wouldn’t remember much of the procedure. 

She woke up in the Recovery Room, with Fred by her side. And soon after that, Dr. Smith came by to fill her in on what happened in the O.R.