The day of the operation I’m asked if I want a sandwich or toast (for after the operation). Toast, without a doubt or hesitation, toast, it was the one thing I was looking forward to, cup of tea and slice of toast.
They said the morning was going to be busy and it was. I had lots of visits and was cared for throughout by Staff Nurse Annie. Prior to the operation I had had a radioactive submarine inserted into the tumor, to help the surgeon locate the cancer and its core. To me it is a mini submarine, the shape and memory of that movie, but without people on board. On the morning they injected a fleet of mini submarines into my breast, their destination my lymph nodes. Science and technology.
We were then all asked about alcohol and how much do we drink. The curtains drawn we all confess. The woman opposite and to the left says, ‘a bottle of wine a night’, how long have you been drinking this much, ‘since 1976’ she says, adding she used to share a bottle with her husband and now happy and content to drink it all on her own.
I walk the long corridor to theatre, I’m glad I’m wearing my trainers, and it was here in the adjacent room where I started to cry again. They had asked me to read my date of birth written on my wrist band, and I started to sob. The anesthetist say’s ‘let’s give her some head drugs’ telling me they will make me feel great and lovely, and they did, off I went to sleep.
I woke when someone was asking me to wake, then again when asked if I was cold. Then I was back on the ward. I enjoyed sleeping but woke every now and again to ask everyone if I was snoring. I remember trying to wave at the bottle of wine a night woman as she prepared for her long walk, trying to give her the thumbs up. It was around then I realised I was wearing a mask, not a pandemic mask but an oxygen mask. Later I’m hot, really hot, and look down to see my body and legs are wrapped in a machine that was keeping me warm. Then I’m sat up and ready, they bring me the tea and toast and it’s like heaven. Three cups of tea and a packet of biscuits later and I’m ready to go home.
They tell me my wife is waiting, and there she is, my wife of 28yrs, my love and rock, standing in the corridor and we walk out into the cold night air. Back home she has tucked Christmas back into the attic and the house is soft with warm welcoming light, fire and candles. Later she reads the leaflets given, it warns of making big decisions for the next 24hrs after the general anesthetic, it was then I remembered the red trainers. After texting I had scrolled and purchased a pair of red trainers.
It’s been a week to the day and I’m recovering well. Our home is full of flowers, homemade bread, brownies, cards and gifts. Me and my wife are out walking, me and my red trainers, enjoying the cool air and big skies. I’m not fearful now, it has gone. The terror I experienced before the operation has disappeared. I can now read, consider, and look at what is next. The results are in on the 18th January and then all being well it’s radiotherapy. I am keeping an ear to the news, the pandemic, COVID-19 and the impact on the NHS. Today I’m waiting for the district nurse to change the dressing and my breast is like a kicked football.
I am so thankful for the connection, feel and welcome the love, messages and support.