Smaller breasts have more densely packed nerve endings and hence are more sensitive. I never knew that.
I learned this as the radiology tech pulled and stretched my breast – and eventually my shoulder, too – through the hole in the lead-lined table and into a position where she could clamp it tightly between paddles. Focused radiation beams transmitted digital images onto the computer screen a few feet away.
The invasive radiologist came in and opened a window in one of the paddles — everything happened though that window, I’m told. I was frozen in place for the duration and could only see the computer screen. The last image showed several dark holes around a u-shaped titanium chip.
“I got them all,” the doc told me with a warm smile and a squeeze on the arm, reminding me how glad I was that I didn’t get this done by the cold, clinical male doctor who was all business, the one who had read my original films and recommended this procedure. After talking with him I sat in my car in the parking lot and cried.
The breast surgeon had told me that her patients said good things about Dr. Kelly McAleese, and they were right. Dr. McAleese kept up a steady stream of conversation to distract me from the things that were happening. I felt like she was a caring person, and I like that in someone who has the power to save or damage my breast. She had good energy.
The best thing I did was take the valium to calm my anxiety. Instead of the uncontrollable steady stream of tears punctuated by sobs which have been the hallmark of so many other scary and uncomfortable medical procedures in my life, I was able to face the whole thing calmly. Because my body wasn’t tensed up and then depleted from the internal anxieties, the healing already seems easier. There were still moments of pain, but the anxiety was muted and the rest of my body wasn’t clenched the whole time.
Afterward, meeting me in the waiting room, my mother commented on how brave I was being – she’s been to many of these procedures with me over a lifetime – but it wasn’t me, it was my friend valium (or rather the generic equivalent, diazapan). 8 mg didn’t make me loopy, it just took the edge off. And it didn’t make me work to get the peace of mind, like I would’ve had to if I had chosen to use self-hypnosis techniques instead. As I joked with the doctor, it’s times like these that call for valium. Ok, maybe I was a bit loopy. But she agreed.
Because of my allergy to adhesive, the surgical tech used gauze and direct pressure to stop the bleeding, and then mummified my chest in an ace bandage and sent me home with my mom. I took some homeopathic hypericum in the car, then some bellis parennis and arnica remedies once we got home. (More about these homeopathic remedies here.)
Just because we may choose to adopt many natural paths to health doesn’t mean we have to omit other treatments. We can safely use homeopathic remedies, for example, at the same time we’re using antibiotics or sedetives or blood pressure medications, etc. One does not preclude the other. Most natural remedies can work safely alongside western medications, and often are used to help wean off of medications.
My kids were farmed out for the night, hubby away on a business trip, and I got to do nothing but sit in bed and gab on the phone to girlfriends all evening. What a treat!
This morning I unwrapped and removed the gauze, put a dab of Neosporin on the hole and covered it with a little spot band aid. I’ll have to change the bandage frequently to avoid hives, but so far so good. Rewrapped tightly with the ace bandage and supported further with a sports bra, it’s a little achey. I don’t want to move that shoulder much, especially since I don’t want to expand the hole that is only held together by a blood clot.
For “mild discomfort,” the post procedure instructions say, “take Tylenol.” But I haven’t needed to crack open the sample packet they handed me at the end. I rarely take painkillers anyway.
It has been incredible to receive such an outpouring of positive energy as I’ve been going through this anxious time. Thank you all for your kind thoughts and wishes. I will likely hear the results by Wednesday next week – I’ll keep you posted.
I wish you all a wonderful holiday weekend!