Gotta Date

Gotta date. Finally. To the prom. The total mastectomy prom. My date is Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 4pm at Fancy Hospital. A total mastectomy is not the same as a radical mastectomy. The latter is hardly done anymore. A radical is so total. Totally total. You are totaled. Like the way the ancient armies used to pour salt on their defeated enemy's territory. To make sure that nothing would grow. Insult to injury. Now in modern times the insult (chemo, radiation) won't start for a few weeks after. In the radical mastectomy, the surgeon would remove the pectoral muscles and the lymph nodes up to the collarbone. A total removes all breast tissue. Dr. Fancy will do a sentinel node biopsy, get the sample rushed to the lab, and if the report says it's malignant, she will take out the first level of lymph nodes. That surgery would add 2 hours to the already 2-hour-long surgery. The lymph-node surgery is what causes the most pain afterwards, the nurse said. The mastectomy itself usually doesn't cause a lot of pain. I talked to A, P's partner, who had a mastectomy without any digging around in her lymph nodes. She was fine almost right away, except she was sick from the anesthesia. She had it done *out patient.*
I will at least stay overnight. My doctor won't snip off the extra skin, saving it for the reconstruction to be done later by the Plastic Surgeon to the Stars. I feel calm about this decision to delay but I hope I won't regret it. P said that their friend B, who had node surgery, recovered very quickly from her mastectomy.

The nurse says I should make appointments with a medical oncologist (chemo) and a radiation oncologist, even though I probably won't need radiation; I can always cancel. P gave me the name of an oncologist that B liked a lot. I hesitate to tell the oncologist about the recommendation: Oh yeah, your name was given to me by a friend of B. She liked you very much. You know B, the gal who died...

Do I want a referral from the grave? I think that B had Stage IV cancer, though. A and B had their surgeries at about the same time, and A is doing well. As B was dying, and after she died, A and P thought about how capricious life is, and they mourned her passing, even as they felt lucky for themselves, for the moment.