Bye Bye Little Lefty

We arrived at the hospital just before 7am and were shown to a ward with 3 beds on each side.

Anticipating, or maybe hoping for, a brief stay I had packed light. A miniature shower gel, toothbrush and paste,nightwear,slippers and a copy of Dan Brown's 'Inferno' I had started 5 months before.

A nurse popped her head round the curtain and told me I would need to shower and change into a gown. She handed me a towel and a squarish white bottle. I studied the label. Hibiscrub. I opened it and sniffed. Dog shampoo, I decided. So much for my tea tree and mint I had been looking forward to using. The nurse reappeared with something even more heinous than the pet shampoo. Fabric pants. See-through fabric pants. Really? Even given the early hour and the awfulness of why we were here we still couldn't help but fall about laughing when I came back from the shower, smelling like our dog, wearing my see through white pants (I have a picture but some things just shouldn't be shared)

I settled onto the bed and David took the chair and we made small talk until a nurse came by to tell me I had the gown on back to front and the doctors did their rounds. My surgeon, Mr C, asked me to confirm which breast he would be removing for me today. Seriously? He then proceeded to draw all over my upper torso like some macabre Banksy finally telling me I would be taken down to theatre in the afternoon. As it transpired, and for reasons unknown, I was in the chair and on my way by 11am. As the porter wheeled me along I reached for David's hand and he came with me as far as he could. As we got to the theatre doors we kissed goodbye and gave each other a big thumbs up and that was that. I was seated just outside the theatre until a nurse came to ask me more pre-op questions. She was a huge Man City fan and seemed to have been sniffing the laughing gas going on and on about God only knows what in a thick Scottosh accent I couldn't make head nor tail of. For some people her bedside manner may have been a welcome distraction but I just wanted some quiet time. My old primary school headteacher, Mr Shannon, used to say that morning assembly was a time to 'gather our thoughts' and that was what I needed to do. I was scared of dying on the operating table, I was scared they would find cancer in my lymph nodes, I was scared I wouldn't be able to look at myself when I woke up. I told her I am a big Manchester United fan and that seemed to do the trick. 

In the room adjoining the theatre I was asked to lie on a bed and my arm was injected with anaesthetic. It all seemed to happen so fast and then....

It was hours later, I had a vague recollection of a tube being pulled from my throat and I'm told I'm in recovery. I am groggy and out of it as I'm wheeled back to the ward on my bed. I'm aware of being in a lift. The doors open. I see my mum first. She looks worried. I then see David and my dad. I smile and wave. I made it, I want to tell them. I'm here and I'm OK. There is no better tonic than seeing the people you love. 

I'm taken to a side room which is where I will spend the night. I'm glad of that. I have a terrible fear that my snoring will bother people in a communal ward (don't know if I snore regularly or not). And wards are so noisy. Some bugger is always beeping for something.

I don't remember too much about the first night as the wonders of aneasthetic continued to work its magic. I remember watching David close the door to my room and I watched his shadow through the glass until I couldn't see him anymore. 

Half an hour later my phone beeped. It was a text from David "I couldn't be more proud of you and how brave you are...." 

Despite it all I smiled. Today I had done enough. I gave myself a break and closed my eyes..

Latest comments

20.12 | 20:45

Hi Dave,
Thanks for the kind words.
I did indeed work in North Cyprus back in the day - Turkbet?

18.12 | 11:06

Hi Donna, remarkable, uplifting and inspiring read.
Did you ever work in North Cyprus around 10 years ago?

15.10 | 17:15

Hi Donna, you are so inspiring. I have just had my 2nd mastectomy 8 days ago out of choice, first one was 5 months earlier as small cancer found.well done you

30.09 | 15:12

well done for finishing EPI!

I can't send a longer response on here but would like to share my experience of CMF at or the forum on macmillan.