auntysarah: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] auntysarah at 01:56pm on 15/05/2007
I haven't written about this before, as it wouldn't have been appropriate without permission. However, now I'm to0ld it's OK, so here goes...

I'm currently at my mother's house, where I've been for the past two days. Several weeks ago she was told that a routine mammogram had given cause for concern. She was asked back for a biopsy, and a week after that she got the news that nobody wants to hear. She had breast cancer.

Yesterday saw me driving her and my step-father to the Chesterfield Royal Hospital, the hospital in which I was born (although it's since moved to a new site a few miles away), for her to be admitted to a cancer ward for a lumpectomy. The silver lining in all of this was that the cancer was detected early, and is small, and is unlikely to have spread at this stage. The surgeon said that there was no need to remove the breast, as he was able to cut the affected tissue out with a high degree of certainty that there won't be a reoccurance.

The visiting hours at the hospital were such that we weren't able to be with her while they prepared her for surgery, so we went back to the house, where we were joined by my brother, and sat and waited. Eventually, on calling, we were told that she was coming out of recovery, that we could see her that evening, and that there was a possibility that if she handled the immediate post-surgery recovery well, we could take her home.

At 18:30 we arrived and were ushered into the ward. The place was very modern, laid out along panopticon lines with a central nursing station and eight wardlets radiating off it. One was the entrance, another was the day-area for patients to congregate in, and the rest looked to be laid out with six bed bays in each, with toilet and shower facilities at the entrance to each spoke. My mum was sitting up in a very familiar looking electric bed, wearing very familiar looking surgical stockings and gown, and had a very familiar looking cannula in her left wrist. Despite having been out for almost as long as I was in January, she looked fully awake and apparently had already eaten and been to the toilet. Looking back at photos of me, even 24 hours after this point, I was pale and "out of it", with my eyes half open, so perhaps I was much more heavily anaesthetised or something?

Anyway, the nurses gave us the good news that we could take her home just as soon as they could deal with her discharge. She was glad to be free of the cannula (complaining bitterly about it, but my brother and I had little sympathy at this point - I had one in for days, and a few years ago he had one in for a month following a motorcycle accident in which his leg was very badly broken), and it wasn't long before she was dressed and being helped, by the other two, downstairs to where I had gone ahead and was waiting with the car.

For the second time in a month I got to do the post surgery drive-back thing, making sure I picked a route with no speed humps and annoying drivers behind me by slowing down very gradually and early for junctions. We got her home and she had an early night after spending a little while talking to friends.

My brother departed, and that left me and my step-father sitting in the living room with a bottle of wine. At some point, the stress finally got to me and I broke down in tears, and ended up hugging my step-father. We turned in ourselves after that (me via my daily bath and dilation ritual - being quite drunk on the wine didn't seem to affect things adversely), and I had quite a restless night.

This morning has mostly consisted of my mother driving me and my step-father to distraction by trying to do loads of stuff when she should be resting. I can't be cross - I know I was just as bad in January and drove poor [livejournal.com profile] the_local_echo and [livejournal.com profile] leahs_whisper to distraction. She even insisted on making lunch, although I was at least able to do most of the preparation and fetching and carrying for her.

It seems to have caught up with her now and she's gone to lie down, so after writing this I think I'll hop in the car and make tyhe two-hour trip back to Cambridge. The surgeon took some lymphatic tissue during the operation for examination to see if the cancer has spread, and we'll know the results of this next week. I'm just really hoping she gets the "all clear". The alternative is really not something I want to contemplate...

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