Surgery day has arrived! But before surgery I had to endure the four injections of radioactive material into the areola area of the breast. Between the injection and surgery, the dye would move up through my lymphatic system and "light up" the sentinel lymph nodes for the surgeon.
As I give my name to the registration desk staff I am told that I am not registered and that I would not be admitted for the injection! And yet, I had a confirmed calendar appointment from radiology for the injection and a confirmation voice mail. The reception staff turned me away and left me to resolve the problem. My only thought was, "If this is going wrong now what's going to happen during the rest of today?"
Fortunately, I was able to talk with the person in radiology scheduling who was able to quickly register me into the hospital system in time for my injection. If I had not been able to get this done my surgery would have been rescheduled. But as I angrily moved through the process of fixing the problem I thought about all the people that would not have known how to fix the problem. It was then that I decided that I needed to "warrior my way through" the day - to take charge of me and my care and not assume that anyone knew anything about my care or schedule.
Once registered, my husband and I were escorted back to the radiology reception area where we received a lukewarm greeting and were told to "wait". As we waited, the anxiety of the procedure mounts and I begin looking forward to surgery and a time when I will be unconscious.
After 20 minutes of no information a radiology tech arrives and takes us back to the procedure room. Once again, I undress from the waste up and she explains that there is a high concentration of nerves into the areola and that the procedure will be uncomfortable but that they will deaden the area first. She applies the deadening solution and leaves the room. As the minutes tick by I am filled with more and more fear and dread of what is to come as my husband sits holding my hand and we try to have a conversation about things that we love and enjoy talking about.
The tech returns and immediately comes to take my hand, looking at me with deep concern. She apologizes and explains that she had hoped to get her preferred radiologist to administer the injections but that he is tied up in another procedure. She explains that the only remaining radiologist is one who takes much longer to administer the injection and that I should prepare myself.
As the radiologist enters the room I am thunderstruck! It is the same radiologist who created the hematoma when he inserted my Savi Scout. OMG!
The radiologist proceeded to explain that he had designed his method for injections based on slowly administering the dye so as to not create any pain for the patient. His method: make the initial injection and then slightly raise and rotate the needle and reinsert six times for each of the four injection sights. It was a total of 24 needle sticks in the span of 7-minutes. On the third injection site, my husband aggressively reaches for my hand and says, "Squeeze!"
After the radiologist leaves the room I break down into hysterics - terror, relief, joy that it's over. The tech walks over and gives me a hug and apologizes for what I have just endured. We immediately leave the procedure room and head to the surgery center where I am BEGGING to be put under!