Sunday, I took a mental health day

I woke up on early Saturday morning from a stress dream. I dreamed about learning more about the surgery and it not being what I expected. What I remember most from the dream was that I was expecting a 2-hour surgery and they said it was going to be a 9-hour surgery. Upon waking, I realized I don’t have any real information about my upcoming surgery. I’m going on my experience from the past which was 9 years ago in a completely different healthcare system. It made me realize that I needed to call my surgeon’s office and find out when I can expect to get more information. 

What I do know is that they will do a surgery to remove the lymph nodes in my right axilla (underarm) – I believe this is called a lymph node dissection, but it is also called an excisional biopsy – that is, it is a biopsy that is done by removing the entire offending area/node, rather than just a core sample. During my original first surgery in 2014, they would have removed all the lymph nodes if they had determined there was any cancer in the sentinel node – there was not. 

In the background of all this anxiety was the excitement of the first households moving into Treehouse Village Ecohousing. Saturday night we had a BBQ onsite to celebrate. This was a truly momentous occasion. It is amazing to see the vision of Treehouse start to come true. 

Sunday morning I decided that I just needed a break. Anxiety was getting the better of me. I reached out to a friend and figured out what I wanted to do. We ended up taking a bit of a road trip over to “the valley” (referring to the Annapolis Valley on the Fundy Coast – about an hours drive). The uPick we were headed to wasn’t open, so we found another farm market to visit. We had a lovely snack, and tried some of their ciders. We even got to uPick – not veggies or fruits, but sunflowers.

Amusingly, when we got back to Bridgewater, we headed to our local farm and did uPick raspberries and blueberries. It was the break I needed. 

I called Monday morning but didn’t hear back. I called again today (Tuesday) and spoke with the doctor’s assistant. She said that she didn’t have any information yet, but was going to see the doctor later in the day and would get an update. I was able to ask her a few more general questions which was helpful. I now know that the doctor schedules surgeries for Wednesday’s and generally you find out a week before. So I will likely find out more on Thursday or Friday. 

Late this afternoon I got a call about the bone scan. It will be Thursday in Bridgewater. I’m glad I don’t need to drive for it. The way the scan works is that you go in the morning and they inject you with the isotope and then tell you when to come back for the scan – which will be later that afternoon. I expect that the results will be available pretty quickly. I don’t know if the surgeon will wait for the results before calling me about my surgery or not. I hope to have more information before the long weekend.

In the meantime, I’m trying to not let anxiety get the best of me. It isn’t stress – it isn’t the same feeling. When the anxiety is at it worst I am unable to focus on anything. I actually showed up on site early Friday morning totally anxious and fortunately there was someone there who could tell me what one thing I should do – as I couldn’t figure out which of the many things I could do was most important at that time, such that I was not getting anything done. 

I think, when I look back, this diagnosis is scarier than the first one. With the first one, I could approach it with a sense of curiosity – I don’t have that coping mechanism available to me this time!

  • Becky

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