The untold story of my surgery day
I did my first breast cancer walk for my 25th birthday. While everyone else in my family wore shirts that read "Get your pink on" or "I walk for...," I chose "Screw the ta-tas, save the woman."
Oh, the irony.
I had two weeks to prepare for my mastectomy and those two weeks went by incredibly fast.
The next thing I knew, Souers and I were waking up early in the morning to head to the hospital.
I threw on my 'Screw the ta-tas' sweatshirt and wrapped the warrior scarf I found at a yard sale around my head.
I was as ready as I'd ever be.
I didn't want to talk. I literally had no words in me. So, Souers just held my hand and we drove in silence to the hospital.
We passed my family on the interstate. My Uncle Doug and Aunt Theresa traveled from Alabama to be there. Both mine and my husband's family were going to be there.
I felt like everyone needed me to be strong. So, I cried in the car.
I cried all the way to the hospital. At times, I felt like I couldn't breath. I felt confused and I remember saying aloud, "What is going on?" and "Why is this happening?"
Souers just held my hand and tried to reassure me everything would be okay.
He helped me fix my face in the car. I didn't want everyone to know I was upset. So, I put on the bravest face I had and I smiled.
We got lost trying to check in and ended up walking all over the hospital. The extended expedition did nothing but make me more nervous. My stomach was in knots to the point I felt sick.
I needed a scan before surgery to see if the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. They do this by injecting dye through a long needle into the nipple. It was like being stung by a bee that wouldn't let go; the longest 10 seconds of my life.
The next thing I remember is saying goodbye to family before I went to the waiting area in the operating room. I didn't like how it felt. I really just wanted to cry, but didn't want to make other people upset. Besides, if I started crying again, I may not have been able to stop.
Once I was rolled back to the waiting area, things moved quickly.
My family came back to see me....again.
I whispered to my husband to not let everyone stay long. I should have opted to bypass this second gathering altogether. It just felt like a reminder this could be the last time we see each other.
When they left, I undressed down to a paper gown. They gave me a shot that was something like an epidural. They said most people wouldn't remember anything that happened beyond that moment, but I did.
My entire body was shaking. I couldn't control it. I wanted to, but all I could think about was dying and if I didn't die, what would life be like when I woke up.
I remember looking up at the lights in the operating room. It was just like in the movies. I lifted myself up and placed myself on the operating table, as if offering myself to my deepest fears.
I was afraid, but you know what will stick with me for the rest of my life? The kindness of a nurse whose face and name I can't remember.
As I laid myself down on the operating table, shaking uncontrollably, a woman grabbed my face by the cheeks and said, "Don't worry, sweetie. We're going to take good care of you."
Those were the last words I heard before I drifted off to sleep.
Not the internal dialogue in my head. Not a playback of all the potential risks and complications. A simple reminder that everything would be okay.