Monday, October 23, 2006

Twilight Zone

My surgery in London was a great success by all accounts. My dear London surgeon-- who you just have to like, he is so jovial and genuinely caring-- reported to my parents and Derek in the waiting room right after the surgery that they got everything out and that it was no problem.

He had no idea why Toronto wouldn't take them out, especially in someone young and otherwise healthy like me. We were happy, I was happy. Even though I knew that my journey with melanoma was statistically likely not over, I just felt lighter knowing it was all out and that there was always hope it wouldn't come back. I was discharged from the hospital that day, and back at home helping (a teeny bit) with supper that evening. Besides some arm pain, I felt surprisingly good. Anesthetic and Percocets don't seem to effect me like other people.

Friday afternoon, the day after the surgery, a home care nurse came to visit, empty my drain, and change my bandages. I took the bandage-free opportunity to poke around and was stunned to find a lump, about the size of a dried apricot, right in the area that supposedly gutted--sorta between my armpit and boob. Ok, really, I wasn't stunned. I was not surprised at all. It was more kinda like, "Of course this is happening. Mistakes always happen with me. This sucks." I didn't freak out, I called the surgeon's secretary to see if I could get a clinic appointment with the surgeon on Monday. She didn't call me back, but in her defense, I called only a half hour before she left for the day.

First thing today (Monday morning) I called again. The secretary answered and got me in for 10am when I explained what happened. When I met with the surgeon, he first said, oh, it must be a seroma. But then when he felt the mass I could see he was confused and concerned. He babbled about how he couldn't believe they could have missed anything. They marked that whole area, they dug in that area...

He took out a syringe to see if he could drain fluid, hoping it was a seroma or cyst... something other than melanoma. The syringe didn't draw any fluid. Oh, oh. Possibly big boo boo. I can't be mad at this guy because he is just so nice and personable and I really really like him! And he just seems to care so much about me. He is booking me for an ultrasound to determine what this is, and if it is a missed tumour I'll be in for surgery again and he will feel like a big incompetent goof.

I know mistakes happen but geez, I'm tired of them happening to me. There are many more that have happened in this two year journey-- things that are just plain crazy which I haven't talked about here as this blog only began in May. It is surreal to think this mistake could have happened as they had a the surgeon, residents, an ultra sound technician and a radiologist... this was an ultrasound guided operation and they went over my whole arm, back, chest, axilla with the ultrasound looking for tumours. And this mass is literally millimeters from where they excised! He didn't deny that it was possible, but seemed very mystified as to how. He said "bigger mistakes have happened, as you know, because they keep happening to you. This really sucks."

He's right. It does really suck. It sucks so much that I feel like I'm in an alternate reality. I feel like I've entered the twilight zone.



At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Veggie said...

Well, Sarah. I just don't know what to say except that I am so sorry that you have gone through all of this. My recurrence literally popped up 2 days after what was supposed to be my next to last onc visit. It absolutely was not there on Thursday at his office and I saw it as I handed my hubby a cup of coffee Saturday morning! Is it possible that this one wasn't there? I sure hope it is something else...
Well, we could be bad luck buddies...the tissue from my WLE was lost in pathology so I never knew if the margins were clear. I almost never found a doc to biopsy the mole in the first place.
The number of mistakes made in the medical field makes my head spin. It is good that you are sticking up for the best treatment for you. I am also glad that you can get into see this surgeon more quickly.
I am sending you best wishes for a good ultrasound report. I hope you will be spared anymore pain from surgery. Good that you can tolerate the pain meds! My preferred method of dealing with pain is the blissful sleep that any of these meds seem to bring.
Chin up, my good girl!

At 6:46 PM, Blogger Ms.Smarties said...

I am standing by Sarah. I hope everything goes well. Good luck.

At 7:43 PM, Blogger Carver said...

Gosh Sarah,

I am so sorry you have to deal with more of this. I hope there will be another explanation. I can't believe how calm you are about it. I know how hard it is to be mad at a doctor who is so clearly on your side but this truly sucks. I guess if it was a hematoma that dried really fast it might be hard to get anything out with the syringe. I'm sending out dried hematoma vibes for you. I had a seroma and a hematoma so I'm hoping for a hematoma for you since it's not a seroma. Sounds weird but I think you know what I mean. A hematoma is like a seroma except a hematoma is blood where the seroma is fluid. However, if a hematoma formed and the blood got hard and goopy fast it could masquerade as a tumor. I'm sorry you're going through all of this and you remain in my thoughts. As ever, Carver

At 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey dude,

What the heck?? I'm so glad you did some poking around there to see how things were. I bet he feels like a total boob, and unlike your Toronto surgeon is eager to correct this mistake.
Hang in there my friend, at least you finally have a medical professional in your corner!
Keep me posted..
love ya

At 11:38 PM, Blogger Irene said...

Crossing my fingers that it's nothing. Standing by...


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