Really everything came together today. My amazing Dr. Dailey called me this morning and has me set with not just a consultation, but the biopsy procedure itself on Thursday morning. Tonight I got a call from the thoracic surgeon's nurse confirming everything and then even the surgeon himself - at 6:30 p.m. on a Friday. So thoughtful and so thorough. He spent 45 minutes going over all of my history and scans with a radiologist at the cancer center and got a good understanding of where I've been and where I'm at. I think the fact that I work at the hospital may have influenced this attention, but hey, I'm not complaining!
So here's the plan:
- On Thursday morning my mom and Craig are taking me into the hospital where we'll meet with the surgeon to go over the details further. He usually likes to do this in an advance meeting, but Dr. Dailey made it clear that he wanted this done soon and though the surgeon had no appointment openings for weeks, they were able to make a compromise.
- From there they'll knock me out with general anesthesia then right to the operating room.
- He will first make an incision at the base of my neck and send a scope down to look around. He'll then use his instruments to snag some of the lymph node tissue in question.
- They'll analyze the tissue under a microscope right there in the operating room.
- If it shows as abnormal tissue then he'll stop there, sew me back up and send that sample to the pathologist to analyze for cancer (or other) abnormal cells. If that's the case then I'll likely be able to go home that day.
- If it's analyzed to be normal tissue then it's onto plan b. He'll then make an incision by my left breast bone and will go in with the scope between my 2nd and 3rd ribs where he says there are many enlarged lymph nodes that he will be able to grab. This area is more delicate and the procedure more involved so if he has to go this route I'll be in the hospital recovering for a couple of days.
- Depending on whether surgery in the 2nd location is required, the surgery itself will be between 1 1/2 to 3ish hours.
- The tissues will be analyzed by pathologists and the hope is that we will have an answer as to what is going on in my nodes by Monday.
I am so happy to have a plan in place and that has really helped to alleviate my anxiety. I'm looking forward to this weekend and will be getting myself strong and ready for the big day.