Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Just Another Surgery

It's crazy to think how commonplace anesthesia, breathing tubes, cold, cold, cold operating tables, steri strips and hospital provided no-skid socks can become. This was my third biopsy in just a little over a year, not to mention the two bone marrow biopsies and egg retrieval surgery.

However, this time I got a blue-and-white seer sucker robe to tie over my johnny. I kind of wanted to take it home. Other than that, it was same old. Just another slice-me-open-and-take-out-a-chunk-of-lymph-nodes kind of day.

I was the surgeon's first case of the day so my mom and I arrived at 6:15 a.m. after a 4:30 a.m. wake-up. We were bright and cheery to say the least. I'm glad she was the one driving on the highway.

I was brought to the pre-op room where an IV was placed in my forearm and I had a visit from the anesthesia team where they explained the usual process of sending me to Tahiti, that I would be breathing on my own but would have a tube in my throat to breathe in the gas that would transport me.

Before long I was rolled into the cold OR where the operating team all introduced themselves and we made small talk about the construction at the hospital. My funny little surgeon was cracking jokes and full of smiles. He indicated that he would reopen the "wound" he left there in May, 2009 as my new cancerous lymph node was right underneath it. They were all so nice and we repeated together several times what procedure I was having done before the surgeon wrote it in marker on my left shoulder ensuring he was going into my left underarm.

The last thing I remember is breathing gas out of a big tube covering my entire mouth ... the anesthesiologist telling me to mouth breathe.

"Have a nice, deep sleep. We'll see you soon," said the nurse.

I thought of snorkeling less than 10 days before when I was also breathing in and out through my mouth and pictured myself surrounded by cobalt blue and neon yellow fish rather than wrinkled blue scrubs and blindingly bright round surgical spotlights.

With just a few breaths I was out and remember nothing until waking up in the same room that I had started pre-op in, which was now converted to the recovery area for all of us morning surgical cases. Soon my mom was brought in and I felt totally at ease. My underarm was in some pain so they gave me some IV pain meds and after cranberry juice and graham crackers, a Percocet.

After maybe an hour I felt fine and was released. A pimply faced, teenaged, super shy volunteer
wheeled me out to the car via the fastest wheel chair ride I have ever gotten. I swear we were squealing around the corners. He took his patient transport assignment seriously. It was rather exciting.

Other than being loopy from the Percocet and orange from the sterilizing iodine, I really felt fine. My mom cooked me up some eggs and cheese when we got home and I cuddled into the couch where I camped out for most of the rest of the afternoon. Craig came home from work and joined me in napdom. He then cooked me a delicious burrito and we ran out to rent a movie. After an inspiring viewing of Invictus it was more sleep.

I didn't take any pain meds after getting home and have been able to squelch the ache with Extra Strength Tylenol alone, which makes me very happy. Today I was just sore in the armpit and my throat but had a lot of energy ... enough for a 40-minute walk which felt fantastic. I had good music pumping and a lot of aggression so the adrenalin just kept pushing me. I also finished a book and baked kale chips and zucchini bread. This was quite satisfying. Luckily, I was able to remove the surgical dressing and shower this afternoon as sweating in these 90 degree temps revealed smells I didn't know I could produce.

Dr. Dailey started me on Prednisone steroids which has helped to calm the Hodgkin symptoms and I'll stay on these until I start chemo on Thursday. It's eliminated my fevers and has much reduced the aches from my swollen lymph nodes and the swelling in my chest.

I have not yet heard the biopsy results and have no idea what we'll be getting into on Thursday, but I know that I'm going in to start chemo of some sort as they want to get me going on something as soon as possible to zap this cancer.

Tomorrow entails an echocardiogram to ensure that my heart is strong enough for more chemo. But more importantly, I'll be meeting Craig for a picnic of our favorite Chipotle burritos and a walk around our old West Hartford stomping grounds. Hoping for another one of these beautiful summer days we've been spoiled with.


  1. Hi Karin...thank you for being so open about your life. You are a true inspiration. You have some amazing gifts! Not only are you a light of hope and courage, you have an amazing way with words. If you ever write a book I will be one of the first in line to buy it!!

    Take care of yourself,


  2. I second that, Karin. You do have a way with words, and I can't wait to buy your book! You have a great sense of humor, as evidenced by the "L-yes" on you. I don't think all patients would be up for that! Keep the posts coming, and good luck on Thursday.

  3. Will be thinking of you tomorrow, and hoping all goes well. Hope you can feel all the love and encouragement that is coming your way from so many people who are pulling for you. Love Irene

  4. Um--don't mean to correct you but the port placement was another surgery---but really who's keeping track???? you are doing GREAT and I hope you can possibly get away for a few days---thinking of you always and Craig--xoxoBev & Blake

  5. Karin and Craig you are like the everready bunny, always energized and inspiring. We are getting the donor drive underway and hope you can forward the group name on to your buddies. The Facebook Group is Karin Diamond Donor Drive. Please feel free to add pictures and any comments, suggestions whatever. Continue to think and pray for you constantly.

  6. I am new to your blog thanks to a mutual friend. I worked with your mom for many years and I watched how you and your siblings grew into such loving adults. May God bless each moment.
    Love and Prayers, Dianne