Tomorrow is quite a big day for me. It is the day it all begins. Although it is going to result in more waiting. What with all the practise I am getting, you would be forgiven for thinking I was getting good at that. Waiting I mean. Psalm 40 is all about waiting and is a bit of a personal fave of mine. Except I have never done anything patiently. Especially waiting. I live in hope that God will overlook my disinclination to patience and still turn and hear my cry. Maybe if I continue to sing endlessly like U2 I’ll get somewhere, no? Then again, perhaps you should all take pity on both me and God and do the crying out on my behalf. I seem to get no further than ‘Oh God’ at the moment.
Very shortly I shall be taking myself for an extra bath. ‘But wait,’ I hear you cry, ‘surely it is not your birthday?’ Indeed it is not. But extra cleansing is called for. You see I have a list. And on my list it tells me ‘to shower or bathe from head to foot the night before your operation’. It did make me wonder if people really do manage to shower or bathe without including their feet. I mean, just how athletic would you need to be to bathe/shower from the neck down to your ankles but not get your feet wet? My mind is boggling at the contortions of the ablution avoiding public. Having done this I must stay clean. So no games of tag rugby in the dark then, damn. Tomorrow morning I must get up at bloody hell o’clock to repeat the process. And presumably avoid rolling in oil slicks before arriving at the hospital. I won’t lie to you, it is going to be tough. But clean I shall stay.
So tomorrow then. It is Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy Day. I shall arrive at hospital for 7:30am. Actually, given my propensity for overachieving in the promptness stakes, I will probably be there well before then. After that, it will a brisk step along the corridor to Nuclear Medicine for them to inject my breast with radioactive liquid. Yes, I said inject. My breast. Oh goody. That will be lovely, won’t it? They say the amount of radiation is similar to having two mammograms’ worth so not enough for the Greenham Common Women to start picketing me. Thank the Lord. I would always have been happier on their side of the fence than the other. After that, I am left to drain. Well, my lymphatic system is left to drain. I do not think I actually need to do anything to assist in this process. I had wondered if some sort of ceremonial chanting was in order, but apparently not. It happens all by itself. The radioactive liquid works its way from my breast, into my lymphatic system and then drains into my lymph nodes. The sentinel node is the first one that is reached. It is different for everyone but by just removing that one it is possible to see if my cancer has spread. Because if it has spread anywhere, it will have spread there first.
Once enough time has passed, I will be hopped skipped and jumped along to theatre for a general anaesthetic. Once asleep, my breast will be filled with blue dye. I kid you not. Blue. So I really am going to turn into a blue tit. Be careful what you wish for people! This is to show up sentinel node which will then be whipped out. If anything else node wise looks a bit dodgy, that will be scooped out too. Thereafter it is just the small matter of recovery. Simples.
But it is a big deal. Because while I will not know it for more days/weeks/I-do-not-know-how-long this minor procedure will map out my coming year. And that is scary.