Thursday, August 23, 2007 is the date for me. That was the day of my surgery.
My hair was starting to grow back and my eyebrows and lashes as well. I remember wearing my pink bandanna at the beach in the days before my surgery. We had taken the ferry to Kismet, on Fire Island. I wore my chemo-chic uniform to the beach that day as it was overcast and cool for August: camouflaged pants with lace pockets, t-shirt, denim jacket and pink bandanna. We walked barefoot in the sand and surf and felt the salty gusts and misty air. I may have worn those sea-salt items to Sloan for my surgery day.
Early on the morning of my surgery, my beloved Grandfather, Outstanding, and Grandma Rosemary came and collected Jacqueline and Bailey. The kids needed to be in a safe place so we could focus on the surgery. My family was there for me.
Kevin and my parents took me to the city that day driving on the LIE, over the 59th street bridge and up 1st (I think) to the hospital. My surgery was on the schedule and I had to fast from midnight the day before. We got there, I got prepared, put all my items in a safe plastic bag and waited. My husband and parents had the most to endure throughout the months of fighting cancer. I had some control and some insight to how I was doing. They helped and watched and worried all in their ways.
I remember my Mom accompanied me for the mammogram where they guided a wire into my breast to mark where the tumor had been before my chemo treatments. There was no tumor left by the time I got there for the lumpectomy, just a cloud showed on the screen at the mammogram. Only a shadow left behind.
Sometime around 4pm I think they called me. I know that we were all starving but too miserable to eat. It seemed fairly crowded to me in that waiting area. All these families, these people, other patients waiting all day, most were breast cancer patients; we were waiting in different stages of the journey together.
When my family kissed me goodbye and I was rolled into the surgery suite I maintained my composure mostly. I must have teared up because that would be my nature. But I was ready for this, I was prepared. It was time. Besides, I had a surgeon who I respected and genuinely liked. She is my hero still today. I feel so lucky to have been in her care and my oncology team in CT as well. That day, they got right to it; set me up, wrote on me, asked me my name and birth date. All those things. And I think they asked me to count backwards and then I was out.
Coming out of the fog after hours of being under I saw her masked face. And on the evening of August 23rd, 2007 she said to me, "You are cancer free".