I had thought about calling this “night before surgery” blog post “BMX2”, but that would just have been too simple wouldn’t it? Not to mention confusing, if not downright tautologous, with the B standing for bilateral competing neatly with the 2 denoting the second part of this particular surgery blog post.
Quietness on the blog front bodes no particular ill other than NHS-fuelled activity leaving little brain space for what used to pass as normal life. Here at Schloss G we’ve had a busy month filled with the ongoing fun of random hospital appointments, more Internet research than you could possibly imagine and all interspersed with signing the consent forms for tomorrow’s surgical procedures.
Losing the breast currently hosting an 8cm tumour seemed quite logical to me. But then the question remained of what to do with a sole FF cup breast. I might be high maintenance in more ways than one but when it comes to attention to clothes, make-up routine (not something I’ve ever acquired) or hairstyling (I have one hairbrush – what more is there?), I’m low maintenance to the point of maintenance-free. So the thought of having to put in a prosthesis to balance things up each morning, take it out if I went swimming (or swap it for a swim-friendly one), remember where I’d put it, love it, feed it, wash it, pat it dry and put it away every night, was always going to be a big ask. Only logical conclusion? Ave atque vale to the previous malefactor: my, currently well behaved, if a little reduced, right breast.
Which gets us as far as the BMX, or bilateral mastectomy, of my last post.
Which you would have thought was enough, wouldn’t you?
But I figured that while I was undergoing the pain and indignity of general anaesthesia, perhaps it would make sense to remove my ovaries as well. They’re currently switched off each month with a depot injection in my stomach. Large needle, hassle of getting a nurse appointment at my GP’s on the correct day, hassle of pharmacy never keeping the drug in stock (expensive) and side effects that make the days of rampant PMT seem a fondly remembered joy. Losing the little buggers 13 years ago seemed like denial of the chance to have children but with 50 fast approaching in September there seems no reason to continue our relationship.
My long-suffering surgeon made a swift call to his opposite number on the gynaecology team and now I’m booked in for a BSO as well as a BMX tomorrow.
BSO really doesn’t do it justice. I cannot tell you how many times over the last few weeks that the words laproscopic bilateral salpingo oopherectomy have tripped off my tongue. It’s a beautiful phrase and I don’t think I shall ever tire of it. Lapropscopic as I only end up with two small, low, abdominal scars and a third cleverly hidden in my belly button. Bilateral obviously for the two of them. Salpingo, from the Greek salpinx (slpngks) meaning trumpet or tube, and here referring to those of the fallopian variety. Oopherectomy is the removal of the ovaries themselves. Not as exotic as an orchidectomy, but then I don’t have any of those: it’s late, and I digress.
I confess that I winced when my pithy Lancastrian gynaecology surgeon blithely announced that he’d have no problems removing both ovaries, attendant 3.5cm cyst and my salpinges via aforesaid incision in belly button. Bear in mind that I’m not squeamish and have just had a PowerPort (central venous catheter – about the size of a bottle lid) dug into my upper chest and its attached tubing tunnelled up over my collar bone and into my jugular vein, all under local aneasthetic and mild sedation. This, however gave me the collywobbles, but he did point out that I wouldn’t know anything about it until after I came round from the general anaesthetic and helpfully added that I’d have other things to worry about: the BMX, clearance of lymph nodes from my armpit and chest and the shoulder pain from the carbon dioxide that they use to inflate me for the LBSO (sounds more like an orchestra doesn’t it – London Borough of Southwark Orchestra anyone? – perhaps it’s more about trumpets than we’d assumed). Who’d have thought that my belly button, redundant for the best part of fifty years, would once again assume vital importance?
I’m heading for a last night of sleep as a virtually intact person.
Good night, God bless and if you’re of a prayerful persuasion then St Agatha’s got to be worth a go.