“Now is the time to pick your favorite dream.” That’s what Dr. Fischer, my anesthesiologist, said to me just before I was given a kiss by Jim for good luck, followed by a sedative to help me relax. Dr. Fischer was superb in her willingness to spend as much time as was needed with me before surgery. She listened to my past experiences with anesthesia and promised that I would not wake up in pain, nor would I experience any nausea. She delivered on her promises. She never said she would do this but I have a feeling that she was letting me know what was going on all the way through my surgery, reminding me that I was having the most wonderful dreams and that all was well. I wanted to be somewhat cognizant going into the operating room because I wanted to see the robot my surgeon would be using to look and probe deep into my abdomen. There was a potential dream/perhaps reality/out of body moment when I was looking across a large room with several people milling about, a giant machine taking up most of the space. That’s all I remember until I woke up eight hours later in the hospital room where I’d spend the night, an anxious and exhausted Jim there to greet me.
Surgery didn’t go as planned. The two to three hour procedure ended up being five and a half. Dr. Whittier went above and beyond to get both my ovaries and fallopian tubes out. Three hours after she started, she removed my left ovary and fallopian tube (the one which had shown the most growth). After much searching and dissecting, she was able to trace the blood supply to my right ovary but because of scar tissue formation caused by the cancer, my ovary was adhered to my bowel and extremely difficult to see. She couldn’t take it out without potentially causing significant complications. She most definitely gave it her best, of this I am quite sure. While she was too humble to say so, her colleagues let me in on some of the details of her effort.
It’s still hard for me to say how I’m feeling about this. Getting news while still under the influence of drugs gives an otherworldly spin. My thoughts ranging from:
Well, one is out. That’s better than none!
But the other ovary is still a problem, isn’t it?
That was the best sleep I’ve had in …
What do we do now?
I met with my SNMWO (Super Ninja Most Wonderful Oncologist) last Monday and we discussed the possibility of radiation. It would be very tricky in that area but he is going to reach out to Dr. Edson (who did SBRT to the lung nodule in 2019) for his opinion. In the meantime, I received Enhertu infusion #25 on March 7th. We dropped the drug dosage a notch to help with side effects and so far so good. The nausea hasn’t been as bad even though fatigue hit me hard a week out. Of note, I experienced an infusion reaction about halfway through which surprised everyone, me included. Cheri and Shannon were on top of it, stopping the drip until my heart rate and BP came back to baseline before restarting. Thankfully, we didn’t need to employ additional drugs to stop the drug reaction.😐 I helped out by quietly focusing on my breathing, moving with the energy, visualizing my dreamscape while talking with my body. I’ll get infusion #26 in a couple of weeks followed by a PET/CT sometime mid April.
This is where the dance comes in. Experience lies in the past, shaping our expectations of the future. This is why setting intentions, such as Dr. Fischer’s suggestion that I choose a good dream before receiving anesthesia was so powerful. And while I can’t prove it, I believe it’s one of the reasons I have healed so well and never needed post surgery pain meds other than Tylenol and Advil.
Even without the desired outcome, I’m putting this experience in the win column.