The Skin Cancer Chronicles – Surgery

Driving in took forever. The traffic was horrible and we were both stressed. The boyfriend was yelling at people because they weren’t letting us in or just driving like jerks and after the third time I told him he was going to have to stop or I was going to cry. Too late though the second I said that my eyes filled up and spilled over. He calmed down and I started taking deep breaths. We made it to the hospital with about 25 minutes to spare, yet the second we got there they took me so I could start to get the  anesthesia going. The doctor came in and I had my book of questions ready for him. The first one was about how serious stage three is. He looked at me like I had four heads and said “you don’t have stage three, you have stage 1A, why would you think you have stage three?” I explained how when he called I heard pretty much nothing besides the date I needed to come in and that I had cancer, so I called his nurse the next day to get more information. I didn’t notice but my boyfriend said he was PISSED after and explained that is was level three, which wasn’t anything to do with how serious it is, just where on the skin it was.
I wanted to feel relief but I couldn’t stop shaking. The nurse came in to get things ready and asked if I was cold. I shook my head no and the boyfriend explained that I was just nervous. She kneeled down to my level and looked me in the eye and said “you need to take deep breaths, your body reacts to how your mind is, your mind needs to be relaxed. If you are nervous and anxious you are going to be here all day, we don’t want that. We want you to go home.” The rest of the time my mantra was “relax so you can go home” The doctor then came back in and started to inject me with the anesthesia. This was the most painful part of the procedure, it felt like a million bees were stinging me. He explained that it was actually the medicine that burned and not the needles.
After I sat back up and he went into further detail on what he was going to do and what it was going to look like. The boyfriend stood there taking notes, I asked about pain. He was straight forward and said it was going to be rough for a few days so he gave me a prescription for some stronger pain killers to last me through the weekend and said the rest could be managed with Tylenol. He gave me a warning about not taking more than recommended though. I use to not care since it was just aspirin, now I’m listening to everything my doctors say. A little while later it was time. He told the boyfriend that he was welcome to stay in the room if I wanted him to, he just had to ensure them that he wasn’t going to be a patient as well. The boyfriend said he would be fine so I asked him to stay. The doctor then asked if I would like some music, which I did and he turned it on and got started. I blocked the rest out, I spent the whole time trying to figure out if I knew the classical song that was being played and then if I could pick out the instruments that were being played. I pictured the orchestra with the conductor at the front and tried to zone out. I knew my legs were shaking the whole time but I tried to focus on the music and on going home.
An hour later he was done and was stitching me up. I asked how many I had since I knew that was a common question. Three layers, the first two were dissolvable and totaled around 24. The third layer was a continuous stitch which took the place of about 40. The nurse came and asked the boyfriend if he would like to see, to which he jumped at the chance. She then dressed it up with some gauze and water resistant bandages. She explained that the best way to heal is to keep this bandage on the whole time, less contact with the non-sterile world would lead to a good heal and a safe recovery. She showed the boyfriend how to change it though if it started to come off. With that I was left to put my clothes back on and she said she would come back in awhile to see how I was. The boyfriend dressed me so carefully and I stood up with his help. We made sure that I wasn’t faint before we started to move around. After a few minutes I didn’t want to wait anymore, I wanted to go home so we walked out and found her and asked if I could leave. She seemed shocked I was up but said if I was ok I was free to go. The boyfriend got the car and I gingerly made my way into it, then I found my phone and called my mama.

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