*Thanks to SJ for the title
Obviously the thing now was to get my blood sugar down to a level that would make it possible for me to have the operation.
On top of this there was a lot to do in the aftermath of losing my Mum. Thankfully SJ took control of as much of that as she could. We had to get over to Walthamstow to sort out various things that I did not realise had to be done so quickly after losing a loved one. You do not get any time to sit back and reflect.
My friend Andrea came over to pick us up and get us to my car that I had left at my Mums on Saturday.
At this point, I had hardly eaten, slept or drunk much so there was a concern over my blood sugar level.
Andrea had her Blood Sugar Level Machine and it read 16 for me!!
I had to force a soup down me, but that was all I could get in my (not exactly small) stomach.
We went to Whipps Cross Hospital to pick up some paper work and spoke to the doctor about my Mums death (I am still not happy with the circumstances, but that is another story) and registered her death at the same place where my four girl’s births were registered.
Tuesday meant another trip to Walthamstow, this time to see the Funeral Directors. Mum had left money aside for such an occasion, although she did see to think it would be needed anytime soon. There was also a trip to the Nationwide Building Society to transfer funds.
As can be imagined, this took its toll and there were big concerns that I would not be able to have the operation. I was on auto pilot, in a state of shock, but at least I was now eating. I was doing everything I could to get that blood sugar down with a stricter diet than ever.
Wednesday morning I was back to the QE for my pre op assessment. This time there was no ‘Supermarket Sweep’ type dash (see https://dougeharper.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/i-dont-need-no-operation-24th-january/ for details) just a wee in a bottle and some Blood Sugar Machine action. To my surprise the levels were high but ok. That Metformin must be good! It was the first bit of good news regarding my condition in some time. I have and do remain positive as it does seem to have an effect on the outcome, but the way the last month had gone, I started to believe that nothing would go right again. Even Orient had slipped close to the relegation zone, but I have never expected them to help out in times of need.
I had decided to arrange the funeral for after the op, which would take place six days after the evil bodies would be cut out of me.
So on Tuesday 6th March it was back to the QE for the dreaded Nuclear Sentinel Node Scan.
The guy doing the scan was a real Irish character who I assumed had been the guideline for the language in Father Ted. A top bloke. He told me not to worry about the radiation and said that you would get a stronger dose of it in a week in Aberdeen.
Here is some info on this procedure:
Sentinel node biopsy is an operation to remove the first lymph glands under the arm that are responsible for draining the area of the breast involved by a tumour. This gland is then analysed by a pathologist to determine whether there are tumour cells in it
The presence of tumour cells in the glands under the arm is a very strong indicator that this particular breast cancer puts you at risk of spread of the disease elsewhere (metastases). Hence very important decisions regarding the overall treatment of your breast cancer are made, based on whether the lymph glands contain tumour cells. This treatment may involve further surgery, radiotherapy, hormone treatment, chemotherapy or a combination of these treatments.
The two methods used on me were: Sentinel Node Imaging (which I had done the day before the op) within the nuclear medicine department. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into the breast. This material is carried into the armpit by the lymph vessels and trapped in the sentinel node, which can be seen on a nuclear medicine scan. This scan only shows where the sentinel node is located, but not whether it contains tumour or not.
I was told that I may be in the imaging department for a few hours. This is because it takes some people longer than others for the radioactive stuff to circulate around the area. It seems to be down to the size of the breast. As a man, it was only about 30 minutes before I was ok to have the scan. Some of the women were waiting for up to three hours. The needle in my nipple was pretty painful it must be said. The machine itself was very much like an MRI scanner. All my fears about the radiation fell away when I noticed that the door where the scanner was, did not need to be closed and the operator was dressed in nurses gear and no mask.
I was also to have a Blue Dye Injection Once I was under the knife. This dye stains the sentinel node blue, thereby assisting the surgeon to find the correct lymph node. The blue dye may be visible around your scar following surgery – but usually fades over the following weeks or months. Some of the blue dye passes into your bloodstream and is passed out in your urine.My urine only went a bit green.
If there is any trace of cancer, then there will normally be a second operation to remove all of the lymph nodes within the armpit.
I was told that there would only be a small chance of a 2nd op.
So this would be the only operation I would have.
Above info was from the following link