When it comes to medical procedures, I have always been a bit of a wimp. In my early school days, I was renowned for my reaction to the public health nurse on “needle day”. With a sense of shame, I recall actually biting a nurse and kicking a nun in the leg to escape my grade one vaccination (Sorry Nurse Pinksen and Sister Mary Kelly). While I no longer get physically violent with medical personnel (well, hardly ever), I have been known to get weak at the sight of blood and needles. As you can imagine, this has proven to be quite an inconvenience during my cancer treatments. I am happy to report however, that after being poked and prodded in places where no needle should ever venture, I have toughened up quite a bit, and can now profess that I am completely cured of my needle/blood phobia!
The true test of my new found toughness came with my recent mastectomy. I had conjured up images of how it would be when I saw my new physique for the first time. You know how it happens in the movies: the woman gently caresses her flat chest, her lip quivers, and silent tears flow down her face while violin music plays softly in the background. My experience was a little different. My cousin/nurse, Lil was sitting in the room with me when I popped my head up and looked down at my green gown to check out my flat chest for the first time. “Geeze”, I said, “He went and took off the two of ‘em !” As it turns out, “rightie” had just slipped under my armpit, as is often the habit of saggy, middle aged breasts, but she was still fully intact. Lil and I had a great giggle at my discovery. I wasn’t sure if I was up to looking at the actual cut, but Lil is one of those old-school nurses, and she gave me little choice in the matter. As she cleaned the incision, we counted the staples together. One, two, three……twenty-nine. “I guess I could round it up to thrity”, I said to Lil. “Or you could be like a man and exaggerate it up to sixty,” she replied. We howled with laughter!
Tip: If you can face cancer head on, nothing will ever have the power to scare you!
P.S. A big thank you to Dr. Mathieson and his fabulous team!