Chapter 3- The Surgery – Breast Cancer Journey

My family joining me at the hospital the day of my surgery.

The Surgery

The day was here December 12th . Everyone I could think of knew of this date . My Family and Friends even my special friends on AOL and Facebook . We’re all aware and many said they will be praying for me .  I prayed myself that this surgery will be a success .  I was very nervous on this date .  I couldn’t believe this whole thing was about to happen . Hopefully , all my questions would be answered.  Gabriel and Hugo took me to City of Hope on a Sunday night .  I had made reservations at the Hope Village . We were assigned a cute little apartment complex there on the grounds of City of Hope. I had to register for admittance on Monday morning at 5am .   I was told that I had to scrub down my body completely before I went to bed and when I woke up . It was to prevent any type of infection during surgery .  So that’s what I did , made sure I was very clean .  I couldn’t eat ,  I prayed for the doctor to find what needed to be found and I prayed that my cancer hadn’t spread throughout my body .

 I had a EKG done before this date and I was told that my heart was enlarged . There was always a concern due to my medical history with my diabetes. I had to make sure my sugar was under control or the surgery would be cancel . So all my test were preparing me for my surgery .  I was given instructions of what not to eat or drink ,  no carbs, coffee or green tea and the list went on . So early in ther morning before my surgery I had to go get my blood work done to make sure my sugar was good and whatever else they tested me for . I was now checked in and admitted . My wristband was placed on my wrist . I was scared because I never been put under to sleep . I never had major surgery . The last time I had a stay in the hospital was when i was giving birth and thats been over 26 years now . So yes there were all kinds of fears I was experiencing . One main fear was and I had prayed that I would live and would not die during the surgery .   My weight and heart was a big concern of mine . So I quietly prayed and asked the Lord to be with medical staff and my doctor and with me . I have been praying like I have never prayed in my whole entire life . I kept thanking the Lord for my life and where I am spiritually.

It’s Time

Everything was happening so fast once I was admitted for surgery .  We sat in the lobby and waited . It wasn’t long after that my name was called.  The boys pushed me in my wheelchair to the radiologist dept and there I was injected around my left nipple . It was a dye that would show during the surgery if the dye went to the lymphnodes it would indicate if the cancer had spread .  The needle did hurt a bit and then it was over with . Being picked 4 times in a very sensitve area .  So it was a quick prickle feeling and back to the waiting room .Then once again my name was called and I was taken to a open room in the surgery department . I was ID and asked serveral questions .  I was given a paper hat to cover my hair , some paper booties to cover my feet , I was given a thick gown and then the IVs were started . Again being picked to find a good vein . Once this part was completed . I said goodbye to the boys . I was then wheeled on a gurney to  the surgery room . There was alot medical staff there . Each of them had their position and their own job to do . I saw my Doctor walk in ready and dressed . Once I saw her I felt better and eased and safe .  I trusted her for some reason . Maybe it was always her smile and tone of her voice.   Once in the room I had to roll over onto a hard table . Big lights over me . I heard different voices each talking to another . Quietly I said another prayer . The mask was placed over my face on my nose and mouth covering it . I was told to count to four …Lights out …

Recovering After Surgery

I remembered waking up slightly and glancing to the left of me , there other people in gurneys lined up . First thought came to my mind . Was I in a morgue ? I started hearing myself moaning from a distance and then i heard others . A Nurse came up to me and asked me if i was in pain I said yes .  I dont know how long I was there but once I made contact with the Nurse I was then wheeled to another open room with no doors ,  Then Nurse came in and checked on my drainage . I was bandaged and it was painful . I was given something for pain . I saw Vanessa and Danielle come in the room and they were so happy to see . They told me they had great news from my doctor . Vanessa told me “Mom they only took out one Lymphnode and the cancer didnt spread they got it all “!!! ….I was so happy to hear the news I started crying .  I was the happiest woman to know I had a chance in life again .  My biggest fear was now behind me .   Then My Uncle Carlos came in and all I can see was his smile . My other family members , my sons came in and I started getting hungry so I asked for crackers . I put the crackers in my pocket . I Heard the Nurse tell Gabriel to get my clothes that I could leave .  I was like what youre releasing me I can go now ? I didn’t know how i was going to do all this . I had my chest  bandage , my side had two drainage tubing, that were placed in a pocket sling . Gabriel came back with my things and I was helped in getting dressed ,  now this is the funny part .. I was wheeled out to the lobby where all my family members were cheering on and surprised and happy to see me . They all heard I was cancer free now …..After I left the hospital I went to Vanessa’s home where she helped me and cared for me . She made sure I was eating and she helped with my two drainage tubes . I also had visiting nurses who came out to Vanessa’s home the nurses came to  check my vital signs and also cleaned and changed my tubings and checked my masectomy to make sure no infections were taking place . I was taking pain pills if the pain got to intense . I was very sore and very uncomfortable to find a position to sleep at night or during the day .

This was around Christmas time . I wasn’t going to let this get the best of me . So drainage tubes and all . I told Vanessa we have to celebrate Christmas . I was feeling good and happy that I was able to spend a Holiday with my children and seven of my grandchildren . Vanessa and I jumped in her car and drove off to the stores and shopped . I felt so good inside  I didn’t focus on my situation or my pain or how uncomfortable I was or if i had blood being drained into my two tubes . I was rejoicing inside and thanking God for saving me ..!!!

After my surgery I was told for precaution that I would need to do 4 doses of chemo . I started my 1st dose in January . My friend Ethel came to stay with me during this dose . I called chemo the beast .  I was down for about a week . It was very painful and I experience different feelings , I layed in bed for 5 days , It wiped me out , I never vomitted and I had pills for it as well if needed .  My dose was set for every 3 weeks .  I only did 2 doses .

At the end of March This all begain :

I had a power port where my chemo was administered it had gotten infected .  I was about to do my 3rd dose , when i began to be very sick .  I didnt know I had a bacterial infection that traveled and lodged behind my heart .  My daughter came to my apartment and found me very ill ,  I hadn’t been able to drink water or eat . Vanessa said to me Mom ” you can’t stay here anymore alone and you are coming home with me . She started packing a few clothes of mine in a suitcase . She helped me walk out the front door and helped me into her car . My right hip was giving me pain and made it very hard to walk alone .  Later that night Vanessa & Danielle took me to City of Hope . My system was shutting down .  My kidneys were failing , my blood pressure was dropping , my urine was a amber rose . I was already not responding normally .

The  doctor in Er stated to me that if he couldn’t get my condition under control how did I feel about being put on Life Support . I responded go ahead  He asked for how long , I said one week and then if he couldn’t still I told him to take me off .  I just planned my final say if there was no way to help over come this . I was giving permission to end my life .  The doctor and a nurse went to document the request .I was placed in ICU for 8 days . I had minor surgery in my room . A pick line was placed in my arm the day I was being released . I had to wear this pump with IV bag connected to my pick line and wear it for 6 weeks . Everyday I was getting better I tryed to eat and drink healthy . Although my sugar was up and now . That was my least worried I just wanted to regain my health and my body function so i can get out of ICU and be stable  .

 After I was realeased from the hospital  I had a appointment to see my oncologist doctor. He went over what happened to me and said no more chemo , I couldn’t finish the last two dose .  My doctor said he didn’t want to risk my life again . I was placed on a pill , for 5 years by which to my understanding its to block and control my estrogen.  Everyone was amazed how I came back and bounce out of this near death experience . This infection and the chemo nearly killed me on March 31, 2012. It was a big scare for my whole entire family . I thank the Lord for saving my life and bringing me out of this .

I want to say this …While all this was happening and everyone was talking about me and how sick I was .  I had my brother’s daughter come rub my head and she softly was singing to me . I had a out of body experience . I felt myself being pulled out of  the room . I saw myself going up and up , I saw myself leaving the room . I looked down and I could see everyone . As I continued to travel upward into the night . I was seeing the beauty of the night and all the stars . It was a amazing feeling and I felt no fear , I was just in awe how beautiful this feeling was . I wasn’t worried about nothing or my family. It was a serenity of peace . Then I was back in the room .  I did see my mother and she was so happy to me . I saw her huge smile and I was happy to see her . There were no words exchanged . So I know in my heart she was near me .  I know in my heart that I wasn’t  ready to go with my Lord .  I am totally blessed for everything that I have experience in my journey . This is where I am today in my life . There will be more future doctors appointments and check ups . My fight will continue and never stop .. I pray differently now and this whole experience it has humbled me and has given a different outlook on life .

The Invasion of The Infection

May 5, 2012  …  I was told that the infection was still on my valve behind my Heart .   I possibly will have to continue the antibiotics . All this new information is still pending for now ….But I did get lead by this scripture …” For I will restore you back to health and I will heal you of your wounds” declares the Lord”.  Jeremiah 30:17

 Me & My Mommy. How I best remember Us both … – Cynthia Diana Romero (left) and Jesusa Jackson Gaworski (right)

I am Dedicating my cancer journey story in my Mother’s Memory  …Jesusa Jackson Gaworski 1931-2011

I would also like to give thanks to my dog Sasha . She has been a great support to me

when I was going through chemo ,  Sasha layed on the bed next to me . She was always

by my side .  I just love her so much for being there .

NEXT: CHAPTER 4 – My Family

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