Consultation with Surgeon/Breast Care Nurse
You will probably have met a Breast Specialist by now having maybe had a core biopsy or been referred to them initially by your GP. Once the verdict is in and its definitely cancer then there’ll no doubt be some surgical intervention to assist its hasty departure.
Before any operating takes place you’ll sit down with your surgeon while they explain what they are planning to do and why and give you the opportunity to ask any questions (not much help with the ‘why’ of this cancer business as much as the ‘wherefores’). You’ll usually be given some information about the operation and anaesthetic to take home and this is great because you often find your brain turns to mush the minute you’re in any of these meetings – its even better if you can have a co-pilot there with you as they can often recount what was said afterwards or even take notes if they’re that way inclined.
This is also a chance to potentially meet your Breast Care Nurse (or Troublesome Boob Angel as she’ll become to you on this rocky road) if they operate in your area. These wonderful ladies are there as your primary point of contact and liaise with the specialist in ensuring your Breasts (or ex-Breasts) receive the best of care. They’ll check your dressings, check your drains, bring you your very first post-sugery ‘foobs’ and keep an eye on potential trouble spots down the line.
After your surgery planning meeting, you’ll leave with a definite idea of your surgery date. In most cases it will most likely be very swift and you’ll be seeing the surgeon in a week or so – leaving just enough time to have a farewell party for that part of you who’ll no longer be continuing with you on the journey. In some cases, such as Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC), the order of your treatment is changed and you won’t see them until about a month after your last chemotherapy.
One or two days before you’re admitted for surgery you’ll attend a Pre-Operative Admission appointment where they’ll take your weight, height, blood pressure and temperature and get you to fill in several forms about your vital statistics (name, DOB, address etc.). You’ll meet with a consultant and an anaesthetist who run through how you’re doing physically and finally a nurse to talk about what not to eat/drink on the big day, what to expect during your hospital stay and some tricksy issues such as tissue banking and what you want to happen to any parts that will soon leave your being.