This is a short but sweet post. So many texts, emails, and calls have come in wishing me well tomorrow. I love all the love, and I know that one doesn’t need cancer to know all this love, but I guess it doesn’t hurt!
Here’s my feel good story:
On Friday, I went to West Boca Medical Center to take care of some pre-op testing. They took some pee, drew some blood, took an EKG, and gave me a COVID test to make sure I’m in tip top shape for a long surgery. I am, which is reassuring.
When I walked into the pre-op space, I met two nurses. One was an older Cuban lady named Esther. As she was getting me ready, she asked me if I was having a lumpectomy. I barely got out the word “mastectomy” and started crying (I promise this is a feel good story). She immediately hugged me and told me it was going to be okay. She herself was a breast cancer survivor who had been operated on the year before by…. wait for it… Dr. Dudak and Dr. Becker. And her oncology team is the same as mine. She gushed about everyone and assured me, yet again, that I was in the best hands. She had finished chemo in April and was back at work, looking and feeling well. Her cancer is triple negative and much more aggressive, yet there she was, living her life and helping the boob newbies like me. Her demeanor and her sweetness were exactly what I needed.
As she looked at my arm, however, she grimaced because my veins are so tiny or so deep in my skin it’s always an adventure trying to stick a needle in one. She summoned Angela, the other nurse in the pre-op area. As soon as Angela saw me, her eyes lit up and she asked me if I remembered her. She had a mask on, but I assumed she must have been a student because of her lovely Brazilian accent. She was indeed my student in 2013. In that class, I had them write a letter to themselves that would be mailed one year later. I had them write about what goals they had in that year, and I gave them all envelopes to address. I kept the envelopes a whole year, stamped them, and mailed them out. In her letter, Angela told herself that her goal was to get into the nursing program at the college. 7 years later, Angela is an RN working at the hospital. She thanked me for helping her with her English and for doing that letter activity. I cried again. Angela, a gifted phlebotomist, easily and painlessly found a vein.
I saw my encounter with both of these women as an excellent sign that all will be well! In the words of my sweet and beautiful Portland Mama Rene’s text message today, “Kick that shit right out of those beautiful boobies!!!” I will, Mama, I will. 😘