Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Radioactive Tracer, Pt. 1

Today is the radioactive tracer procedure, in preparation for the sentinal node biopsy and wide local excision tomorrow. I would like to say I am less scared now as I head toward the hospital, but I do not want to lie to you. I'm scared today, and little tearful. I am telling you this because maybe you're facing your own radioactive tracer, and I think it's pretty normal to be scared, even if you're a brave person. 

I read a quote today by Victor Hugo, and since I'm a French teacher, it spoke to me a little extra. It said, "Curiosity is one of the forms of feminine bravery." How about that? Cool, right? One of the ways I can be brave about this adventure is to be as curious as possible, and learn as much as I can. 

Here are some things I've learned:

1. There will be 4-6 injections.
2. They will feel hot like bee stings.
3. They will last "a little while", but not forever.
4. You can't have a topical anesthetic because it would mess up the circulation in that area, and circulation is what this is all about.

I guess this test is supposed to tell the doctor which node is the first one the melanoma might have reached, but I've learned that there's often a "tie" and the surgeon actually has to take out more than one node, and this is not a cause for concern. 

I read this awesome study about how holding a spouse's hand during times of stress and pain reduces women's experience of pain. It doesn't work with has to be someone you love.  I am blessed and fortunate to have my husband with me today, and he has promised to hold my hand. 

I'll be okay.

You can read about the study here, if you're curious.

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