Under the knife

According to her last MRI, the tumor in Jinni’s left breast has shrunk by around 80% since she was first diagnosed with Stage II cancer back on November 3rd.  The machine could hardly detect any sign of the previously palpable tumor in the lymph nodes under her left arm.  The eighteen weeks of neo-adjuvant chemotherapy did their job and today it is the surgeon’s turn.

You would think by the time a woman has celebrated the 16th anniversary of her 29th birthday she would have been under the knife before, but my girl never has.  But in her way of having little fear of trying new things and her aplomb for taking on any challenge, she is cool as a cucumber.  “Let’s just get it done.”, she said to the surgeon a week or so ago.  That said, she agreed when her parents called to say they would like to come in from Kentucky to be with her during and after the operation.  John and Pat arrived yesterday.

Dr. Newman will perform a lumpectomy on the tumor that is located right behind her left nipple.  A secondary benefit of the successful reaction to the pre-surgery chemo is that he will not have to remove as much tissue around the “margins” of the tumor, meaning any deformity of her breast will be kept to a bare minimum.  As if she cared.  She toyed with the idea of having the doctor perform a mastectomy to just rid herself of any possiblity of recurrance.  “It’s just a body part, and one I can do without.”, Jinni would say as we pondered the decision.  But given her type of cancer and her excellent response to the chemotherapy, her prognosis with a lumpectomy is equal to what it would be if she opted for the mastectomy.  So the breast stays.

Even though there is no perceptible sign of the cancer in her lymphatic system, they will remove all of the nodes under her arm anyway because that is where the cancer would be most likely to return if they aren’t dealt with now.  This aspect of the surgery is the one most likely to give her some problems post-op due to what those nodes do for the body in their normal function.  They serve as the sewage system for the left arm by removing certain fluids.  When removed, those fluids can build up and cause swelling – sometimes chronically – most times not… we are opting for the latter.

How are the kids, you ask?  Fine, as far as I can tell.  Josie left for Washington DC yesterday for a four day long school field trip.  She insisted on taking Jinni’s cell phone so she can call for periodic updates throughout the weekend.  Jackson is leaving tonight for a roller hockey tournament in Greenville, NC and will be back Sunday.  He has asked me to check him out of school early today so he can go see his Mom in the hospital before he leaves.  With his siblings gone, Jesse will be king for the weekend (nothing new about that).  What he is most concerned about is who will be on his baseball team when they have their first practice this Sunday.  I have looked for signs of trepidation in all three of them, but they, too, have their mother’s aplomb (look it up, Judy Lynn).

How am I?  Still a little pissed about Tuesday night’s City Council vote but otherwise… OK.  Thanks for asking.

They are only going to keep Jinni in the hospital overnight and they said she will probably be released early tomorrow morning.  She says she is going to request “a late check-out” but I keep telling her, unlike her fondness for making such a request at a hotel, those hospital folks are serious about charging by the hour.

She has to be at the hospital at 8:30 this morning.  Surgery is scheduled for 10:30.  I’ll keep you posted through the weekend

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