Bolting the Operating Room….the Fear

This high strung survivor (in the middle with staff members) tried to flee the operating room before her surgery. Now she has to deal with being reminded all too often that she has breast cancer….

IN HER OWN WORDS: When I walked into the operating room for my breast cancer surgery, I was shocked. I was never in an operating room before; it looked like a torture chamber. The operating table was so narrow and long and straps were hanging from the table. I never knew they strap you down when you have an operation. I did not think I could fit on the table it was so narrow. And then I saw people with gowns and masks surrounding this long skinny table. I remember thinking what are they doing there and then I realized, oh my God, they are waiting for me.

After I got on the table, I suddenly felt this sudden urge to escape and I jumped off the table (I know they thought I was crazy). I was running out into the hall and I saw my family walking away–they had just walked me into the room and said good bye. Luckily my doctor went to get me and took me back to the operating room and said, “You must do this, you have no choice.” He hit me with that reality and I somehow surrendered to what was going to happen to me.

I remember waking up from anesthesia. I realized I lived through the operation. I looked down and saw a lot of bandages….

It is now five years later. At first I was distressed by the deformity from the lumpectomy but I have come to accept that as a sign of having gone through a difficult diagnosis and treatment. And I could look at myself in the mirror and not see it as a scar, but see it as a sign of being blessed to be cancer free.

I never anticipated ever being diagnosed with breast cancer. Maybe it was because I had such small breasts. I thought only large breasted women got breast cancer. I came from a family with two doctors. I figured I was protected. When Dr. Kehoe confirmed that I had breast cancer, I was in a state of disbelief. I could not understand how this could happen to me.

I am grateful to have had no reccurence of the breast cancer. I do worry about it coming back to another location in my body. But I really try not to think about it. But I can’t escape it, because its everywhere–it’s on TV, on the internet, on magazine covers, I am trying not to think about it but I am reminded about it all the time.

The horrors of the operating room I felt that day are long gone, replaced by a new form of fear that I sometimes tolerate well and at other times not so well….