A week after my second surgery, I had a follow-up appointment with my surgeon. It was a very brief appointment and by now I’m used to the routine: strip down from the waist up, put on a pretty gown, and then nervously wait and joke around with Bri. Dr. Penman had a surgical student with her and we heard them whispering outside my examine room door. I now know that she was probably just giving the student a brief history of my situation, but when I heard my name and whispering I started to feel even more nervous and anxious. Prior to the appointment, I was already nervous about my incision spot and area. After my lumpectomy on December 16, I bounced back easily and mainly just dealt with soreness in my chest area. However, after the reexcision surgery, there was substantially more bruising and more pain. Also, the incision spot felt really hard and I just feared that this was not normal.
Luckily, Dr. Penman came in and told me the surgery went well and there was no remaining cancerous cells. I told her about my concerns with the additional bruising and pain this time around. She reassured me that it was perfectly okay and that the body just responds differently. I was told to come back to see her in 6 months and then everything got kinda awkward. I was happy that I wouldn’t be seeing her for a while, but I also felt sad. I read about this feeling in one of my books. There are several months where a cancer patient is shuffling from appointment to appointment. Sometimes when one is done their cancer treatments and their life goes back to “normal” they experience sadness or a void – even though it should be a really happy time. I think I just felt at ease with my surgeon and enjoyed talking with her during our brief appointments. She seemed really genuinely happy for me, and just like that we reached over and hugged each other. It felt really good to have a doctor care for me that way and I’m really impressed with the team of professionals I’m working with. I’m not quite sure I’d hug some of the other doctors (yet?). Dr. Biggs is amazing, but I’m not sure he has hug potential. I might have to work on cracking him – he just seems so serious.