THE STORY OF MY BREAST LUMP (VII)

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A doua operatie la san

As fi sperat ca dupa prima operatie la san sa ma opresc aici, din nefericire nu a fost asa. Ma bucur insa ca si a doua oara a fost vorba tot de un nodul benign. Cat am fost in spital si am vazut in jurul meu multa tristete si diagnostice infricosatoare, operatia mea a parut doar un hop mic fata de alte lucruri mai grave.

Am descoperit al doilea nodul la san la unul dintre controalele regulate. A inceput sa se formeze la 4 luni dupa prima operatie. Dupa ce m-am sfatuit cu medicul meu am decis sa il urmarim in urmatoarele 3 luni, ca sa vedem cum evolueaza. A crescut relativ repede; la urmatorul control avea deja 1 centimetru. Pe ecografie totul arata bine, o a doua operatie nu era o urgenta, asa cum s-a intampat prima data, cand diagnosticul nu era unul atat de sigur.

Am decis insa sa il operez acum, cat nu au aparut complicatii, dar si pentru ca incizia sa fie cat mai mica. A doua operatie a fost mult mai usoara (a avut loc la 9 luni de la prima), poate si pentru ca deja stiam la ce sa ma astept. Interventia si recuperarea au fost mult mai simple decat prima data, cand totul a fost intr-un stadiu mult mai avansat. Desi aspectul nodului era benign, tot am avut ceva emotii, pana in clipa in care am auzit rezultatele. Nu stiu de ce, dar creierul meu refuza sa nu proceseze si varianta scenariului negativ. Celebrul “ce se intampla daca” m-a tot urmarit.

Experienta mea nu a fost diferita, procedurile de internare, cele dinaintea operatiei si dupa au fost fix la fel. Am reactionat la fel de bine si la anestezie, am descoperit ca reusesc mare parte din ce se intampla dupa ce ma trezesc (aparent e un fenomen rar, care i-a surprins pe doctori). Pacientele cu care am interactionat au fost la fel de prietenoase si de curajoase. Va recomand ca daca vreodata ajungeti intr-un spital, indiferent din ce motiv, sa fiti cat mai prietenoase si mai vorbarete (desi uneori e ultimul lucru pe care il doriti), o vorba buna si un zambet ajuta. Atat pe cel care le ofera, cat si pe cel caruia ii sunt adresate. Timpul trece mai repede cand ai cu cine schimba o vorba.

Acum sunt bine, astept urmatoarele controale si sper sa nu ma mai confrunt vreodata cu o situatie de acest fel, desi nu se stie niciodata. Pentru fibroadenoame, pentru ca asta am avut, nu exista o explicate clara, nimeni nu stie de ce apar, desi cel mai probabil cauza pare sa fie una hormonala. O data aparute nu exista tratament, doar monitorizare si operatie, la recomandarea doctorului. Ca sa ma protejez de fibroadenoame sau de alte probleme am facut cateva schimbari in stilul de viata, dar si in alimentatie. Nu e vorba de ceva extrem, pentru ca nu sunt adepta unor schimbari bruste, dar despre asta intr-o postare viitoare. Pana atunci, va urez multa sanatate si daca mai aveti intrebari  ma gasiti mereu aici. Cel mai important lucru pe care imi doresc sa il retineti este ca un control anual la sani este extrem de important, poate fi diferenta intre viata si moarte, asa ca nu il ignorati!

My second breast surgery

I would have hoped that my first breast surgery will also be the last. It wasn’t like this. But still, I’m glad that the second time it was also a benign lump. While I was in the hospital, I saw around me all the sadness and scary diagnostics, and I can say my surgery was just a small challenge.

I discovered the second lump during one of the routine check-ups. It started to form only 4 months after my first surgery. After I talked to my doctor, we decided the best thing was to do a follow-up after 3 months and see how it evolves. It grew relatively fast; at my next checkup, it already was 1 cm in size. It had a benign aspect, surgery was not an emergency, like the first time, when the diagnose was not so clear.

We decided to have surgery early, to prevent any future complications, and for aesthetic reasons: a smaller incision. The second surgery was easier (9 months after the first one), maybe because I knew what to expect. The surgery and the recovery were easier than the first time when all was in a more advanced stage. Even if the lump looked benign, I was still nervous until the moment I got the results. I don’t know why, but my brain refused to stop thinking about a negative scenario. “What if” was my constant thought.

My experience was not different from the first, the hospitalization procedures and the ones after and before surgery were the same. I also reacted well again to the general anesthesia, I discovered that I can remember almost everything that happens right after I wake up (apparently it’s a rare phenomenon that surprised the doctors). The patients that I interacted with were very friendly this time and brave also. If you are ever in a hospital, no matter the reason, be as friendly and as talkative as possible (even if sometimes is the last thing you want), a nice word and a smile always help the giver and the receiver. Time passes quickly when you have someone to talk to.

Now I’m well, waiting for my next checkups, and I hope never to return there again, even if you never know what’s next. For fibroadenomas, because it’s what I had, there is no clear explanation, nobody knows why they shop up, but most probably, it’s a hormonal imbalance. Once they form, there is no treatment, other than follow ups or surgery, depending on the doctor’s advice. To try and remain fibroadenoma-free, I made some changes in my lifestyle and food. It’s not something drastic, I don’t approve of extreme changes, but I’ll write about this soon. Until then, I wish you health and if you have any questions, I’ll always be here. The most important thing that I want you to learn and remember from my story is that an annual breast exam is very important, it can mean the difference between life and death, so do not ignore it!

THE STORY OF MY BREAST LUMP (VI)

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Prima discutie dupa operatie

Dupa ce am ajuns in salon, doamna doctor mi-a mai facut o vizita; s-a asigurat ca sunt bine si a discutat cu mine pret de cateva minute. Abia atunci m-am convins definitiv ca rezultatul a fost unul bun.

Nu mi-a fost rau deloc, desi imi era o sete crunta; imediat dupa operatie nu ai voie sa bei foarte multa apa. Dupa cateva ore am putut sa mananc ceva usor si am avut voie sa beau si o cafea cu mult lapte. Asta m-a facut tare fericita.

In noaptea dupa operatie, desi ma simteam bine, am ramas in spital ca masura de precautie. Durerile au fost suportabile, nu am avut nevoie de calmante. De dormit nu prea am reusit sa dorm dar nu stiu pe nimeni care sa se fi odihnit bine intr-un spital. Patul nu era foarte comod, si asta mi-a facut viata si mai grea pentru ca ma durea spatele mai rau decat operatia. E agitatie chiar si noaptea, pacientii mai merg la baie, asistentele mai intra in salon.

Dimineata a urmat si primul pansament si momentul in care am vazut operatia pentru prima data. Arata mai bine decat ma asteptam, foarte putin inflamata si fara vanatai evidente. Pasamentul nu e deloc dueros, doar se schimba o fasa si cu o seringa se extrage limfa de la locul operatiei (daca e cazul sau daca nu exista drena, asta depinde de la caz la caz). Apoi am fost gata de plecare.

Sfaturile au fost simple, revenirea la pansamente, efort minim cateva zile, comprese cu gheata pentru evitarea inflamarii si urmarea unui tratmanent medicamentos. Firele le-am scos dupa doua saptamani, procesul nu a fost deloc dureos. Restrictii au fost minime, sa evit pentru moment baile lungi, expunerea la soare si sa nu fac sport o perioada.

M-am bucurat ca nu am avut probleme cu operatia, care s-a vindecat binisor. Acum, dupa 10 luni inca se mai observa (nici nu se poate altfel) insa nu este ceva deranjant. Consider ca e un pret mic platit pentru sanatatea mea. Din punct de vedere estetic nu aveti de ce sa va faceti giji. In functie de taietura, zona va fi amortita timp de cateva luni, dar isi va reveni cu timpul. Iar singurele restrictii pe care le am in continuare sunt legate de expunerea directa la soare. Asadar, interzis la topless 🙂

Urmeaza controale si ecografii periodice, la recomandarea doctorului. Eu am avut insa ghinion teribil; a aparut si al doilea nodul dupa cateva luni, la sanul opus, fix in acelasi loc.

First talk after surgery

After I got back to the hospital room, my doctor came back to check up on me; she made sure I’m ok and we talked for a couple of minutes. It was only then that I was convinced the test result was ok.

I didn’t feel sick at all, but I was so so thirsty; right after surgery, you’re not allowed to drink lots of water. After a few hours I was allowed to eat something light and I had a cup of coffee with milk. This made me very happy.

I stayed in the hospital the night after surgery, even if I was feeling well, as a precaution measure. The pain was bearable, I didn’t need any painkillers. I couldn’t really sleep, the bed was not very comfortable, and you can’t get a good rest in a hospital. There are people roaming around even during the night, the patients often go to the bathroom, and the nurses enter the rooms to check the patients.

In the morning my bandages were changed and I took a look at the surgery. It looked better than I was expecting, no visible inflammation and no bruising. The bandage change is not painful, the nurse will just change the bandage and the doctor will use a syringe to extract lymph from the surgery site (if it’s the case or if there’s not a surgical drain in place). I was ready to go home.

The doctor’s advice was simple, I came back for bandage changes a few times, no physical effort for a few days, local ice pack applications to avoid inflammation and a prescription for a few days. I got my stitches removed after two weeks, and it was not painful at all. There were minimal restrictions, no hot and long baths, no sun exposure and no sports for a while.

I was happy I had no major issues after the surgery, it healed pretty well. Now, after 10 months it’s barely noticeable (it will always be there) but it’s not a problem. It’s a small price I paid for my health. From the esthetic point of view, there’s nothing to worry about. Each surgery is different, but the site of the incision may be numb for a while. You’ll get the senses back soon. The only restrictions I still have are related to direct sun exposure. So no topless tanning 🙂

I also have periodic ultrasounds, depending on the doctor orders. I had bad luck; a second breast lump appeared after a few months in my other breast, in the exact same location.

THE STORY OF MY BREAST LUMP (V)

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La terapie intensiva

Operatia de indepartare a nodului a durat cam 45 de minute. Doctorii au scos nodulul si inca o bucatica de tesut din san aflata chiar sub nodul, cu aspect atipic. Aceasta zona nu era vizibila la ecografie, din cauza nodulului de deasupra; iata unul dintre motivele pentru care orice nodul care trece de 2 centimetri ar trebui scos. Medicii afla primele rezultate chiar in sala de operatie. Rezultatele definitive sunt eliberate dupa mai multe teste (in aproximativ 30 de zile). Eu am avut noroc, ambele teste au aratat ca nu erau prezente celule canceroase.

Dupa operatie, m-am trezit chiar in sala, asistata de medici; doua asistente ma pansau. Desi se spune ca dupa anestezia generala te trezesti fara sa ai notiunea timpului ca si cum abia ai adormit, la mine nu a fost asa, stiam ca a trecut ceva vreme, eu am crezut ca e vorba de o ora.  Primul lucru pe care l-am facut a fost sa ii intreb pe doctori de 5 ori (eu am crezut ca am intrebat de 3 ori) daca rezultatul a fost bun. Mi-au raspuns da, de fiecare data. Apoi am fost transportata la terapie intensiva, cu o perfuzie de ser fiziologic. Era doar o masura de precautie. Nu am putut sa adorm deloc, mai mult decat atat, mintea imi alerga si nu voiam decat sa plec acasa. Cat am stat acolo (aproximativ 45 de minute) am inceput sa ma gandesc ca medicii mi-au zis ca sunt bine chiar daca nu eram ca sa nu ma agite dupa operatie. Da, am fost putin paranoia.

Inainte ca anestezia sa isi faca complet efectul, dar si dupa ce m-am trezit am fost extrem de activa si de vorbareata. Imi aduc aminte aproximativ 80 la suta din tot ce am zis. De la lucruri extrem de serioase si lucide la lucruri de genul: “Daca tot mi-ati operat sanii, i-ati si marit?”” sau “Si eu voiam sa ma fac chirurg, m-am razgandit si am ales sa scriu, dar ma uit la operatii pe Discovery Channel” plus multe multe altele. Daca pacientul e constient si se simte bine, poate fi vizitat de 2 persoane, chiar acolo, la terapie intensiva, pentru o perioada foarte scurta de timp, dupa se ce respecta cateva norme igienice.

Insotitorii pot astepta in fata blocului operator si o asistenta va discuta cu ei despre situatia pacientului. Cand medicul de la terapie intensiva a decis ca sunt ok, am fost transportata inapoi in salon cu un carucior cu rotile (eu voiam sa o iau pe scari) si la jumatatea drumului l-am rugat pe baiatul care ma impingea sa “bage viteza”. Dupa cum vedeti, am fost un pacient atipic, care nu a reactionat deloc rau la anestezie.

Restul povestii:

Intensive care unit

The lump removal surgery lasted about 45 minutes. The doctor removed the lump and another piece of breast tissue, located right under the lump, with an atypical aspect. This area was not visible during the ultrasound tests because the lump concealed it; it’s one of the reasons why any lump larger than 2 centimeters should be removed. The doctors find out the first results in the operating room. The final results are ready after many tests (about 30 working days). I was lucky, no cancerous cells were present.

After the surgery, I woke up in the operating room, assisted by the doctors; two nurses were applying bandages. They say that after general anesthesia you wake up with no notion of time like you just fell asleep, but it wasn’t like this for me, I knew some time has passed and thought it was about an hour. The first thing I did was to ask them 5 times (I thought it was only 3 times) if the result is ok. They answered yes each time. Then I was transferred to the intensive care unit, with a saline solution IV. Only as a precaution measure. I couldn’t sleep at all, even more so, my mind was racing and I only wanted to go home. While I was there (about 45 minutes) my mind started to create all kind of theories, one being that the doctors lied about the tests so that I wouldn’t react badly right after surgery. Yes, I was a bit paranoid.

Before the general anesthesia fully kicked in and also after I woke up I’ve been extremely active and talkative. I remember about 80 percent of what I said, from serious things to stuff like: “Well if you performed surgery on by breasts did you also augment them?” or “I also wanted to be a surgeon, I chose writing in the end, but I watch surgeries on the Discovery Channel” and many more. If the patient is aware and well, 2 persons are allowed to visit in the intensive care unit, but for a very short period of time and only after some hygienic measures are taken.

The hospital companions can wait outside the operation room, and a nurse will talk to them about the patient’s situation. When the intensive care doctor decided I’m ok, they took me back to my hospital room in a wheelchair (I wanted to take the stairs) and halfway I asked the guy who was pushing the chair to “step it up a bit”. As you can see, I’ve been an atypical patient, who reacted well to the general anesthesia.

The rest of the story:

THE STORY OF MY BREAST LUMP (IV)

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Operatia de indepartare a nodulului

In ziua operatiei m-am trezit super devreme, oricum nu prea am avut somn (a fost prima experienta de acest fel pentru mine). Am fost preluata de asistenta doctorului meu, care mi-a luat pulsul, tensiunea, mi-a dat un gel de dus cu care sa ma spal pe locul operatiei si mi-a dat si halatelul in care urma sa intru in sala. Apropo, daca s-ar lucra putin si la bai si dusuri as putea sa spun ca la Institutul Oncologic Bucuresti (IOB) ar fi aproape bine. Dar stiind ce e prin alte spitale ma abtin de la comentarii inutile. Aici exista o baie cat de cat curata (depinde si de colegele de salon), functionala si un dus.

Am mai schimbat cateva vorbe si cu doamna doctor si cu cel de-al doilea medic care urma sa ma opereze.

Apoi o alta asistenta m-a luat de manuta, a incercat sa ma linisteasca pe cat de mult posibil in acea situatie si m-a condus spre blocul operator.

Acum fac o mica pauza si va spun ca eu multa vreme am vrut sa am fac chirurg, nu imi e frica de sange, operatie, ace, ba chiar sunt curioasa. Firea mea mi-a facut viata mult mai usoara in spital.

Am ajuns in preoperator si parca am intrat in alta lume. Era prima experienta de acest gen din viata mea. Era modern si curat, peste asteptarile mele. Am fost preluata de asistentele de aici, carora le multumesc pentru vorbele frumoase si zambete.

Una imi punea cipiceii in picioare, alta casca pe cap iar alta branula in mana. Sunt genul de om caruia nu ii place necunoscutul in aceste situatii, vreau sa stiu ce urmeaza sa mi se intample. Medicii si asistentele au vazut acest lucru si mi-au respectat dorinta. Inca un lucru la care nu ma asteptam. Imi era frica de faptul ca o sa mi se vorbeasca de sus si ca o sa mi se comande mai rau decat imi era de operatia in sine.

Tot in preoperator, urma sa vina si medicul anestezist pentru o discutie de rutina. Am stat acolo cuminte cateva minute. In sala alaturata se desfasura o operatie … curioasa din fire am urmarit totul din spatele geamului. Desigur, nu trebuie sa faceti ca mine, daca va e foarte frica atunci mai bine stati lungite in pat.

Dupa discutia de rutina cu anestezistul, una dintre asistente a venit sa ma conduca spre sala de operatie. In drumul meu am trecut si pe langa alte sali. Se opereaza pe muzica, sau in liniste doar cu sunetul aparatelor de monitorizare. Din nou, curizitatea si ineditul situatiei cred ca mi-au blocat cat de cat frica.

Am ajuns in sala de operatie, acolo ma astptau medicii, cu zambetul pe buze si comunicativi. Au ramas asa pana am adormit. Dupa ce m-am intins pe masa, doctorii mi-au spus, impreuna cu asistentele tot ce se intampla, pas cu pas. La un moment dat m-au anuntat ca se pregatesc sa injecteze anestezia. “O sa te simti putin ametita”, mi-a spus doctorul.

Pentru ca nu am mai trecut prin asa ceva, bazandu-ma pe ce am auzit de la prieteni si pe ceam vazut in emisiunile de la tv, am crezut ca o sa pic lata imediat. Nu s-a intamplat asta si la mine. Am intrebat de cateva ori daca adorm, cand trebuie sa adorm si de ce nu adorm mai repede. Asta s-a intamplat dupa ce le-am transmis tuturor ca eu voiam sa ma fac chirurg si ca la noapte o sa dorm pe patul din blocul operator, pentru ca e mult mai confortabil decat patul meu din salon. Cred ca toti au fost usurati sa vada ca am adormit in sfarsit.

Restul povestii:

Breast lump removal surgery

I woke up super early on the day of the surgery; I didn’t sleep much anyway (it was my first surgery). My doctor’s nurse took my pulse and arterial pressure, gave me a shower gel to wash the surgery site and also gave me a robe to put on before surgery. By the way, if they would upgrade the bathrooms and toilets, I could say that the conditions at The National Oncology Institute in Bucharest (IOB) are almost decent. But, knowing the state of other hospitals, I stay away from useless comments. At least here I had a mildly clean bathroom (it also depends on the other patients), and a place to shower.

I also exchanged some words with the doctors, they were nice enough to visit and discuss some final aspects.

Another nurse came and took my hand, she tried to comfort me as much as possible on our way to the operating room.

Insert short break here, because I want to tell you that for the longest time I wanted to become a surgeon, so I’m not afraid of blood, hospitals, needles, I am very curious. This made my life easier here.

I arrived in the preoperative room and I felt like I have entered another world. It was the first experience for me; it was modern and clean, over my expectations. I want to thank the nurses who took care of me, were gentle and smiled.

One nurse was putting on those operating room slippers, another one the surgical hair net and the Intravenous (IV) cannula. I’m the type of person who does not like the unknown in situations like these, I want to know what’s going to happen next. The doctors and nurses here noticed this and respected my wish. It was another thing I did not expect. I was afraid they were going to patronize me, it was actually scarier than the surgery itself.

I also waited here for the anesthesiologist to show up for a routine talk. I waited for a few minutes. In a room nearby the doctors were performing a surgery … I’m very curious and took a peek from behind the window. Of course, you don’t have to do this, if you’re afraid you should just lie on the bed and try to relax.

After the routine talk with the anesthesiologist, one of the nurses came to take me to the operating room. On my way, I’ve passed other rooms. Some performed surgery listening to music, others were quiet; you could only hear the sound of the medical equipment. Again, my curiosity blocked my fear.

I arrived in the operating room, and there the doctors were waiting, they were smiling and very talkative. They stayed like this until I fell asleep. After I lied down on the table, the doctors and nurses told me what was going on, step by step. At some point, they’ve told me they’ll begin the anesthesia procedure. “You’re going to feel a bit dizzy”, said the doctor.

Because it was my first experience, I was only relying on what I’ve seen on TV documentaries and on what my friends told me, so I thought I’ll fall asleep on the spot. It didn’t happen with me. I’ve asked a few times if I’m falling asleep, when will I fall asleep and why I’m not falling asleep faster. Before this, I’ve let everyone know that I wanted to be a surgeon and that “tonight I’m sleeping here because It’s way more comfortable than the bed I was supposed to actually sleep in.” I think they were all relieved when I finally fell asleep.

The rest of the story:

THE STORY OF MY BREAST LUMP (III)

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Internarea

Doua saptamani mai tarziu, dupa multe griji, scenarii si nopti nedormite, a venit in sfarist si ziua internarii. Am adus cu mine tot ce doctorul meu a inclus pe o lista (depinde de la caz la caz).

Desigur, sa nu uitam de bagajul pentru spital. Urma sa stau o zi inainte de operatie, in ziua operatiei pentu ca ziua urmatare sa fiu externata. Eu am adus:

  • 2 pijamale de schimb (cu nasturi in fata) 
  • lenjerie intima pentru 3 zile 
  • ciorapi pentru 3 zile 
  • papuci (va ajuta sa fie de cauciuc ca sa nu intrati desculte in dus)
  • pasta de dinti si periuta 
  • sapun 
  • ceva de prins parul (eu l-am prins in coada)
  • carti, pix, telefon si incarcator, casti, orice ca sa imi ocup timpul cat mai mult
  • servetele umede si hartie igienica 
  • crema de fata 
  • prosop 
  • apa 
  • optional o cana si tacamuri (eu in prima zi am mancat la cantina spitalului, a doua zi dupa operatie doar un covrig si o felie de pizza iar a treia zi am mancat acasa)  

De cum am ajuns (8:30), am fost preluata de asistenta doctorului meu, care a inceput procedurile pentru internare. A urmat un sir lung de intrebari despre starea de sanatate, alergii, alte boli sau operatii. Apoi analize de sange (nu mancati in dimineata internarii) si inca o ecografie pentru marcarea exacta a locului in care se afla nodulul (investigatiile in functe de medic si de diagnosticul fiecaruia).

Medicul meu a discutat cu mine si cu sotul meu. Ne-a raspuns rabdatoare la toate intrebarile si ne-a explicat EXACT ce va urma sa se intample, inainte, in timpul si dupa operatie.

Trebuie sa stiti ca si insotitorul va da cu subsemnatul pentru interventie. Regulile spitalului. Poate fi o ruda sau pur si simplu iubitul. Si voi veti semna multe foi. Va dati acordul pentru internare, operatie, anestezie, explicati exact ce vreti sa stiti despre diagnostic (daca vreti sa stiti sau nu) si cine altcineva din familie mai afla (sau nu) aceste detalii. Apoi am ajuns in salonul unde urma sa imi petrec urmatoarele zile. Trebuie sa stiti ca exista saloane cu cate trei paturi si grup sanitar la comun cu salonul alaturat, unde sunt tot trei paturi. Grupurile sanitare sunt …decente, ma rezum la atat. Daca aveti noroc, exista si salon de doua paturi cu baie privata. Unele saloane au si frigidere (puteti folosi un frigider din alt salon daca nu aveti chiar in camera), tv nu am vazut, mie mi-a tinut companie radioul de pe net.

In saloane si in grupurile sanitare e curat fata de alte spitale si contrar asteptarilor mele (da, stiu ca nu e bine sa iti faci o idee fara sa stii exact, dar cu totii stim cu e in spital in Romania) toata lumea s-a purtat extrem de bine, de la internare pana la externare.

Am avut doua colege de camera senzationale, ne-am incurajat si am stat de vorba pana noaptea tarziu, desi erau mult mai in varsta decat mine. Am socializat si cu colegele din alte camere. Spuneau despre noi ca suntem cele mai prietenoase si ne vizitau. Asa a fost prima zi in spital.

Restul povestii:

The Hospitalization

Two weeks and many worries later, after sleepless nights, the first day of hospitalization came. I brought everything my doctor asked (depends on each case).

Don’t forget the luggage. I stayed in the hospital a day before surgery, the day of the surgery and I was discharged the next day. I brought:

  • 2 pairs of pajamas (buttoned in front)
  • underwear for 3 days
  • socks for 3 days
  • slippers (the rubber kind, I won’t shower barefoot)
  • toothpaste and toothbrush
  • soap
  • a hairband (I kept my hair in a ponytail)
  • books, pen, phone and charger, headphones, anything to keep me busy
  • wet towels and hygienic paper
  • face cream
  • towel
  • water
  • if you want, a mug and cutlery (during my first day I ate at the hospital’s canteen, after surgery I ate a pretzel and a slice of pizza and in my third day I ate home)

As soon as I arrived (8:30), my doctor’s nurse took care of the hospitalization papers, then I answered many questions about my health in general, allergies, other illnesses or surgeries. Blood tests followed (do not eat in the morning of hospitalization) and another breast ultrasound to mark the spot of the lump (the medical investigations differ for every patient and diagnose).

My doctor discussed with my husband and me. She patiently answered all of our questions and explained EXACTLY what will happen before, during and after surgery.

Whoever comes with you will also sign papers consenting to the surgery. Hospital rules. It can be a relative or your boyfriend. You will also sign many papers. You must agree for hospitalization, surgery, anesthesia, and you must explain clearly what you want to know about the diagnosis (if you want to know or not) and who else in your family will be informed (or not). After all this, I was assigned a room to spend the next days in. There are rooms with 3 beds and a common toilet with the joined room, where you’ll also find 3 beds. The bathrooms are … decent. I’ll leave it at that. If you’re lucky there are also rooms with 2 beds and a private bath. Some rooms have a fridge (you can use a fridge in another room if you don’t have one), I didn’t see a TV, the internet radio kept me company.

The rooms and toilets are clean if you compare it to other hospitals (yes, it’s not right to form an opinion ahead of time, but we all know how the hospitals look in Romania) everyone was nice from the day of the admittance until the discharge day came.

My two roommates were very nice, we supported each other and talked until late in the night, even if they were older than me. We also talked to the other patients. They said about us that we are the friendliest and kept visiting. This was the first day in the hospital.

The rest of the story:

THE STORY OF MY BREAST LUMP (II)

Post available in English and Romanian

Prima Consultatie

La prima vizita la IOB mi-am deschis fisa acolo si am fost repartizata unui medic la consultatie. Mentionati daca vi s-a recomandat un medic anume. Daca ajungeti cumva acolo, iata ce trebuie sa stiti. Aveti nevoie de:

  • Trimitere de la medicul de familie, cu specificarea ca este pentru IOB.
  • Cardul de sanatate activ.
  •  Adeverinta de salariat de la locul de munca, care sa dovedeasca faptul ca sunteti la zi cu cotizatia. E stupid in contextul existentei cardurilor dar asa e regula. Ii multumesc fetei blonde de acolo care a vazut frica in ochii mei si a trecut peste faptul ca nu adusesem adeverinta in acea zi.

Nu aveam de unde sa stiu, am revenit dupa cateva zile si am atasat-o la dosar.

In hol veti gasi doua masini care impart bonuri de ordine. Aveti doua optiuni: pentru pacientii care revin, sau pentru pacientii noi. Luati bonul corespunzator si asteptati linistiti sa va vina randul (va striga in ordine fetele de la receptie iar numarul bonului e afisat pe ecrane). Nu are rost sa va certati, agitati sau mai stiu eu ce. Cum le-am transmis celor care se bagau in fata, desi sistemul era destul de bine pus la punct pentru Romania. “Toti suntem disperati, plini de frica si bolnavi. Toti vrem sa fim primii sa ne rezolvam problema. Dar hai sa ramanem oameni si sa ne respectam. Altfel cum putem sa pretindem respect”.

In fine … am ajuns la consultatie cu ecografia in mana. Si ii multumesc doamnei doctor pentru felul in care a vorbit si mi-a expus informatiile. A incercat pe cat a putut sa ma linisteasca. Nu putea sa imi zica exact despre ce e vorba fara sa ma opereze. Acelasi lucru mi-l spusesera si medicul de la ecograf si medicul de familie. Eram pregatita pentru orice. Am stabilit impreuna data operatiei si am primit indicatiile pentru internare.

Restul povestii:

First Exam

At my first visit to the National Institute of Oncology I signed up for a consultation and I was assigned to a doctor. You can mention if you have a recommendation for a certain doctor. If you are from Romania you’ll need:

  • A recommendation from your family physician, with an IOB mention.
  • An active health insurance card.
  • A certificate from your employer stating that your health insurance is up to date. This is stupid now that we have the health insurance cards but that’s the rule. I want to thank the blonde girl who saw the fear in my eyes and assigned me even if I didn’t have the certificate on me.

I didn’t knew I needed one, so I came back and attached it to my file.

In the lobby, you’ll find two ticket dispenser machines. You have two options: for returning patients, or new patients. Take the ticket you need and wait your turn (you’ll be called according to your ticket and the ticket numbers are also displayed on screens). It’s useless to fight with the other people. As I said to those who wanted to skip the line, even if the system is pretty organized. “We are all desperate, scared and sick/ We all want to be first to solve our health issues. Let’s be humans and respect each other. How else could we expect to be treated with respect”.

Finally, I arrived at the doctor’s office with my ultrasound. I want to thank my doctor for speaking to me clearly and for giving me all the info I needed. She tried to comfort me a little. She couldn’t say what was there without surgery. I got the same diagnostic at the ultrasound and at my family physician. I was ready for anything. We set the date of the surgery and I received a set of indications before hospitalisation.

The rest of the story:

THE STORY OF MY BREAST LUMP (I)

Post available in English and Romanian

Descoperirea

Trist, dar adevarat; in Romania 9.000 de femei sunt diagnosticate anual cu cancer mamar, iar cifrele sunt in crestere. Nu suntem in octombrie, luna dedicata luptei imporiva cancerului la san, dar cred ca acesta este un subiect care trebuie dezbatut oricand. De curand am trecut si eu printr-o experienta destul de neplacuta, mai ales din punct de vedere emotional, care m-a convins sa descriu aici ce s-a intamplat, in speranta ca poate va ajuta pe cineva. Si in speranta ca din ce in ce mai multe femei nu vor mai ignora necesitatea unui control anual, mai ales dupa 30 de ani.

Povestea mea incepe prin aprilie anul trecut, cand am inceput sa simt o durere la san. Initial, am crezut ca are legatura cu perioada lunii, insa ea a persistat. M-am ingrijorat si am inceput sa ma palpez. Prima greseala: inainte nu aveam acest obicei. Undeva in minte cred ca tuturor ne rasuna in cap celebrele cuvinte “nu mi se intampla mie”. Asa am descoperit un nodul destul de mare la sanul drept. Fuga la doctor pentru un consult rapid si o trimitere la ecografie.

In ziua ecografiei nimic nu mi-a mers bine. Cu toate astea, m-am dus acolo relaxata, convinsa ca o sa am parte de un rezultat concludent. Multa vreme am vrut sa dau la medicina si pot sa spun ca multi termeni imi sunt destul de cunoscuti. Stiam ce semnale de bine sa caut pe ecranul ecografului.
In momentul in care am vazut nodulul pe ecran m-am blocat, nu arata deloc cum trebuie. Margini neregulate, destul de maricel si mai rau, deja vascularizat. Deja imi trecea prin cap ce e mai rau. Degeaba a incercat medicul sa imi explice ca nu se poate pune un diagnostic exact, fara un control de specialitate. In mintea mea deja curgeau scenariile. Asa am ajuns cateva zile mai tarziu direct la Institutul Oncologic Bucuresti (IOB).

Dupa ce am discutat cu medicul meu in amanunt despre interventie (urma sa scoatem nodulul pentru mai multe analize), am cautat multe informatii pe net despre spital si ce se intampla acolo, insa nu am gasit raspuns la toate intrebarile mele. In postarile care vor urma va voi povesti mai multe lucruri si daca aveti intrebari va rog sa mi le adresati oricand.

Restul povestii:

The discovery

It’s sad but true; in Romania 9000 women are diagnosed each year with breast cancer, and the numbers keep rising. We are not in October, the month dedicated to the fight against breast cancer, but I think this is a subject that we can discuss anytime. Recently I have also been through a very unpleasant experience, especially from an emotional point of view. I decided to write here about my experience, hoping that I could help someone. And hoping that women will no longer ignore the yearly breast checkups recommended especially after the age of 30.

My story begins in April last year when I started to feel a pain in my right breast. Initially, I thought it had to do with the time of the month, but it persisted. I was worried and I started to perform a self-exam. My first mistake: I never had this habit before. Somewhere in our minds, I think we all say “it won’t happen to me”. This is how I discovered a fairly large beast nodule in my right breast. I went straight to my doctor for a check up and an ultrasound.

Nothing went well the day I scheduled my ultrasound. Still, I arrived there relaxed, convinced I’ll receive a clear result. For a long time I wanted to study medicine, and most terms are pretty familiar. I knew what are the good signals I needed to see during the ultrasound.
I panicked when I first saw the lump, it didn’t look right at all. Irregular edges, it was already a decent size and with a doppler signal. The worst case scenario was already in my mind. The doctor tried to explain that the result is inconclusive without a specialist’s opinion. My mind was going crazy. A few days later I went to the National Institute of Oncology in Bucharest (IOB).

I discussed all aspects of the intervention with my doctor (I needed surgery to remove the lump for further tests), and I started to look for info about the hospital, but I never found answers to all my questions. In my next posts on this subject, I’ll write about my experience there and you can ask me any questions anytime.

The rest of the story: