I wanted to start off by finally posting a picture of my grandma...I had limited movement but I went through my parents' old photo albums and found this one of me and her:
Look at me all prim and proper!
I kind of remember when this picture was taken. My mom used to make me dress up for all the holidays and this was during Thanksgiving. Grandma had come from the old Greyhound bus and came up with my step-grandfather to visit... Many people don't really know this but my Grandma actually lived and settled in NYC for most of her later adult life right on Canal Street in Chinatown. I used to love visiting her and I think that was my first experience that made me love New York so much today. She would let me stay in her room and she always had old Asian perfumes that were in glass bottles with the little rubbery squeeze things for the spritzer. Every morning I would hear the the various sounds- people yelling, screaming, vendors getting ready for the day and garbage trucks....come dawn, the city just came alive...I remember thinking to myself someday at some point of my life I was going to live here. She also had an odd window in the hallway that just faced the other building and when you looked down it faced an alley...When I think of that scene in my head it reminds me of the set design for" West Side Story" and I just thought it was the coolest thing. It was a fun time in life. My Grandma used to take little bus trips all the time and she was pretty active in meeting friends in the city and playing Mah-jong. This was before all that shitty Cancer came and made everything into a big empty black hole of just memories...
I thought about her as I started fasting for my surgery and mentally preparing myself. I don't know how she got to the point where she just accepted this whole thing and just moved on with life and pushed through every tough moment. I'm still pretty pissed off and angry with everything in my life right now and I'm dealing with it the best way I know how, but I give my Grandma huge credit for having the strength and grace to go through all the shit I am going through now. She is one tough New Yorker broad!!! LOL. You have to also realize that when she had the cancer she was much older than I am now. She was already in her 60's and her body could withstand all the battle scars. Amazing. It blows my mind away actually.
I'd also like to randomly point out that my parents still have those chairs in the kitchen still, and actually not much has changed in the house at all. Also the table in the picture is now at my apt...:) Some things just can't be thrown away because they withstand all types of the tests of time. Everytime I eat at that table I think about all the good times I've had over the years with my family and also all the food we ate...! HAHAHA
The day before surgery I went and got a massage. It was a little awkward at first because the masseuse was a nice older Russian woman, and she told me to kind of tie up my hair with this weird headband thing. I just used my secret smart Asian saavy skillz and just velcro-ed it together and made a knot and turned it into a hair band instead so my hair was kind of half up. I told her I had a port and to kind of avoid the area and she didn't ask any questions about it.I had to lie face down at first so she kinda was moving my hair up some more but she moved it so much it basically was coming off at the back and obviously my secret was out....I told her it's my fake weave and she was like "oh it's ok, no problem" and proceeded to tell me I had a lot of tension on my shoulders...NO KIDDING RIGHT? "It's all this bullshit booby burden I'm carrying" I thought to myself and almost chuckled out loud...rather than make the whole experience weird I just kinda told her I had surgery the next day and that I had Cancer and that I needed something to relax besides drugs. She felt bad and by the end of the massage she told me she would pray for me which was nice. I hadn't had a massage in soo long it felt AMAZING. It made me feel like sweet strawberry jam afterwards HAHA!
Anyhow, I was not looking forward to the fact that I couldn't eat or drink after midnite...it was more so that I couldn't drink. UGH. I was getting over a bad cold and I am the type of person that goes out and buys the 24 packs of bottled water every week and I drink a ton of bottles a day along with my seltzers and iced teas so this was going to be annoying for me. My mom was also pressing for me to go to her house after surgery and I was not really looking forward to this. I told you all I like my distance and kind of like just being left alone so the thought of being at my house for a week with mommy daddy and my brother was giving me anxiety. I also like to be in control of what I do so mentally to be reverted back to being a teenager again was going to be challenging. I had a good night before the surgery...after the massage I met up with various friends- had a good lunch, went shopping on my own, then I had a fun dinner and I ate ice cream up until 11:30pm...I got home pretty late and I was dreading packing up a bag for both the hospital and then for my parents afterwards...I kind of just threw everything in the bags and didn't really think of any cute outfits- I mostly threw in loose fitting sweats and like 10,000 tank tops that would mold to my new non existent boob.
I had to be at the hospital an hour and a half before the surgery start time of 9:30am- which means I'm supposed to get my butt there around 8am for all the admission and prep crap. I had mentally prepared not to really sleep at all since I am already a certified insomniac so I only got like 2-3 hours of sleep. When I woke up not only was I running late, the weather was totally depressing me. It was rainy cold and wet outside! UGH. I took this as a bad sign and I was immediately in a bad mood. I threw on my sweats, my kicks, my glasses and my hair and in a few minutes my brother came to help me get my bags and my mom drove us over. I think got there a little after 8:30 am. I was on edge and afraid they were going to yell at me being late but thank GOD they didn't. The main campus building at Beth Israel always gives me random memories. I was born at this hospital so I found it ironic, but so was my brother. I remember leaving with my family the day we brought him home and my grandma had bought me a coloring book and crayon set from the gift shop to sort of soften the blow that there was this new YONG in the household. YEAH the crayons didn't cut it but I digress...
I had to check in at the front and it was such a pain in the ass system. They gave me a beeper but then immediately took me upstairs and I had to pass the beeper to either my mom or brother to go next but we couldn't go up together. The front desk person told me only one person can go at a time so I figured my mom would just come first.
When I got upstairs in the prep area they directed me to my little surgery bed. I threw my duffle bag on the chair and just sat there and took it all in. In a few hours I would be left boob-less. I didn't really know how I felt about it quite yet...I had said my goodbyes to it the night before but it's just a weird thing to part with. I never really LOVED my boobs so I don't have a physical attachment to it but it was more of an emotional attachment. This was something that has been my own for 32 years and now it's going to just be sliced and diced and tossed. It was bizarre to me....I tried to just not think about it too much. Plus I was tired and sleepy and THIRSTY as all hell from not being able to have any water so my attention span was low. The nurse came over and told me to strip everything and put the gown on...UGH. I always hate the impersonal ugly hospital gown. It's itchy, really long and super duper UGLY. If I am going through breast cancer, you can at least make it fucking FABULOUS and give me a hot pink one but whatever.
My mom comes up within a few minutes of me getting undressed. I thought about wearing my wig to the OR, but the nurse told me I had to take it off and gave me a bag to toss it in. If I hadn't told her she prob wouldn't even have know because if I had my real hair they would just make me tie it up anyways so I didn't see the difference but I didn't argue. They gave me one of those HIDEOUS shower cap things to wear and of course being the vain girl I am, I took a pic for all of you to enjoy:
I'm too sexy for my cap, too sexy it hurts!
I KNOW I look vastly different from when I'm all dolled up with makeup and looking all girly cute to looking like a pale, sick, withering gross Jen with glasses and baggy clothes LOL. I also haven't worn these glasses in months and since my whole glamorous sweat pant and t-shirt outfit had a pink and black theme, I did veer away from my usual purple ones and choose the black ones... I did think about this color scheme and decided to rock my intellectual glasses before going under. HAHAA...these are the things that go through my mind when I am about to have the most important surgery of my life- outfit and glasses...I have great priorities, I know. Ah well.
The nurse then asked me if I had other family members around and I told them my brother was still downstairs. ( My dad couldn't make it he had to work and would come visit me later that night) She was really sweet and nice and she told me they usually only let one member of the family stay but that she would let it be okay for my brother to come up right before I go in. My mom went to go get him so it was nice the both of them were there before I was going to be drugged I mean induced to sleep...:)
Time was now moving fast. I got all the anal nurses up in a tizzy because I was supposed to have all my piercings out and I did take them all off at home including my tummy piercing and all my earrings but I had one earring on my right side of my ear where the backing was locked and would NOT budge. Literally 5 nurses tried to get it off of me. I hardly think this little earring would give me an infection but they were hell bent on trying to get me to remove it. One nurse started gossiping to another like I was some Jezebel of the operating room.... hahahaha!!! It made me feel like I was having a child out of wedlock in the South and now I can no longer particiapte in my coming out ball. Oh why I DO DECLARE!
A few minutes later my awesome tumor surgeon- Dr. Houlihan came and she told me I was doing great and to not worry and that everything was going to turn out fine. I was so used to her being in dresses and makeup and jewelry that I almost didn't recognize her in scrubs. The nurses mentioned my earring to her as I rolled my eyes and my Dr. was like "oh, PLEASE let's not even worry about that, it's on the opposite side anyhow...I'll just put a piece of cotton behind it in case we have to tilt her head and it will be fine...I know you guys are just trying to be preventative, but who knows why we do HALF the things that are so called protocol, anyways?"....
DAMN I respected her even more after that and then all the nurses shut up their bitchings and whisperings and left me alone...LOL
An IV was then place on my right hand. UGH I hate hand IV's sooo much. They freak me out and it always HURTS like a BITCH. Never mind I have a fucking port so why don't you use it?!!! They told me it wasn't allowed or something. Then the short, unattractive anesthesiologist came over and did his song and dance...blah blah blah you might get sick after and have nausea and blah blah blah your throat might hurt from the tube we stick down your throat, etc. I kind of didn't like him. He seemed nervous, jittery and gave me weird vibes like he wasn't confident in his speech and actions- which is NOT a good vibe when you are about to go under the knife. I also thought to myself : IF I'm going to be brought to life after being drugged/poisoned/accidentally killed/etc. I'd take any of the Disney princes, a vampire OR werewolf or even the Snuggle Downey bear to wake me up with a magical glorious kiss- but HELL NO, not HIM, so I droned him out for most of his lecture. Sooner or later like an annoying gnat, he buzzed off. BUH-BYE.
Oh yes Prince Eric please take me away to your castle!
Also, I didn't get sick when I had my port placed back in November so I didn't think much about the anesthesia at all. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't going to feel or see any of this crap but BOY was I wrong, but more on this later.
I don't think I have QUITE enough saline in my body! UGH
At this point my mom was on my left side sitting in the chair and she began to cry all of a sudden. SHIT. I felt so bad and I couldn't tell if it was tears of pain for me or tears of joy that surgery was helping me get one step closer. During this whole Cancer thing I have never seen her cry. I mean I know I don't live at home anymore and I don't see her daily so maybe she does at home, but I knew all of it obviously upset her and she likes to express it by being overbearing and overprotective which drives me CRAZY, but she has never cried about it to me in person. I didn't even know what to do. Dr Houlihan immediately went over to her and consoled her and told her not to worry and that she was in good hands and that all would be well. :)
My brother Darren was like :
"Come on Mom, don't cry, Jen is the one going through this and even SHE isn't even crying" so that made me feel like an even tougher bitch inside and that I was going to get through this goddamned surgery and get through to the next step. My mom nodded and patted me, and pulled herself together and gave me a half smile.
Don't Cry for Me. Argentina! :(
Dr. Houlihan then marked me with a sanitized marker and initialize where she would operate. Then a few minutes later Dr. Lee came over to do the same very briefly. Unlike Dr. Houlihan, he is not as touchy feely, talkative or emotional. TYPICAL MAN! LOL...He barely said 4 words to me and kind of glanced at my brother and then patted me for like 3 seconds. One might think he was stand-offish and stuck up, but I really just think he's aloof and just not good with people skills. Some doctors are just like that- you have the super compassionate ones that act like they are your mother or you get the ones who know their shit and just keep to themselves. I have no problem with either....However, he looked like he was running late since he was dressed normally and not in any scrubs. I said my final goodbyes-for nows to my mom and Darren and adjusted myself on the bed....and enjoyed what little freedom I had left.
Then they started to sedate me and injected some meds into my IV....the last thing I remember is being pushed into the operating room....
To be continued.....Part II soon.
Thoughts in my head as I was being pushed into the operating room?
I can't wait to get a freaking unsweetened iced tea because I am fucking thirsty!
I'm a Fighter, Bitches! <3
Also, I know Grandma Yong was there rooting for me in spirit :)