In December of 2007 I found out I had Breast Cancer. One month later I was in the hospital waiting area getting ready for my operation. The waiting area was void of movement or sound it seemed. Only the occasional whisper was heard. It was very early in the morning and I was wearing the very "telling" robe and slipper socks. Wearing that meant you were sick...very sick and it also meant that soon it would be your turn to go into the operating room.
There in the waiting room you also knew that the people who didn't wear the robe would be left behind to worry. My Husband would soon join that group. My attention went instantly to a dollhouse that was on display. It was beautiful donation from a family that appreciated the good work being done at the hospital. It was a welcomed sight for me, I love miniatures. I had an I.V. in my arm as I went into yet another waiting room. My husband and I chose to sit near the corner and we held hands and prayed. I don't remember being scared. I just wanted it over with. I wanted the Cancer out of me and thrown away. I didn't know if I would need chemo or how far the cancer had gone. I felt good that something was going to be done to get rid of it.
The nurse called my name. She smiled and commented on my hair clip. I had to take it off.
My Husband instinctively walked with me and I know if they had let him he would have held my hand all through the whole operation.
"OK you'll have to say goodbye here." she smiled some more.
My husband gave me a big hug and kiss and one more hug for good measure.
He said " I love you, God bless you" ( something we always say when we say good bye).
As I let go of his hand I realized that the next time I saw him I would be changed forever. I looked back one more time and waved. If it weren't for the robe and goofy socks that scene could have taken place at an airport terminal. As I walked without my Hubby I thought...Funny, I thought I would be wheeled in to the operating room, but no I walked in. The doors opened and a flash of white surrounded me. The entire room was crystal clean with a crisp whiteness that I had never seen before. It was freezing there and I wasn't sure if it was the cold or the fact that I was getting nervous that made me shiver. My doctor turned to me and said
"Well, Joanne we are finally here." she wore her pristine white surgical mask but her eyes smiled at me and I smiled back. They lead me to the table where they covered me in a thin bubbly plastic inflatable blanket. The air that flowed through it felt warm and comforting. I looked around and realized I was surrounded by women. There was not one man in the room.
They knew how I felt. They had to.
"Some must have kids at home." I thought. "They know how much I love my family and how much being a Mom means to me...they know because I am surrounded by Mothers, Daughters, Sisters and even maybe a Grandmother." I sighed. They knew and I felt safe.
The anesthesiologist asked " Have you ever been on a cruise?" Odd question that made me giggle nervously as I said no. The doctor, remembering my love of Disney said " I think she'd prefer a Disney cruise." I smiled at her.
The anesthesiologist then said "Well, just think sweet thoughts because I'm going to send you on that cruise" She placed the mask over my face and the last thing I remember were the faces of the women that would save my life.