The very first step in this surgery is thy lymph node dissection. Dr. Elboim injects a blue dye into the tumor area. This dye, along with the radioactive solution injected while I was in nuclear medicine, is used by the surgeon to track which lymph nodes are most closely related to my tumors. It is not the nearness that is important, as the surgeon never knows which lymph nodes are those associated to a specific duct, and hence the tumor. So by tracking these two agents, the surgeon knows which lymph nodes to remove for testing. Usually 2-3 lymph nodes are then removed (Level I). These are then immediately sent to the lab for preliminary testing, which takes about 30 minutes. In my case, thankfully there was no cancer in these lymph nodes so there was no need to remove any more nodes, as it is assumed other lymph nodes will also not contain cancer. A member of the surgical team came out to the waiting room during my surgery, just before noon, to inform Mark of this wonderful news. Not only is it wonderful news to know the cancer appears to be contained in the breast, but also because of the discomfort and lymphedema issues associated with removal of Level II lymph nodes. The lymph node tissue will be examined further and we will get those final results at my post-op appointment on Wednesday. Until that time, this is great, GREAT news.
Debbie... aka the cancer warrior ... AND SURVIVOR!!!
Sonoma Relay for Life Team (8/6/11) ~ Debbie's Blasting Crew.