That first Wednesday (October 7, 2010), the four of us (Mom, Dad, my sister & I) assembled at the hospital and got settled in for a long day. When Mom was called to go back, she was able to take one of us with her and she chose me. I was a bit surprised but was thrilled to get to hang out with her one on one for a bit before all of this started so back we went. There wasn't a whole lot of talking going on. There was changing, gathering her clothes, nurses taking vitals & giving Mom the run-down on what was going to be happening and waiting. Sitting by her bed, holding her hand, kissing her on the forehead when they came to get her and then finding my way back to my father & sister.
After they took her in, we began the process of waiting. It was only a couple of hours but it felt like forever. We checked out the gift shop, made a few phone calls, tried to chat with each other but for the most part we spent time in our own heads, trying not to worry.
When the doctor finally came out, she was still thinking everything looked pretty good. The tumor itself had started to deflate. She described it like a water balloon that had ended up with a little hole in it and had a slow leak. It had that wrinkled, slightly deflated look so she figured it either had just happened on its own or they might have nicked it getting in there. The doctor was very hopeful, though - they had taken a lot of fluid out from around the tumor and the initial pathology showed nothing in it. Unless the in-depth pathology found anything more, they would probably stage her as 1C and that was because the tumor had ruptured. She would have been 1A if it was intact.
For the longest time I was so angry about that first cut for that surgery. Why would you take a knife anywhere near that tumor, knowing you could rupture it if you can't see what you're doing and what that could possibly mean. I held onto the idea that if that little rupture hadn't happened, those cancer cells would have never escaped into Mom's system and she would have been stage 1A and she might still be with us. I did realize, though, after a LOT of talking to God, that it wasn't that surgeon's fault. It wasn't the knife's fault. It wasn't even cancer's fault. This was the road Mom was supposed to walk and it wasn't anyone or anything's fault. It just was.