radiologists have the most fun

April 28, 2007 § 10 Comments

The hardest part will be doing nothing for the next ten days.

We were home by 5p yesterday. I was in bed with a power book warming my belly. My very empty belly. I did not suffer from the usual post op nausea. In fact I was ravenous. Marty went out for some Vietnamese chicken soup. My soup is superior, but I was in no condition to wrestle with raw birds and skim scum from a pot. Recipe follows.

Registration was at 8a, but I arrived late, traffic was awful, and I was dragging my heels. I had my ipod loaded up with pre-op, intra-op and recovery music and meditations plus a precious thank-you note from Frannie for my surgeon. On an 8-1/2″ x 11sheet of paper she numbered three lines and wrote:

line 1) A thank-you card
line 2) Thank you for taking
line 3) Care of my mooo momo mommy (this was her idea of a joke)

I’m not sure why she numbered the lines or needed to call out that it was a thank-you card. Obviously she wasn’t taking any chances. Along the bottom of the page was a drawing of two happy girls holding hands.

MJH loved her card. Frannie made one for me as well.


8:40am and I was shuttled off to radiation where I waited my turn for an ultasound.

While the day would offer some laughs, this wasn’t one of them. Especially for the other patients waiting for their routine mammograms. I felt my entrance too dramatic for the circumstances. Complete with wheel chair and a wacky puffy O.R. shower cap over a bald head. To say nothing of the layers of hospital shmaatas which called-out illness as much as any IV. I was a nasty reminder of mammograms gone wrong. I avoided everyones gaze and they avoided mine. I tuned-in to my pre-op playlist and dozed off.

Eventually I was moved into an ultrasound room where I waited some more. This time for the assigned radiologist to arrive. It was worth the wait. Her charter was to implant 2 guide wires marking the top and bottom of my tumor. Using local anesthesia she would insert a needle which allowed her to thread wires through my breast. These wires would serve as cut lines for my surgeon. I watched all this on the screen. Blobby greys with an occassional white line passing through. Then more blobby vague greys. It looked like an ill-defined black and white landscape suggesting oceans, desserts and cloudy skies. I am amazed these blurry screens mean anything. To my untrained eye, I’d buy a feutus just as easily as a carcinoma.

The room was small enough for a tech and maybe a single radiologist but there were 5 of us. All women, all delightful, helpful to each other. One bossy type in the mix, and there would not have been enough air in the room.

Marked up, wired, and a bit goopy I looked down to see the only part of my body exposed. Somewhat sarcastic I said, “nice tit”.

The radiologist chimmed in “Do you want a picture? Do you have a camera? A camera phone? Lets’ take a picture”

A woman after my own heart.

The only time I saw any team members pull rank was at this impromptu photo shoot. “Oh that’s not good enough, get in tighter, need more light?” I was grateful someone was willing to figure out the camera function on my phone. In three years, I had not.

After a few tries, we had a winning shot complete with wires and a blue bee bee on my nipple.

Cancer shmancer, art makes me happy.


I was wheeled down to pre-op. Jared introduced himself as if we knew each other “we’ve been waiting for you”. I reviewed my ipod playlist with him. It was self-explanatory. I was listening to pre-op, I’d select intra-op as they wheeled me in. His only charge was to hit the “recovery” playlist when the time was right. This dovetailed nicely into his only other job which was to watch the anesthesiologist. I knew he could handle both.

Considering I had chemo-compromised veins my Anesthesiologist was a master at securing a swift IV line in. Saline, then sedation, then the stuff that gives you amnesia. It worked, I have no idea what followed. A couple hours later and it seemed I hadn’t moved. I was still in the pre-op area but for virtue of the time, it must have been the post-op area. My surgeon checked in with a warm smile and said I did quite well. Let’s be candid. I did nothing. I had to lay there unconcious. She needed to do a good job and apparently she did. On the other hand, I think someone dropped a 150lb anvil on my armpit.

My nurse introduced me to painkillers. Eventually I was wheeled into the recovery area.

Marty was waiting with a hug. He knew enough to avoid my left side. After a few moments of groggy babble, I walked 10 feet and was sent home where some glorious flowers greeted me.


Frannie was thrilled to see me, and I her. “Mama, I don’t want you to have breast cancer. I was really scared today”.

Everyone tells me this is really good, her ability to articulate her feelings. All I know is that the feeling is mutual.

Sumptuousness chicken soup for another day.

1 whole (3-4 pounds) chicken or one already cut up chicken.
3 stalks of celery with leaves halved
1 large onion whole
2 cloves garlic whole
1 1/4″ slice ginger root (optional)
fresh parsley
fresh dill
3-5 parsnips washed and sliced 1″ thick
5-6 carrots washed and sliced 1/2″ thick
1 medium sweet potato cubed
Salt and pepper to taste

Clean the chicken and discard giblets or any other presents you’ve been given in the cavity. Cut into pieces if it is whole; legs, thigh, wings breast etc.. Salt the entire chicken inside and out liberally with kosher or coarse salt. Let chicken stand for 35 minutes.

Wash salt from chicken and place in a medium to large stockpot. Cover chicken with water and let boil once.

Remove all the gunk that comes to the top as it boils.

Add celery, onion, ginger, dill and parsely. Boil one more time and reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer for 1-1/2 – 2 hours, occasionally skimming the foam from the top.

Remove the wilted greens; parsely, dill, celery and the onion and discard. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside for later.

To the pot/broth, add the carrots, parsnips and sweet potato. Let simmer 1 hour. Ad salt and pepper, need more flavor or more liquid, add some excellent vege or chicken boillon or organic chicken broth.

Bone the chicken and cut up as you like and return to the pot to heat with with veges. Serve. Yum.

Xoxo Momo


§ 10 Responses to radiologists have the most fun

  • Lynda Brown says:

    Hi Honey Yes, that amnesia stuff really works. Sounds like you had a great team of ladies working on you…and a good man too.

    You helped them do their job.wit.

    Loving you and glad you are awake, writing, sharing.


  • Kathy Dann says:

    I didn’t expect to hear from you so soon, but I’m so glad you took the time to write. Can’t wait to see you soon. Your strength, as usual, is so inspirational. Rest up!

  • Mark says:

    As always, just amazing. Story and soup, nothing stock about ’em.



  • Edie Read says:

    gifts for your blogees! you’re the best. I could really use a new chicken soup receipe. we wasp converts don’t come by chicken soup naturally.

    your surgery hales the beginning of the tail end of this ordeal. spring isn’t a bad metaphor…

    thanks for the receipe and HEALWELL. know you will.

  • Faye says:

    You have great inner strength – I never knew that about you. And Frannie will grow from your strength,wisdom and humor. How lucky she is to be so close to you.

  • Gail says:

    Wind-whipped over the web…



    all speeding to you at the speed of light……

  • Karen Waer says:

    Was traveling home from Florida. Called Kathy and one of the first things she said is “Marilyn’s OK and already wrote another blog entry.” You are amazing. I hope, you are seriously putting the blogs together and turning them into a book. I expect a signed edition. So happy (does that word do it justice?) that you are on the mend. Your daughter is delightful. I can’t wait to see you. Love, Karen

  • Ricki says:

    I’m so glad to hear that you are home. I’ll let you rest and then call. I hope you have an easy and swift recovery. I agree with Frannie. I don’t want you to have cancer anymore either.

  • Daniel John says:

    deeply moved by the shot of the nipple with blue bee bees
    it felt like somebody (not me) is saying, “Now you’re getting it.”
    too many parsnips in the soup, I think
    but then what do I know
    I’m from Saskatchewan
    where there are too many parsnips in everything
    and don’t get me started on turnips

  • Lori says:

    Tit for tat…loved your boobscape art shot. A picture does bring the cold sterile medical realities to a more visceral level for us readers, especially in respect to such a sensual part of the body. Visual poetry. Now they must have ultrasounded hundreds of thousands of breasts but I bet you were the first to seize the moment and transform it into blogart. That’s one of the things that makes you so special. Thanks for the update and bonus recipe– REAL chicken soup for the soul. Rest up, and best wishes for a speedy recovery from surgery and cancer beating in general.

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