The hospital stay was shorter than I thought it might be. Surgery went well and I feel pretty okay all things considered. Also, there was a bit of a miscommunication on our end with relatives. If you heard a rumor that I had lymph nodes removed, that is not true. For those of you keeping score at home, this is what I had done today:

1) Placement of a wire guide in my breast to help the surgeon in locate the tumor and surrounding margin of healthy tissue, all to be removed. (For those of you with more questions about margins, you will have to wait until the pathologist’s report.)

2) Sentinel node biopsy: Basically, they biopsied some of my lymph nodes, special ones called “sentinel nodes” to see if any cancer has spread to my lymph nodes. Prior to surgery, there was about a 10% probability of lymph node involvement. About 2% of the time, the surgeon is able to see that there is evidence of spread and if so, lymph nodes are removed at the same time as the lumpectomy. Dr. Beatty said that he did not see anything. So that lowers the chance of lymph node involvement to about 8%. The pathologist will be able to determine this and the pathology report will be available on Friday or Monday.

3) Lumpectomy: Dr. Beatty removed about a golf-ball sized piece of tissue. The majority of the tissue was healthy because he was trying to remove the tumor encased in a “margin” of healthy tissue. He tried to get margins of about 1.5 centimeters and he said that about 1/3 of the time, he is able to get at least a 1 cm margin, which is good. But there is some very experienced guessing that goes into the process with such a small tumor.

Everyone at Swedish was awesome, efficient and warm at the same time. My friend, George may be particularly happy to hear that my anesthesiologist had good bedside manner and even better, I did not have any nausea or other ill effects from the anesthetic.