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I have a tendency to wear my mind on my sleeve I have a history of taking off my shirt

Updated: Aug 25, 2021

- Well not a history of taking off my shirt, but in one week that all changes.

In one weeks time I have my first appointment with Dr. Nicole Hodgson at the Juravinski Cancer Centre (scroll down if you're just compiling your own list for your surgeon)

A few things here. My mom liked the band Barenaked Ladies Her favorite song by them was Peterborough and the Kawarthas. For me when ever I hear One Week, or just think hey in a week I have to... I immediately think of the song "one Week".

Barenaked Ladies got me through the heartache of getting "dumped" by my "first love". I sat at my mama's kitchen table listening to the Barenaked Ladies, while all my friends were out camping with him, unaware until they got there that we were no longer a couple. BNL didn't remind me of him, they didn't remind me of anything, I was drinking Tetley tea and eating decadent chocolate chip cookies with mom in the kitchen. The year after I graduated from College my mom bought tickets to a Barenaked Ladies concert, one for me, one for my sister, one for my brother. We all lived in different towns and met in Toronto for the concert, the first and only concert the three of us have ever gone to together. For 25 years (literally twenty five years) Barenaked Ladies make me think of my sister and my ma', and I'm in tears just typing cause it makes me think of too much.

---- These pictures are both taken the same day just after Kent's surgery. Katrina took our family photo. It's one of my favorites

I've often used Barenaked Ladies music to think of nothing, to safely zone out singing "Chickity China the Chinese chicken, You have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin'..."

OK so anyway, my brain does not stop ticking. I wake up at 1am, tick tick, I wake up at 4am, tick, tick, I have a little rest, and wake up for the day at 5am tick tick.

So whilst my brain ticks away I researched and I've complied some questions to ask in "One Week" when I meet the number 2 surgeon in Hamilton.

What happens if my MRI shows cancer?

What can I do to prepare my body for surgery?

What is the pain management protocol?

How long will I be in the hospital?

What supplies are provided?

What else should I buy?

Am I a candidate for keeping my nipples? Are there any pro’s to this

What are my reconstruction options?

Can I go direct to implant?

Will I be able to feel hugs?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of immediate reconstruction vs waiting?

How will my chest look after mastectomy if I decide not to have immediate breast reconstruction, or for some reason can't?

What kind of implants can I choose between?

If I don’t go direct to implant can I try them on with a bra before the expanders start being filled?

Can I get Breast Lift at same time?

What can I expect immediately following surgery? Pain? Swelling? Bandages?

How long is surgery?

What hospital?

How long after until I can tattoo over my scars?

How long is recovery and what is the timetable to resume "normal" daily activities?

How long will I be in the hospital?

Can I see before/after pictures of those who had my same surgery? (what was the amount of time between the before and after, so I know how long it took to look like the "after" picture.)

Will any lymph nodes be removed from under my arm or is that just for those with cancer already?

What are possible complications? And how are they addressed?

How many of these surgeries have you done?

How long will it take for my scars to heal/fade? Is there anything you recommend to help get rid of scaring?

Will I have drains? If so, how many are possible?

What procedures you think my body would be best suited for (after consultation and MRI)

Do you have an oncologist you work closely with?

Will there be a second surgeon assisting? Who

Do you do it all or a plastic surgeon too?

If there is a plastic surgeon does it have to be a specific one?

Who is the plastic surgeon? If it is someone that I have heard negative reviews about, then what are my options?

How much help will I need when I get home?

Are there medications I should take pre-surgery?

What type of anesthesia will be used?

How long till I can shower?

When can I drive?

How long should I take off of work?

When will the first follow up apt be?

Can we test my daughter and son now instead of waiting?

If not, why not?

Is a hysterectomy also something you recommend? many women on my PALB2 facebook group have been recommended to do that as well?

Are you still reading?

If not why are you seeing this line?

Incase You are wondering... Barenaked Ladies certainly are not clearing my thoughts these days.

Also fun fact. I have this PALB2 gene mutation, If my husband also had this mutation and our kid was unlucky enough to get it from both sides then they could get Fanconi anemia, if you don't know what that is (neither did I) Fanconi anemia is a rare but serious blood disorder that prevents your bone marrow from making enough new blood cells for your body to work normally. It can also cause your bone marrow, the sponge-like tissue inside your bones, to make abnormal blood cells. The life span of those with Fanconi anemia is 20-30 years.


Footnote - Dr. Nicole Hodgson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at McMaster University and is a surgical oncologist at the Juravinski Cancer Centre at Hamilton Health Sciences. She obtained her medical degree at the University of Ottawa and completed a Masters of Science Degree in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Western Ontario, as well as completed a surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Miami.

Dr. Hodgson’s clinical interests are in breast cancer and melanoma. Her research focuses on surgical oncology clinical studies, epidemiology and surgeon-directed quality initiatives and education.

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