Cancer log 120: Okay,…

Cancer log 120: Okay, so to report back on the Valium, I'll say that I didn't particularly feel any effect -- I just felt like my normal cheerful, chatty self. But on the other hand, for at least 48 hours *before* taking the Valium, I would not have described myself as either cheerful or chatty, because I was stressing out about the procedure; I was very quiet and somewhat cranky. So I guess it worked.

Don't really see any point in taking Valium regularly, which is just as well, since I gather that's quite bad for you. But if you're about to do something particularly anxiety-provoking (painful medical procedures, dentistry, flying, perhaps, etc.), I think taking one small pill half an hour in advance seems like a reasonable idea. Consult your doctor.

As for the procedure itself, I have various thoughts:

- the areola part is sort of not a big deal -- the tiny needles go in around the edge of the areola, and I don't think they feel any worse there than they would elsewhere (I say this as someone who had various lidocaine needles poked into other portions of my breast earlier this year). If you have super-sensitive areola, maybe you'd notice it more.

- the needles felt like bee stings. There were four of them -- the first just like a bee sting. The lidocaine only helps with the initial skin penetration; as the needle goes in deeper, you can definitely feel the sting. The second was like a slightly slower, more intense bee sting. By the third, I was scrunching up my face and holding onto the nurse's hand pretty hard. (I love that they do that, btw; so helpful. Thanks, nurses!) And the fourth was notably more painful; I may have made some tiny pathetic noises and broken her hand.

- Okay, I didn't really break her hand, but it was not fun. I don't know why they get worse as they go. But that said, the pain itself is really not that bad; the worst part is probably making yourself hold still while they work, and thankfully, they work *very* fast. I haven't been through natural childbirth, but the people who say this compares to childbirth are, I suspect, greatly exaggerating, even given that different people have different reactions to pain.

- I asked about adding lidocaine to the needle, out of curiosity, and they said they don't do it because a) it constricts the vessels a bit (which the study I looked at said *didn't* happen, so that belief may be a bit outdated, but regardless, b) by the time the lidocaine took effect, the pain from the dye would have dissipated anyway, so there's really no point. And that part, I have to agree with -- they were very fast with the four needles, about 3-5 minutes total, and then there was a bit of burning afterwards, but that reduced very quickly with the application of a hot compress, and was gone within another 3-5 minutes. At which point, it wasn't even tender.

One procedure down -- tomorrow, surgery. I'm not allowed to eat in the morning, so I'm planning to have an excessive amount of curry tonight. And ice cream.

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