Wow, what an adventure going to Huntsman! By the way, I think my favorite nurse may read my blog. Hi Vicki! When I stopped by Huntsman she seemed to know I had been having a tough-er time this weekend, I couldn’t figure out why she might know until I thought about it later… My surgeons and crew have my blog address, they refer people to it on occasion that want to know about the reconstruction I had (even though I had complications, gaaahhh, still happy I had reconstruction).
So I want to note that Operation Mandi’s Birthday Wish was inspired by Dov Siporin (big love Dov), I am not nearly into hijinks so much, but he visits patients and is fairly well known in the cancer community here in Utah for his humor and good spirit. You can read about him here and he has a YouTube channel here. Ms. Tofurkey in the news piece is non-other than the famous Michelle who contacted me shortly after I was diagnosed and was my pen pal, she helped me through the toughest parts of my journey. She runs an organization called Heal Courageously, you can read about her here.
We started upstairs in the surgical wing and dropped off blankets for the patients. I didn’t want to disturb anyone (my aunt had carolers, but my singing would NOT create be conducive to a healing environment). We then stopped by and visited the families waiting for loved ones in surgery (there were quite a few). The staff sent out one of the family members of a patient that was waiting in the surgery prep area (I have many many photos of us getting giddy and goofy with me in gowns waiting for me to actually go into surgery, so hopefully we helped them pass the time). We were able to send her back with a blanket, fuzzy socks, games and all sorts of other goodies.
One of the family members waiting for a patient asked me a bit shocked if it was o.k. to ask how old I was (I forget I am still a wee bit on the younger side for having been a breast cancer patient). I told her proudly that I was 33 as of today (birthdays bring new meaning, even if mine is tied emotionally to this whole cancer thing). My mom would typically explain my story, I was more focused on giving out lotion, blankets and chapstick instead of explaining why.
The staff was pretty excited about the big candy basket! Most of the clinic waiting rooms were fairly empty, but we found a few people along the way to shower with goodies. We then headed to the infusion room which WOW, the new infusion room at the Huntsman is huge. Before the main room had maybe 12 chairs and we all kind of sat and stared at each other, the new one has more private sections (I liked yapping at people to pass the time, so I am not sure if I would have liked the privacy more). We were a little overwhelming as a group, so my friend Nita recommended we split up and spread out. I met some really sweet people.
We visited patients and gave out most of the rest of the blankets and goodies there. We visited the radiation waiting room and one gentleman pretended to be sleeping (totally what I would do if I saw a bunch of rambunctious people with baskets and goodies). We left a few leftover items that we left with receptionists to hand out.
I want to send a HUGE thank you to the many people that sent money, love, good wishes and enjoyed the randomness of this last minute project. I was touched by how many people participated.
Honestly, after I visited the Huntsman my anxiety was gone. We turned my frown upside down (and did the same for hopefully quite a few patients that day)..