Sunday, April 7, 2013
Update on my health issue
Below is an email I sent this morning to my friends, family and coworkers. I thought it was easier to just post this here too for my few friends I have out in the blog world.
Thank you for your kind emails. I haven't been very good about responding to anyone. I'm sorry. I'm sort of in a tizzy with everything happening so fast.
I'll post once I'm home on Wednesday or Thursday.
Thank you for your kind words and thoughts. I really appreciate it.
I've been debating on how much to tell everyone about what's going on with my health. I've decided to give you some details since I told a couple of you there was a chance of cancer. If you don't want to know any of this, you should stop reading now. :)
In January I started having some lower abdominal/pelvic pain. Mostly cramping with some stabbing pains. It went away after a week so I didn't think much about it.
About two weeks ago the pain started again, but this time it was worse, and it didn't go away. Every day the pain became a little more intense. In the last week and a half I've had a CT scan, an ultrasound, and a biopsy of my endometrium (lining of my uterus in case any guys are reading this). The biopsy was negative. However, there was a large mass growing in my uterus (they thought it was a fibroid, but not sure). They couldn't biopsy it because they didn't know where the cancer might be growing inside of it. They would have to remove the fibroid to biopsy it. My gynecologist discussed this with the gynecologic oncologist in Seattle and they thought it was best if I saw the oncologist to review my options (which turned out to be very limited).
After four hours of being poked and prodded Friday by the oncologist, she said she "thinks" what I have is a large, rapidly growing fibroid. Fibroids are usually not cancerous, but the ones that are cancerous are the rapidly growing ones. Since there's a possibility of cancer and since it's growing so fast (it actually increased in size since the Tuesday ultrasound), the gynecologic oncologist felt it was best if she does the surgery, a total abdominal hysterectomy.
The oncologist won't know if the fibroid is cancerous until she removes my uterus with the fibroid intact, and has it biopsied while she keeps "working on me". If it's cancer then my ovaries and lymph nodes will also be removed. She can't do the surgery laparscopically since the fibroid is so large, as she put it, the size of the head of a 32-week old fetus (or a very large grapefruit). She can't take the risk of the fibroid falling apart as she removes it because if it is cancerous the cancer cells would be released into my bloodstream and cause cancer to develop elsewhere. I thought that was interesting. I didn't even know that could happen.
Unfortunately, the abdominal incision will be vertical and about seven inches. She said she has to do the surgery this way since things are "abnormal" (I heard that word over and over). This is because of the size of the fibroid and how my uterus is pressing into my other organs and displacing them. She said it will be tricky to remove my enlarged uterus and not damage the surrounding organs. No worries on the incision because my bikini days are long gone, so this is the least of my problems.
My surgery is tomorrow, April 8, at 8:45am at the Seattle Virginia Mason Hospital. The surgery usually only takes an hour, but my oncologist said mine could take two to three hours since it's a bit more complicated than a normal hysterectomy. I'll be in the hospital for two or three days, then home for three to four weeks, depending on how the surgery goes (cancer versus no cancer).
I'm sure I don't have cancer. I don't feel like I do. :) Even if on the very remote chance it is cancer, it would be treatable so I'm not worried. Just another chapter of my already crazy life.
If anyone asks about me, feel free to share any of this information. As you all know, my life is an open book.
I'll update you once I'm home from the hospital. Take care, and I'll see all of you in a few weeks.