Rachel Mitchell's Journal
Written May 17, 2012 12:40am
So I have been putting this off for long enough and I know a few people who are starting to wonder whats going on...so here it goes.
I was two weeks out from my final reconstruction surgery when I found out I am pregnant. Yes, yes, again. It was very surprising and a pretty hard blow to what I was hoping for this year. I was so ready to put all of this behind me and move on as normally as possible. I was to have my reconstruction and after recovering from that have a hysterectomy and also thee oophorectomy which is thee ovary removal. At first I was extremely upset that thee plans had to be pushed back, and that I had to be pregnant through thee horrible desert summer! But now I am so glad and thankful for this pregnancy cause its given me time to really think and research everything that was going to happen. The worst part is having the expander's in my chest still, as they are extremely uncomfortable and often even painful. Sleeping is horrible and it's hard to do certain things and move certain ways cause they are so hard and tight on my body. Otherwise this has been my easiest pregnancy by a long shot, and we also found out it is a BOY! So Ezra will have a brother finally :) The kids are all sooo excited about a new baby and Amelia has dubbed him "Baby Feather" which we all refer to him as.
On to the serious things. I have an ultrasound every month, more to watch my ovaries then baby Feather. My Oncologist is very worried about ovarian cancer developing during pregnancy cause of the estrogen surge. I am half way through thee pregnancy now and due Oct 8the. The plans originally were to deliver Feather by c-section and do thee hysterectomy and oophorectomy at thee same time. After doing my own research and reading and praying a TON- we have decided against that. Not only do I not want to have a c-section, I also decided, against all of my Dr's recommendations, to keep my ovaries. I feel like my Dr's are looking at things in terms of eliminating risks of what they know most about, and thats obviously cancer! They are looking at me like a disease waiting to happen, rather then a life that has to be lived.
I have a 40% chance of getting ovarian cancer. In the general population of women, 14 out of 1,000 will develop ovarian cancer. In my situation It's 400 out of 1,000. Ovarian cancer is one of the leading killers of cancer cause there is no screen for it and most women find out they have it too late. Which is why it is commonly called "The silent killer"...comforting, right? However, the cons of getting my ovaries removed and being forced into surgery induced menopause is far worse to me. It would put me at risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, lung cancer, cognitive impairment, impaired sexual function, parkinsonism, osteopoerosis, psychiatric symptoms, and the worst in my mind is a shortened life in general. 1 in 24 women will die prematurely as a result of an oophorectomy. I cannot imagine having a newborn and having all the side effects physically, emotionally, and mentally that will come along with the surgery. I need to be the best mother and wife I can be, and for me that is taking the 40% chance and just keeping an eye on things and being aware of how I feel at all times. I have had such an emotional year and hate having to make either decision, cause they both suck in my opinion. I know if I do end up getting ovarian cancer its going to be awful having to go through treatment and everything and all my Dr's will shake their heads at me cause they "told me so"...but I don't want to be at risk of all those other things if I am in the 60% who WON'T get it. I just personally feel like menopause happens when women are at a time in their life when they need to slow down and they are usually ready for it! I still have children to raise, and a husband to help through the days! I just need everyone who remembers me in their thoughts to pray for me and my family. Whatever happens in my future I need to accept is Gods plan for me. I am scared for my family more than for myself. I am worried about my children and how my choices will effect them and their future. I have 20 more weeks to read and pray about this decision but as for now I am pretty secure in my choice. It's going to be a long summer til I get to meet my sweet son, and I am hoping for this pregnancy to continue to be uneventful and boring! Here's to hoping :)
Written Nov 1, 2011 1:44am
It's been three weeks since surgery. Man was this a lot tougher than I expected. I got my drains removed on Wednesday, finally! I was so happy to be rid of those things. The removal was a hundred time easier than the first time I had them. I am still very sore and it hurts to move my arms certain ways. I can lift Kara, but it does hurt and it's awkward to hold her cause of course she wants to snuggle up on my chest and I can't do that! I have appointments scheduled for the next six weeks. I go in once a week to get filled up a bit at a time. After my last fill in mid december I have to wait two months before getting the expanders swapped for implants. So as long as everything goes according to plan, I should be ready by Summer! Exciting! At my last Oncology appointment I was told that shortly after reconstruction completion I should be getting around to having my ovaries removed. Uuuuuggghhhh. I guess I better just suck it up and do it already, but geez. I just don't even want to think about how fun everything that comes along with THAT is going to be. Otherwise, we're getting excited about the holidays and I am really looking forward to be being able to bake this year! Baby Kara has cut three teeth in the last three weeks and has another coming through any day. She is crawling everywhere and trying to pull up on anything that will hold her fat little face. She is so sweet and adorable and loves being included when the kids play. We are so thankful this year for everything we have and everyone we know :) Love you all!
Written Oct 15, 2011 4:39pm
I am 4 days out from my surgery and am finally starting to feel a bit better.
The morning of surgery I got up at 5:30am, got my bag and kissed all the sleeping people in my house, than went out to the road to wait for my ride. My dear friend, who is also my pastors wife picked me up and took me to the hospital since Ryan was unable to get out of some work obligations. We got there around 6:00am and checked in, than went upstairs and they had me change into the awesome little surgical outfit consisting of a gown, some thigh high panty hose things and of course the super cute gray hospital socks. Than I was given a bed and the 50 questions, before getting the IV. I always dread the IV before surgery cause the needle is so huge, but this time they actually gave me a little shot of numbing agent, which was awesome since they ALWAYS have to poke me at least twice. I wish every other nurse had been nice enough to do that. It made the entire process so much better. I told them Vicodin made me sick so if there was anything other than that I would greatly prefer it. Dr. H came in to do the little drawing on my chest that Plastic Surgeons do and said we would begin shortly. I don't even remember being wheeled into the operating room, which is so weird since I remember it so clearly before my last surgery. The next thing I knew I was waking up in extreme pain, and I remember thinking maybe I wasn't supposed to be awake yet, and trying to fall back to sleep. But I did wake up and they gave me a little button to push which gave me pain medication. It was at least two hours before I felt any sense of pain relief. I had some weird effect from the anesthesia which made me extremely itchy, and since it hurt to move anything that just made it worse! I was extremely nauseous and when they wheeled me to my own room I really thought I was going to lose it. Once I got into a bed I tried hard to get more comfortable. I have great friends who stayed with me during my two days, which was so comforting even in my misery. I ended up getting sick several times and came down with an awful headache. I couldn't eat or drink anything without vomiting and even opening my eyes made the room spin. I laid there and was spoon fed ice until I would finally fall asleep. Finally one of the nurses said something about the pain meds I was on being an extremely powerful form of Vicodin. So that explains why I was so sick the entire time. She said that because I didn't put it down as an allergy they thought they could still give it to me safely. So lesson learned, from now it I am allergic to Vicodin. I was released on Wednesday and got home at around 5:30pm to a house full of excited babies and one happy husband. It's amazing how much those faces make me feel better. I slept pretty terribly the first night but was still so happy to be home it didn't matter. Until I tried to get out of bed, and couldn't. I ended up having to have a friend from church drive over and help me get up. The next night I slept sitting up :) We had helpers from church at our house from 7:00am until noon, than new helpers from noon to 5:00pm. The kids had a blast and will probably be disappointed when we don't have to have people over all the time anymore. I had made meals ahead of time so we didn't need to have those brought to us. Not that we don't LOVE the cooks from our church family! But it made me feel good to have things planned a little bit.
I took my first real bath this morning and it made me feel SO good! I kept saying how I was taken by surprise the amount of pain I was still in. Don't get me wrong, I knew it would hurt, I knew I would have the draining tubes, and be sore for weeks, but I felt like I couldn't even breath sometimes, than I took the surgical bra off to bathe and realized it was WAY to small. I had places on my back where I was bleeding from the bra being so tight. Thankfully I had the one from my last surgery which was larger and it has made a world of difference in the last few hours. I see Dr. H on Monday and while I am hoping to get the tubes out I don't really think it will happen since I am still emptying quite a lot of fluid, but I will hope and pray. My mother in law gets here tomorrow so everyone is excited for that. All I have to do now is go in and get slowly filled up until the Dr thinks I'm ready for the implant swap. It will take around 4 months and each time you do get pretty sore from the stretching, so I guess Kara will either be an early walker, or Amelia will get really strong from carrying her around :-D I don't have to see my oncologist until after my reconstruction is done but he did say that pretty shortly after it's complete he wants to get rid of my ovaries. Another journey, thank God they're coming one at a time.