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Welcome to my CaringBridge site. It has been created to keep friends and family updated about what is going on with me throughout this crazy journey. (Click "read story" to get all the details.)
Be sure to read the latest in the journal (click "read journal" to see past entries), view the photo gallery (which I also update), and drop me a line in the guestbook.
As most know - in June of 2008 I had surgery to remove what was "most certainly NOT CANCER." I had had pain in my right side while training for a half -marathon, whenever I did crunches. What turned out to be a harmless little cyst on my right ovary gave me enough pain to warrant an ultrasound. Which then picked up a large mass on my LEFT ovary that I was completely unaware of. OMG!!! I was so scared that I couldn't even think straight.......However, when I went to Winnipeg to the Cancer Care Clinic -the oncologist said I was too young, had no family history of ovarian cancer, was healthy otherwise, and had normal cycles. It was VERY UNLIKELY that this was ovarian cancer.
Unfortunately, she was wrong.
It turned out that I had stage 1a ovarian cancer - endometroid adenocarcinoma - with 5% clear cell carcinoma. Unfortunately - the 5% clear cell made this a grade 3 cancer - aggressive. Otherwise - I would not have needed chemo. But because it was there - even though completely contained in the tumor (hadn't spread anywhere) I had to have chemo.
As scary as ovarian cancer is - I consider myself EXTREMELY lucky, very blessed to have found this disease as early as I did, by accident. Most women with ovarian cancer do not find it until stage 3c. At that advanced stage, cure is not easily found, if at all. I am lucky enough to have about a 90% cure rate. A great prognosis!!
However, the surgeon who did my original surgery did not take out anything but the tumor, one ovary, and one tube. She felt nothing further was necessary - as it was contained and tests were inconclusive as to what kind of ovarian cancer they were dealing with while I was in surgery. I had never felt safe enough without a hysterectomy. There was always something gnawing at me.....it just didn't feel right. I kept at my oncologist - asking repeatedly if I should consider a complete hysterectomy. She kept saying no. No, not necessary. Finally - I had an appointment with Dr. Krepart - the head gyne/onc. in Manitoba. He agreed that I should likely have a hysterectomy. He said he rarely sees stage 1 ovca recur....but when he does - it is clear cell that comes back. Taking out my other ovary/tube/uterus/omentum wouldn't guarantee it would never come back (elsewhere) but it would get rid of any chance of it being in the other ovary undetected. So he agreed to do it.
My second surgery was scheduled for November 10th. I was relieved to hear that in surgery everything had looked great - clean and healthy!! I had already gone through 2 chemo treatments. And four days after surgery - had my 3rd treatment.
Three weeks later, Dr. Krepart called me with the pathology report. I was all clear for ovca - no more clear cell was found - my other ovary, tube, and all washings were clean - no carcinoma found. HOWEVER. Completely unexpected to all of us........they did find uterine cancer!! "Regular, run-of-the-mill" (his words) uterine cancer. A grade one cancer he meant - which is not aggressive. Stage 2b. (Had spread to the cervix.) I am one of the lucky few who have TWO primary cancers. (!!!) What??!!! So after chemo is done in February......I wait a month (well, not sure exactly how long - likely between 4 and 6 weeks) and then will need radiation - to help improve my chances that uterine cancer doesn't return to the pelvic region. This will take place in Winnipeg - likely starting late in March. Five weeks, five days a week. Plus three days of internal radiation....OH MY GOODNESS.
But - as shocking and as hard as it was to hear that..(believe me it sent me into a tailspin) I still consider myself fortunate. I had no signs of uterine cancer (abnormal bleeding is the main sign.) If I hadn't found the ovarian cancer when I did.....and gone with my gut feeling that everything had to come out.......we may not have found the uterine cancer until it was much more advanced. (I likely had it awhile before developing ovarian cancer) I still have a good prognosis.......again - oncologist told me 90% So I am counting on that!!!! And trying to stay positive :) Lots of prayers and positive thoughts help a lot!
Update June 2010 - I have been in remission from ovarian cancer now for 16 months, and uterine for 12 months. So far, so good!!
Update October 2012 - I have now been in remission from both ovarian and uterine cancer for four years!!! (oncologist told me they count from time of diagnosis and not end of treatment) So far, so very good. I have my life back!