I’m 57 - the same age as mom was when she was diagnosed with brain cancer. I couldn’t help but want to get past this age safely to 58... but occasionally had this nagging feeling.
After a many suggestions, requests and coaching from family and friends I decided to start a journal of my cancer journey through CaringBridge. It will include regular and possibly daily activities - all in an effort to share my experiences to hopefully help others that may be at the beginning of a journey. I won’t be hurt or offended if you don’t read this on a regular basis. If I am able to instill positivity and /or hopefulness for just one person, it is worth it! Plus as I struggle with forgetfulness, this might be a good resource for me too!
It started in early April. I thought I was having a menstrural period, which, if you really know me isn’t likely. I am post menopausal by about 12 years. I called my OB-GYN to let her know and see if I should come in right away. I scheduled my appointment for the following week. Things didn’t go that great during the exam - a bit of a challenge to do a biopsy (if you want to know the details, reach out to me directly.) Dr. Anne recommended an ultrasound which showed a mass in the lining of my uterus. Next step, Hysteroscopy and D&C. That was a Tuesday in late April - the 24th I think.
Several days later, May 3rd around 2:00 pm, I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize, but I still answered. It was Dr. Anne. She asked if I wanted to set up a time to talk? I responded that clearly she was calling with not good news, so I wanted to get it right then and there. What we didn’t expect or suspect was the polup removedfrom my uterus was cancerous. In fact they identified it as Serous Carcinoma of the Endometrium - not good stuff. She said because of the aggressive nature of this type of cell, I needed to have a hysterectomy soon. She recommended Dr. Annie as my Oncologist and wanted to get my okay so she could get things moving. By this point in the conversation, things got a little fuzzy. My brain was swimming. I thought for sure it would be a benign polup.
I got off that call, called my boss and briefly to share the news and tell her I needed to go home to share the news with Rich. So what do I do? I was’t prepared for this conversation with Rich. You see, I don’t jump to any conclusions. I can’t afford to add any more into my brain to process. I have learned that I need to get the facts, then deal. So, I drove to Champlin and stopped at the Goodwill store and shopped. I tried on tops, pants and skirts. I found a new skirt and a few new tops for work, all for a bargain price of $24. It helped! Then I stopped a the liquor store and bot a box of wine and a couple scratch offs. (Of course I can win the cancer lottery, but not an actual lottery game...LOL). Then I went home.
Rich thought it was strange that I was home early. I used some excuse I can’t remember now. Small talk. I really wanted to make a joke of it, since a Rich is such a jokester, but thought better of it. So I told him, Dr Anne called with the results. Rich - Yeah? Me - I have cancer. He gave me this look where I think he was hoping, expecting a “ba da bum” to follow. Nope. I explained what I knew. He then asked if we wanted to go for wine. I promptly replied yes.
Next steps - got a call the next day to schedule an appointment with Dr. Annie, my new Oncologist. That appointment was set. By Wednesday of the next week, her nurse called to schedule surgery. May 17th was the big day.
The appointment with Dr. Annie was great. She drew pictures and shared in layman’s terms to Rich and me what we could expect for surgery. Besides removing my uterus, tubes ovaries and cervix, she would also remove several lymph nodes and something called the Omentum which is a layer of fat (as I understand it) that really would serve no purpose any longer. And sorry ladies, it’s not the tummy fat...wishful thinking! All would be tested including my uterus and also a salt water wash to determine what stage cancer I was at.