Saturday, March 15, 2014

Update: That Other Shoe That Dropped

June 2013 brought me the "thud",  the "other shoe that dropped"......for those of you who have not seen my that July 21, 2013 post, it was all about the surgery I needed due to Tamoxifen side effects.
The short re-cap goes like this:
June 28, 2013, I had surgery to remove my left ovary and left fallopian tube (with the caveat that if anything biopsied during this surgery was cancerous, I would have a complete hysterectomy).  I woke up with the left ovary, left fallopian and the right fallopian tube gone. Thankfully I had managed to hold on to my right ovary and uterus because there was no cancer found in the biopsies that were done during the surgery.

Two weeks after the surgery, I had the typical surgical follow-up appointment and then six months later I had a regular gyn exam with all the usual tests. During this six-month appointment, I mentioned to my obgyn that I was having pain (which ranged from short and tolerable to sharp, shooting and repeating pain) on my right side in the ovary zone.
Now, as you can imagine, I keep notes - with dates, details, descriptions -  as I am now even more sensitive to whatever it is that I perceive as a change in my body....or something that just does not seem right. 
My obgyn heard all my concerns and notes and recommended a "date with the ultrasound wand".

On February 24, 2014, I went back to the hospital radiology department (a place I already felt I was too familiar with) for the internal vaginal ultrasound. So there I was, clothes on my top half, paper "blanket" on my bottom half and my fabulous patterned knee-socks as I lay there in a rather vulnerable position. I was nervous and switched between moments of concentrated quiet breathing to talking incessantly to the radiology tech. The tech was doing her job and I was watching her face like it was a poker tournament and she had a tell and a pile of poker chips.

In my head I started a silent chant...."save the right ovary, the only ovary, save the right ovary, the only ovary". Oh, and in case you were wondering, it is very difficult to relax and let someone insert that ultrasound wand and do their job. After it was over, the waiting game began - there is this part of you that wants to know the answer/result, but there is also that part that would rather not know the findings.

A couple of days later I learned that the right ovary had a cyst and that at this point it appeared to be a typical cyst that would resolve on its own. I was told to keep tracking any pain that I felt and that I'd need another date with the ultrasound wand in six months. Then my obgyn says that if the pain changes, continues or is not in line with "girl math" (aka  the halfway point of my period), I will need to have another ultrasound sooner than the six-month date.

I am sure that there are people out there that would have said "take it all" on the June 2013 surgery date and just be done with it, but I am not one of those people. I know there is a chance that I could end up having surgery again and having the right ovary removed, but it is just a guess...a chance...a possibility.

The one thing I am sure of - the one thing that has not let me down yet - is trusting in my body and doing what I believe is right for me.

If I had followed the typical course of treatment/ recommendations:
1.  I would have had chemotherapy after my breast cancer surgery (on the off chance that a 3mm spot in one of three lymph nodes biopsied had shot cancer cells out into my body somewhere) in conjunction with the radiation therapy that I did have.

2.  Instead of just having both fallopian tubes and my left ovary removed,  I would have had a complete hysterectomy. The complete hysterectomy, per the Drs, would lessen my chances of ovarian and uterine cancers and would allow me to take the post-menopausal breast cancer drug without having to have shots to put my body into menopause (because the pre-menopausal breast cancer drug - Tamoxifen- had too many side effects for my body which actually caused the need for the surgery to remove my left ovary and fallopian tubes in the first place --oh, and don't forget that I am unable to take hormone replacement therapy because I had estrogen receptor positive breast cancer)

I truly shudder to think where I could be and what condition I may be in,  if I had blindly taken the "typical routes" recommended to me.
I did my research and I trusted my body - I trusted how I felt and what I felt.
Because I made these choices, I still have a monthly period, I do not have a hormone replacement issues and most importantly, I still feel whole.

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