Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm Not Dead Yet!

On Tuesday, July 8, the day after my TAH BSO surgery(Total Abdominal Hysterectomy Bilateral Salpingo-Oopherectomy), the doctor came in and told me "it was cancer."

It all started in Austin. I was presenting at a conference and the day before I was to come home was hit with horrible nausea and stomach pains. Okay, I was eating at every Mexican restaurant I could find, some were real hole-in-the-wall places, so I assumed I had food poisoning. When I flew home the next day still in so much pain, I landed and went straight to the ER. They thought it was my appendix, the CT scan showed a pelvic mass. WHAT?

The next month was a blur of doctor visits, referrals, blood tests and setting a date for surgery, June 7, 10AM. I had always gone for all my check ups. I had a pea size cyst on my ovary at last check up. So, probably just a cyst. Nothing to worry about. And I am not a worrier, so I believed I would have the hysterectomy, 6 weeks to recover work on my art and other projects and that would be it. But the doctor blew that image to smitherines with her "cancer" statement. Am I in shock? I don't know, I took it pretty well I think. She tells me lymph nodes and the omentum (what the heck is that and do I need it?) were removed. We will know more when the test results come back. So I wait a week.

July 15, I go to have the staples removed and get the results of the biopsies. I have been pretty calm all week. All my research indicates Ovarian cancer isn't usually discovered until the later stages. I hope I am in the 15% of those in the early stages and will have a good chance of survival. I can't believe I would survive my near drowning last summer to be hit with this now. I tell myself I've always been pretty lucky. The doctor tells me all lymph nodes were negative. All tissue tested--negative. By the time I had the surgery the tumor was the size of a cantaloupe and was attached to my bowel, rectum and uterus. It ruptured during the surgery which really grosses me out to think about all that gunk inside, but doctor assures me I was completely washed clean. I will have chemo. I will most likely lose my hair. Hair grows back, I don't care about my hair. I am excited that I won't have to shave my legs and will be getting a free Brazilian! How cool is that? I am thrilled it is stage I. I am very lucky.

The doctor is classifying the cancer as Stage 1 c. Which is really good because most Ovarian Cancer isn't diagnosed until stage III when the success rate isn't very good. They haven't determined the type of ovarian cancer and I am still waiting for the results of that, but hopefully the Stage I will remain the classification.

Here's a picture of my staples and then after they were removed two days ago and the steri-strips attached. I'm a little concerned about the weirdness of my belly button! Oh well! I know you can't tell because of the swelling of my stomach, but after four kids, I had NO stretch marks at all. I know I shouldn't be upset about the scar. But I am.

I have now been out of the hospital a week, and will start chemotherapy in the beginning of August. Very strange that I about drown last summer only to be hit with one of the deadliest cancers for women this summer, in an early stage that is still treatable. I must have a tremendous guardian angel looking out for me.

For now I am researching all I can, trying to find how to ease the side effects of the chemo, how to try and build up my body prior to the treatments, how to beat this thing and get back to my tennis, back to normal whatever that is.

My theme song for now is from Spamalot: "I am not dead yet, I can sing and I can dance, no need to call the doctor cuz I'm not yet dead!" I had it on my cell phone while in the hospital, drove the doctors and nurses crazy!

I will be off work for at least 8 weeks I will have plenty of time to start blogging again and getting back in touch with my blog friends who must have thought I had already jumped off the face of the earth! For now anyway, I am still hanging on and I'm not dead yet!


V-Grrrl said...

Oh B,

What a shock, what a surgery, what a diagnosis!

Yikes, what an incision!

And yet, good news under all the bad news...

I'm sorry you have to go through this and will join you (virtually) on the journey back to health.

Take care!

DebbieDoesLife said...

OMG! I am so thankful that you found it early. It was out Mexican food helping you out.

I think your scar is something to be proud of - you, Girl, are a survivor!

Please know that my thoughts and prayers are heading your way...

Peter said...

I admire your courage posting your abdominal after-surgery pictures.

You're a brave woman and I love the way you approach 'living'.

All the best,
Peter - Belgium

(I knew V-grrl/Veronica while she lived in Belgium. I read your comment over at her blog and found you.)

Tink said...

Oh no! I'm torn between feeling sad that this is happening to you and happy that you found it so early and the prognosis is good. Either way, it's not a fun thing to go through. My thoughts and prayers go with you. ((HUG))

susan said...

My mom got a scar like that from her emergency surgery in Feb...she laughs and calls it her rail road track.

I tend to think of it as a huge zipper that allowed the drs to zip and and save her (and now your) life.

I'll be keeping you in my thoughts.

Rachel said...

So glad you came through with peace on your agenda. And thanks for posting on my blog so I could find you. (((HUGS)))

Carol said...

Ovarian cancer has been a big part of my life, too. My moms, not mine... and she was diagnosed at stage IIIc, which is FAR beyond yours. (I have to decide now whether I should have mine removed proactively.) SO glad you found yours early!

I'll keep you in my thoughts, Las Vegas Girl!


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