Saturday, June 20, 2009

Act Two in the continuing saga of what afflicts Carol

An update:

Before the end of May, I finished up my college English class and wrote a twenty page essay. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my essay was on the liberal slant in the media. I knew my professor would be ticked—as all professors and educators with the liberal mind set would be. But he begrudgingly gave me an A for the paper and an A in the class. So I figured that was five months well spent.

Also I mentioned before about my womanly disorder and the terrible loss of blood. I had bled out about one half of my body’s blood supply. Since the human body holds approximately six quarts or 5.6 liters of blood, that was astonishing to me.

It must have been astonishing to the doctor, because that's when my doctor insisted on the blood transfusion. I was worried over possible side effects. There’s always the worry when receiving someone else’s blood that I would develop a love of the NY Yankees and want to live in the Bronx or maybe have a crushing desire for gumbo and jambalaya and sing jazz. But the only thing that happened by the end of the evening was a feeling of giddy euphoria. Tim thought I acted like I was drunk. I was wondering, can alcoholics give blood???

Anyway, that took several more hours for me to receive two units, that’s 2 x 0.951019388 U.S. Pints or 2 cups. Not a lot of replacement blood when you consider I’d lost nearly 2 quarts. So over the next few days of feeling of as though I was a flat tire running on the jagged shoulder of the freeway for endless miles, I was fatigued, hapless and generally feeling blah. I missed a lot of work and church and life.

After the transfusion as I mentioned, I saw a GYN doctor who did a biopsy and went to a lab for an ultrasound. The results of these tests took the better part of two weeks. You really start to appreciate the value of time while waiting for results from a lab. Then Tim and I learned I had Complex Endometrial Hyperplasia with Atypia, fibroids and a cyst on one of my ovaries. English translation: an imbalance of hormones, precancerous cellular condition, high risk for cancer, thickened endometrium, heavy and continual bleeding and just a pain in the…neck!

My Gynecologist suggested total and complete clean out, so did my regular doctor. So we scheduled a visit to a genealogical oncology surgeon, someone who specializes in woman’s cancer issues. We saw him Friday, June 19th. I have to tell you, I had pretty much made up my mind to have the complete deal—the total clearing out of all essential woman parts so that further possible problems might be avoided. Who wants to be a seventy year old woman with ovarian cancer? Not me. But what the surgeon told us was bewildering and unexpected. Of course he added that a woman of “my size” would not fare well during a full-blown surgery. I wanted to scream and shout, “Hey, I’ve lost 104 pounds, doesn’t that count for anything?” I guess not. He warned against wound infections, the slow painful healing process, pneumonia, complications and other delightful things a person facing surgery wants to hear. He wondered why I hadn’t had a bi-pass surgery instead of fighting through weight loss on my own. I guess I must have had a look of incredulity on my face because he told me the statistics of people losing weight on their own then regaining it were high, perhaps 50 to 60 percent if not higher. (He’s obviously not seen my before and after pictures.)

He suggested a D&C (no not the Doctrine and Covenants) for additional biopsy results then three months of hormone replacement therapy, that is if the presence of cancer wasn't detected then at the end of the three months, more biopsies. This pattern would be repeated the rest of my life. With that option, there would still be bleeding and no telling how strong. Pleasant, right?

At the end of the discussion, I was stressed to the max, confused as heck and feeling like I could easily kill someone and probably get off because of PMS. He gave me the weekend to think it through.

Below is an ultrasound picture of Endrometrial hyperplasia with atypia
The arrows show the polyps or fibroids that are growing inside the uterus. Cause: Imbalance of hormones, too much estrogen and swelling of uterus which causes excess bleeding.

Now I know millions of women have faced similar situations and some have procrastinated their decisions for treatment with disastrous results. Nobody wants to face the decision of this magnitude. Life should be simple so you slip gracefully and quietly into those happy fulfilling and problem free golden years. Nuts to that! Seems I’m being shoved into those not-so-golden years kicking and screaming and holding on for dear life.

Today I’m researching my condition on the internet, doing an awful lot of thinking, some praying and having serious doubts. Can you say “second opinion”? All the ladies that I’m acquainted with who’ve lived through this suggest that surgery is the option that worked best for them. My surgeon suggests I won’t do well during or after surgery. Where does that leave me? I’ll tell you where. A place of confusion and frustration.

How will this end? Tune in next week for the continuing saga of “Will Carol Have the Hysterectomy or Will She Opt for the D and C With Hormone Replacement Therapy for the Rest of Her Life and Wait for Cancer to Kick In a Year or So?”


Debbie said...

Wow! I appreciate your honesty & for letting us know all that has happened - I had no idea the surgeon would NOT recommend getting everything removed...lots to think about, huh?! Keep us posted! You're in my thoughts & prayers, as always! love, Debbie Freitas

Sharon said...

Holy Crap!!! You better take care of yourself. We will all pray for you.

Trina said...

I'll keep you in my prayers this week. Remember He has your back and is with you.

Anonymous said...

How terrible! We know all too well being completely and totally helpless and frustrated with medical problems. Good luck with whatever you decide.