Relief. That is literally all I can feel right now.
To back up, I met with my first surgeon on Wednesday so that she could clear me for work. During that appointment she asked about my 2nd opinion and plans for treatment. When I told her that Dr. R had given me some hope and promised to "be conservative" about the issue of a hysterectomy, she said "there is no being conservative - he will take it out". She didn't say it meanly, just matter of fact. As if there was no other option - which has been her stance all along.
Needless to say, I left that appointmnet feeling very discouraged.
Many prayers and deep breaths have been taken for the past two days. But I still went into this appointment completely unsure of what to expect. It was almost an hour of waiting, which was excructiating.
But as soon as Dr. R walked back into the room, I felt reassured. He pulled up his stool close to my chair and reached out to hold my hand. He looked me in the eyes and spoke quietly and calmly. My mom was on the phone and he tried to make sure she could hear all he was saying.
The cancer is currently labeled Stage 1 Ovarian caner.
He said he could not make me any promises, but said, "you may be one of the lucky ones". There will still be a second surgery, so that more difinitive staging can be done. But he was sounding more hopeful that a hysterectomy will not be neccesary. He didn't even want to discuss chemo, because I may not even need it.
We did talk briefly about fertility options, but before I explain what he said, I want to share my decision about it.
- If there will not be any chance that I can get pregnant - aka hysterectomy - then I do not want my eggs harvested. I have worked in foster care and adoption for many years now. I have no doubts about being able to love a child who is not biologically related to me. I always expected to adopt at some point. I am not attached to the idea of a biological child. I will have to grieve not being able to experience pregnancy, but not being a parent.
- If I may be able to experience pregnancy, but there is a chance my eggs may not survive chemotherapy - then I will further investigate having them harvested. But I didn't want to go down that road until we know whether I will have the option to use them myself.
I am at peace with this decision. I have always wanted to be a mother - but that is not the issue I need to face right now. There are many ways of being a mother. The doctor will decide if I ever get to be pregnant. While it will be sad if that option is difinitively taken away now, it was never guaranteed to me anyways. Whether or not I ever to get to be pregnant was and will always be in God's hands - hysterectomy or not.
But I do have every confidence that Dr. R will make that choice wisely based on what he can actually see - not just what the other doctors assumed. I have every hope that I will come out of my next surgery with that option. And I have faith that God is in control either way.
Dr. R said that if, during the staging surgery, cancer is found on my ovary they would not be able to harvest any eggs from it. But he also said that he didn't even want me to think about that, because "if there is no cancer, then you'll get to use them yourself". (Said very positively!) So, thankfully my decision and reality are right on target. Praise God!
All in all, this appointment was very positive and I have a lot of hope and peace about what is to come.
So, here is where we stand now:
1. Staging surgery is scheduled for December 29th - I'll be called with the exact time the day before.
2. *IF* I have to have chemo, it will not start for 4-6 weeks afterwards (mid Feb).
3. In the next few weeks I get to have every kind of test and scan in the book - EKG, blood work, another CAT, and get medically cleared for surgery.
4. I still get to go back to work on Monday! (Half days at first)
I can not tell you all how much I appreciate and believe your prayers have helped me. I know that not everyone in my position has the kind of support that I have gotten over the last three weeks - I don't take a single email, text, Facebook message, meal or visit for granted. I ask you all to keep praying and I will keep updating to give you specific requests as this process goes along.
Specific Prayer Request for 12/2/11:
1. Thanks and Praise to God for a positive doctor appointment and reassuring news! For today, that is all I want to focus on!