Friday, May 4, 2012

Checking In

Well, over the last three weeks a lot of fun stuff has happened and I intend to blog about it as soon as possible. But first, I want to give you all the full story about my last doctor appointment with Dr. R. The one I briefly wrote about here but was deliberately vague about because I was too confused and overwhelmed to really discuss it.

The gist of it is that Dr. R is recommending another surgery and a hysterectomy.

It took some time, talking to various friends and family, and then some follow up calls to Dr. R's office before I felt like I understood exactly what and why this was happening. The cyst is being referred to as a "peritoneal cyst" and they aren't particularly uncommon - especially in people who have had major abdominal surgery. Initially when Dr. R walked into my room he talked about waiting 6 weeks and re-evaluating at that time. But as we continued talking, and I continued asking questions, the conversation turned to treatment options. There are lots of options to consider:

  • Leaving the cyst inside me is risky because it could contain cancerous cells.
  • Three surgeries in a year is rough on my body.
  • Removing my uterus and ovary reduces the places cancer can hide and multiply.
  • Menopause at 32 is no picnic and has a myriad of negative side effects.
  • Removing my uterus and ovary doesn't guarantee the cancer won't come back in other places.
If you are me, hearing that list above, you might be thinking - there seem to be more "cons" than "pros" to doing another surgery. In fact, the more I thought about it, the less I understood why surgery was the better option. So, I called Dr. R's office and asked for clarification.

Basically, what I was told was this:

  1. It is very rare for 32 year olds to get ovarian cancer. (Average age is 63.)
  2. When someone as young as me does have ovarian cancer, it isn't the type I have.
  3. Because my cancer has already proved to be "abnormal", Dr. R wants to be more aggressive and give me a better "outcome". (Dr talk for "live longer".)
So, that is where we are at right now. Dr. R did seem open to a longer-term "wait and see" option - meaning that after this 6 week ultrasound would be another one in about 2 months, and then after that it would become part of my quarterly CT scan/blood test follow up appointments. As long as it doesn't grow, my blood tests don't change, and/or other cysts don't appear - we could keep monitoring it indefinitely. But it doesn't sound like that is his first choice.

But the wonderful thing about Dr. R is that he understands that he isn't the only one making decisions here. He very clearly said, "this is your choice". I appreciate that he realizes that I have to be part of this decision making process. And part of the way I will make that decision is probably going to be another second opinion. Its not that I don't trust Dr. R, but once again I feel the need to have more than one "expert opinion" before I can make the "final decision".

I feel very strongly about this.
This is my life we are talking about.
And my life is about more than just how many years I get to be here on Earth.

So, here I am asking for your SPECIFIC PRAYERS again.

1. Please pray that the cyst is gone - COMPLETELY GONE - when I go in for my next ultrasound in two weeks.
2. Please pray that my CA-125 levels are still low when I have my next blood draw in about a week.
3. Please pray that I will find another doctor that I feel I can trust to give me a second opinion - I'll be looking/calling for appointments this week so that they are ready when these test results come back in a couple weeks.
4. Please pray for discretion and wisdom in my decision making.

Thank you all so much - I know I am asking for a lot here, but nothing is too big for God right? I might as well aim high! :)

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