I’m going to have surgery. Dec 10th to be exact. Going to have a full hysterectomy. Originally the discussion was about just doing an ovary removal, the surgeon has encouraged the full hysterectomy and after some review, consideration, general prayer, and practical intuition I was led to the general opinion that this is for the best.
There are several reasons.
First, after several years of avoiding/opting out of the genetic testing for cancer, I went ahead and pursued it, only to find I am in the 1%. Yes, you heard me right. I won the proverbial lottery sports fans. It was wildly believed years ago that cancer was a genetic disease, however it has recently been widely confirmed that it is generally a metabolic disease – meaning not so much genes as lifestyle controlling whether or not you get cancer.
The particular gene which I am in this rare minority of cancer sufferers to have, is also one of the more rare genetic mutations. Its one that causes a 14% increased risk of Ovarian Cancer (as well as 5% increased risk of breast cancer – but I am still of a quite consistently content mind that my particular cancer was caused from too many poor lifestyle choices catching up with me)
This is one of the reasons for the surgery. About the worst possible comically morbidly sad thing would be for me to be completely successful at eliminating all of the breast cancer in my body, only to have my body spontaneously develop ovarian cancer. No Ovaries, no ovarian cancer.
My particular breast cancer is triple positive. This means it has a plethora of food sources in my body, and the most prevalent and common is hormones, which I’m really not able to control. My body has done a bang up job my entire life of producing much and many more of these than I have ever needed, and my cancer has found them as a buffet of a food source. The particular chemos I am doing right now, struggle at blocking off the cancer, but with the fact that the cancer in the brain doesn’t seem to particularly be overly receptive to the chemo, or rather I’m just too healthy to allow the chemo to act on the brain, eliminating this food source is sort of a really good idea if your goal is to slow down and starve cancer.
Also practically speaking, I’m over 45. I have had radiation, and chemo for many years at this point. Prior to the first chemo they did warn me about the fact that if i were planning to have children, it was probably the best choice to fast track that at that moment. While it isn’t that I ever really decided to not have children, I feel alot more comfortable in the decision that its not something that is going to happen this lifetime for me. I have recently recognized and embraced the concept that while it wasn’t a conscious decision on my part, I am pretty consciously happy with the decision. Its not so much that I have any issues specifically with children more that I am acutely comfortable with never being personally responsible for their rearing or parenting.
The surgeon, in our discussions pointed out that the difference in the surgery for the ovary removal, or the full hysterectomy is a 7 minute difference of time. The surgery is a laparoscopic surgery, meaning they will open 5 small holes across my abdomen, inflate my stomach, and then use cameras to remove the parts, and perform the surgery. I will have 5 scars about the size of my port across my stomach.
The ovaries are supported by the fallopian tubes, and the uterus. While the ovaries have many functions in my body, the tubes & the uterus are somewhat sympathetic organs that work with the ovaries to assist in reproduction and growing babies. As these are not things I intend to do, it makes sense to remove them to prevent a dormant organ from producing possible negative things in my already compromised body.
The odd thing about all this logical things, about this entire thought, is that I’m weirdly happy about this surgery. I can’t imagine a time or a thing of being “happy” to have a surgery like this, but I am, somehow overly happy about the prospect that I’m doing this… It was suggested to me today by my psychologist that maybe its my feeling like I’m taking the attack on the the offensive, maybe I’m being proactive, and I feel that maybe this is accurate. I felt this same way, happy about doing keto… where I was starving the cancer of sugar. There is something cathartic about feeling like some part of your body is causing you more harm than good, and feeling like you have the power to slow it down, or break it or remove it.
So while I am apprehensive and casually optimistic about this surgery, overall I am weirdly happy to be having it upcoming. Now my focus is just still recovering from the radiation and chemo to make a fast recovery from the surgery.
I have been finding some things with balance more prevalent lately. I made a promise to my doctor that if/when a fall actually occurs, I’ll look at walker options or some type of cane to help me be steadier. Its rather a difficult thing to consider, particularly when I’ve just always been overly clumsy the entirety of my life.
Some of the other symptom things that are less, actively visible, but equally troubling are the difficulty in finding the right words more frequently. Again, this is something I’ve had the entirety of my life, however now it is often occuring where I don’t’ notice I spoke or typed the wrong word, and the word I was intending is no where near my mind. Pulling words has become significantly harder, and what I mean by this is that I have always had a very robust mental library system of cataloguing concepts and phrases, and when a word has been misplaced I have been able to locate it thru many filing cabinets of knowledge that were linked. My brain is not working the same anymore, and while the filing cabinets are still there, and I still have access to them, they are scatterbrained, it takes longer if I’m able to use them and often times the information is just not there. Luckily I recognize this is partially chemo, partially radiation, partially age, and partially cancer. Not just a one hit wonder type of thing, and there is also very precious little that it is worth doing anything other than “letting it go” and moving on to something else.
Living in the moment has somewhat become more of a mantra. I still have tons of personality tendencies that want to drive me towards planning or organizing or dewling in what will becoming, and what I have learned in the past, but somehow these brain things are helping me spend more time just being in the present.
Hopefully things will work out like I hope, and I’ll just keep on finding new things to fight the good fight for a much longer period of years. Because of the surgery, I’ve opted to go against my previous decision, and I’ll be getting new scans before the end of the year, this way I can see what happens in a few months from the surgery by having a good baseline from around/before its impact.