Friday, March 18, 2011

If You Got Cancer, You Gotta Have A Good Witch

My oncologist, otherwise known as the Good Witch, has magical powers, at least over me she does.  When I see her, and when we talk, it's like soothing the colicky baby in me.  She's got the touch.

The scared little girl me calms down, and the grown up me feels as if whatever curveball cancer throws my way, she's going to be right there with me as my batting coach and agent.  I still have to swing, but she gives me direction, encouragement and tries to arrange the best deal possible for me.

"Oh my gosh, look at your hair and your nails, I can't believe how long your hair is already!  You look great.  If it wasn't for the flat chest, you'd never know to look at you, you were a cancer patient.  You look great.  I have some patients who are a year out with little fuzzy hair or still wearing wigs.  I can't get over your hair and look at those nails!"

It was great to see her too.  I gave her all the news, and we went over my ultrasound and biopsy results.  We talked about the benign what ifs, and the possible what ifs I really hate to think about.

Did you know the average uterus is about the size of a lemon?  Really makes you appreciate its stretchability during pregnancy.  So here's a little uterus 101 for you.  The inside of the uterus is lined with what is called the endometrium.  When I had my pelvic ultrasound, one of the things they looked at is that lining; for the purposes of the ultrasound they call it the endometrial stripe.

If an increased thickening of the endometrial stripe is discovered, it may be a result of precancerous or even cancerous cell activity in the uterus.  Obviously, the uterus and the endometrium are very sensitive to hormonal changes, and when a woman menstruates, the endometrial lining is shed if no pregnancy has occurred.  Sometimes if there is an over stimulation or prolonged exposure to estrogen, this abnormal growth of cells can occur.  This condition, called endometrial hyperplasia, or thickening of the endometrium, in itself is not considered cancerous,  It's usually monitored, often treated with hormones, or even lasered out. estimates that one-third of women with endometrial hyperplasia will later develop endometrial cancer.

You get where I'm going with this?  I am getting the distinct impression that my girly parts are going to join my breasts in NeverNeverLand.

"I mean it's not like you really need them anymore (referring to my ovaries, tubes and lemon),you aren't planning on having any more children, and if there is anything atypical in there at all, as your oncologist, I would recommend you have all of it taken out to reduce your cancer risk.  Let's just let your gynecologist do her part and let's see what we've got there, and if it is something, we'll take the next step and refer you to a gynecologic oncologist.  Even if it looks like it's something that might develop into something, it's better to be cautious."

I started thinking about my goodbye letter to Flopsy and Mopsy.  I never named my uterus, but I may be writing her a letter too.  I could call her Gladys, and my ovaries and tubes could be the Pips.  Sheesh, pretty soon here I may be the fourth girl in this house spayed - Hallie, Cassie, Muffin and Mommy.

I watched for clues on her face, to see if she seemed worried.  I've never played poker with her, so I don't know how good she is at bluffing, but she didn't seem alarmed or like she was hiding cards.  She knows I'm worried, and as Midge would say I'm "an internet whore" devouring information.  I've already started the homework and the Good Witch laughed when I told her the name of the gynecologic oncologist I had already researched is on my health plan.

"Yes, he's the man, an excellent surgeon, I'll be curious to see what you think of him if it comes to that."

We chatted rather calmly about all of it, not like the house was on fire or anything.  I relaxed because she seemed so relaxed.  She wanted to examine me too, so I took off my shirt and she poked around Flopsy and Mopsy, and under my left arm.

"Any changes as far as lymphedema?" she asked.  "How's that going?"

I told her it feels huge and awful tight to me, but my lymphedema therapist said both arms were slightly smaller, and I see her for a recheck of measurements next week.

She asked me about any menopausal symptoms or Tamoxifen side effects.  Overall I told her I thought I was doing well, except for the continuing feeling that my flora and fauna in my vajayjay still isn't right, although my bacterial cultures from my biopsy came back negative.

"That could be a Tamoxifen side effect.  How's your libido?"

"On fire" I smiled "especially after physical therapy."


"Well, I have this adorable physical therapist, he's so sweet and handsome, and I feel like an old cougar around him."  Then I meowed for effect. 

She had a good laugh over that one.

"You think I'm evil?"

She grabbed my shoulders with both hands, and laughing, gave me a little shake.  "Of course not.  Ok, you get dressed and let's see, when do I see you next?' and she looked through my file.

There was a soft knock on the exam room door, I was still sitting there half naked, with flat Flopsy and Mopsy out.

"Not yet" she called out "Do not open that door, give us a minute."  I got dressed.

"I have an appointment with the plastic surgeon in mid-April, even though I don't plan on doing the reconstruction for awhile.  Just to talk about it and show her what she's got to work with here.  I'm due to see you in mid-April as well."

"Well, let's you and I meet again for your regular three month check-up after you've seen her, and we can talk about that too, unless you need me sooner.  Don't forget to get your labs done the week before you see me."

We wrapped it up, and she was out the door.

I said my goodbye's to my Vonda, and was on my way.

As I drove home in the rain, I thought about having a whole let less girly parts.

Thank goodness my biggest sex organ is my platinum brain.


1 comment:

Deborah said...

Great story Debs. I love it when I get good doctors like your oncologist. Some of them are such chumps. Yes you are still going to be you, no matter what has to be taken away to keep you safe.

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