I have cancer. Those are words I never imagined I would utter, much less write. My parents, especially my dad, had cardiovascular problems, so that would not have surprised me a bit, but cancer? No way!
I wouldn’t say it at first. “Adenocarcinoma” was much more palatable and sounded less frightening. But then my sister, bless her heart, threatened to punch me in my cancer when we were mock fighting over who got to do the dishes the day I was diagnosed. I laughed until I cried, and that took the power out of the word.
Of course I looked it up and got the skinny right away. An endometrial biopsy had revealed uterine adenocarcinoma, and I found out it’s a great cancer to have, if you’re gonna have one. For the vast majority of women, a hysterectomy is all that’s required. I’m 57, I’m decidedly post-menopausal, so I’m not using those parts anyway. Whew! Sigh of relief and let’s get on with it.
But then the doubts creep in: what if I’m NOT in the majority, what if I have to have radiation, or God forbid, chemotherapy? A hysterectomy may be routine for a doctor, but it’s not routine for ME! What if I die on the table? What if? What if? And I’m probably going to have to have the biggest, baddest kind of hysterectomy, where they take out everything! Will I want to have sex afterwards? Will it still be enjoyable, or will I dry up like a tumbleweed? I had to stop taking my bioidentical hormones when I got the diagnosis, so what will that do? Hot flashes and homicidal rage again?
I don’t know, and nobody really can know for sure how it’s going to be for me. So I decided I would write about my experiences, both for my benefit and to give others something to relate to.
Here are the two things I’ve learned so far:
- The right doctor makes ALL the difference! Contrary to what I would have expected, the female doctor who did the initial tests was uncommunicative, defensive when I asked questions, and totally without compassion. The gynecological oncologist (a man) and his staff were exactly the opposite. They told me what was going to happen and what to expect, reassuring me without condescension.
- Having an extensive support network is so important. For much of my life, I would not have even mentioned this to anyone but the closest family members and friends. Now I’m telling lots of people and asking them for their positive thoughts and prayers. It makes it easier for me, and I know it will help.
I’m having my surgery on Thursday, April 7th. Think positive thoughts!