Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In Today's Breaking News . . .

Got a call early this afternoon from the physician's assistant at my gynecological-oncologist's office. The lab results from my surgery were in. And guess what? My surgeon is not God. Turns out the mass he removed from me last Thursday was not, after all, a low malignant-potential tumor. It was bog-standard ovarian cancer. Stage 1A, Grade 1.

Which if you're going to get ovarian cancer is the stage and grade you want it to be. The PA said they took and analyzed "a gazillion" specimens and everything except the right ovary was negative.

So that means they got it, right?

Not so fast. Turns out the mass ruptured during surgery, so Dr. C himself puts it at Stage 1C instead.

Now I thinks to meself, I thinks, How on earth could that have happened . . . ? Did somebody poke a finger in the wrong place and Pop Goes the Weasel?

Yeah, right. That naive bit of dubiety rises from my imagining that my ovaries and other bits were just floating around loose in my abdomen and the tumorous one simply had to be picked up and cut off. No. Things in the body are adhered and attached to other things so they won't rattle around in your insides and get all tangled up. And considering that my right ovary/tumor had a very delicate-looking septation off one end of it (I know-- I saw the picture at my gynecologist's office in February), it's not surprising it should have torn a bit in the removal process.

In a couple of weeks I may well find out if my angle on this is correct, because I'm to come in for a follow-up visit with Dr. C and the PA. Still working out the logistics on getting a ride into town, but it'll be either on the 10th or the 17th.

The way I'm thinking about it is, the mass was a Stage 1C ovarian cancer, and we'll be discussing how to keep it in the past tense.

. . . Yeah, that very well could mean chemo.


Yeah, nobody does. But people take it and they get through it and come out fine the other end. And if they have to fumigate my belly, so to speak, to make sure all the cancer bugs are gone, that's what we have to do.

The Lord is good; His Spirit is with us, and I am reminded that the reason ovarian cancer is so scary is that most of the time it's not discovered until it's in a later and much less treatable stage. It's not that ovarian cancer cells are more virulent or potent than the kind that settle in elsewhere.

And even though this has turned out to be what I feared back in early February, it's not the same. Thanks to the providence of God working through my gynecologist, this mass was discovered early. And if the fight needs to continue a bit before total victory is won, so be it.


Otherwise, I'm doing pretty well this first full day home. Swelling and bruising going down, pain well under control even without constant Vicodin. Enough energy that I have to remind myself not to do Forbidden Things. Got up mid-afternoon and came down for some lunch; then early in the evening I got dressed (yay! I can get into my corduroy jeans!) and my friend Frieda* and I went out for a stroll around my garden to see what's in bloom.

After supper she sat down at the piano and played some music she'd brought, then started in on hymns. Unfortunately, the hymnals I had on the piano ledge didn't have some of the hymn/tune combinations we wanted, and I knew better than to run (!) up to the third floor to get the hymnbooks that do. So I set my Welsh hymnal before her and she played "Sanctus" and "Aberystwyth" for me while I stood there and sang them yn Cymraeg.

Oooh, danger! danger! Don't get someone who's even part-Welsh started singing Welsh hymns at 10:30 at night! Especially one who's only five days post-op! I wanted to sing more, more-- and knew I needed to stop before I messed myself up. Not from pain-- I'm trained to do intercostal breathing, so it didn't affect the surgery site. But from pure exhaustion, that I would have ignored from the hwyl of the words and the music.

No. There are times to sing till you drop. Tonight was not one of them.


whiskers said...

Oh, honey. I'm so sorry. Sending love and good thoughts for a fantastic prognosis your way!


Marlene said...

Prayers are with you, for peace and good results that indeed it is all gone! (if Frieda is our mutual piano playing friend tell her hi! and to get on fb)

St. Blogwen said...

Thanks. It really is a PITA as it is. But I'm not the first person who has to deal with chemo and so on, so what do I have to gripe about?

I'd love it if Frieda* (blog pseudonym) would get on FB, but she's not as computer attuned/addicted as I am.

elaine said...

If you have to go through this, I'm so relieved to hear it's still stage 1. I have a relative who caught it that early, too, and she's still in the clear 10 years after the surgery. Y'all are the very lucky ones. So happy for you!

Elizabeth said...

Good luck and beems to you. My mother had a similar thing happen to her and even though she had to do chemo she got through it and so will you. And my mother is in perfect health 7 years later. Good luck.

peg said...

I had stage 4 colon cancer-HAD- last year. Chemo is the pitts..but my hair is back. Let me know and I will crochet you a hat and send to you..

St. Blogwen said...

Ohai! Are you Peg the Snail Hunter? We'll see about the chemo option on May 10th, I suppose. If that's the way things run, I'd be honored to have a crocheted cap. I'll look like a superannuated baby bald and a hat should help!

Elizabeth, thanks for the word about your mom. It helps me know that if others have dealt with it, so can I.

peg said...

Snail hunter peg here-yep,iz me..I make a snazzy cap/hat that stays on and can be worn az a night hat.
Only thing,will come with crocheted
in cat fluff..Let me know what's your favorite color..I can even do stripes!!