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Friday, January 21, 2011

Good News!

I had my follow-up doctor visit yesterday and GOOD NEWS, I don't need any further treatment! I'm on a 6-month follow-up schedule indefinitely. The follow-ups will include CA-125 level checks and ultrasounds to make sure everything stays as it is now!

I am beyond excited about this. I feel as if the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders. This is the best possible outcome considering the situation, and I feel as if my life is no longer on hold, waiting and wondering. I am now ready to move on from this and spend my time doing the things I love.

I hope you all have a blessed day and I'll talk to you (real) soon!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Welcome to 2011

I’ve been writing this post for several weeks now, and planning it for at least a week before that. I’ve been hesitant to write this, not wanting anyone to worry, but maybe the real reason is that I don’t want to worry. I’m not sure which it is, or maybe it’s both. In any case, I’m writing it now, because it is time to face my fears, so to speak. Reader beware: this post was written at multiple times, and in various stages of emotional instability/unrest. In addition, it is EXTREMELY long.

Today I am headed to a follow-up appointment with my doctor. You see, I had surgery right after the New Year, and she’s going to check to see how I’m doing. I will post again after said appointment, but for now, please read the synopsis below to get filled in on the situation.

My post originally started like this, which was before my surgery:

Jan. 5
Tomorrow I am having surgery. By now I suppose it could be considered “planned,” since it has been scheduled for almost a month, but nothing about this feels planned. I don’t want to have this surgery, but more than that, I don’t want to need to have this surgery. Let me explain.

For a few months, I had been experiencing what I will politely call here “female” issues, none of which were terribly bothersome, just annoying. I chalked it up to hormones and dealt with it. I finally became annoyed enough to make an appointment with my doctor, Dr S. On December 6th, I paid Dr S. a visit and at that time she ordered an ultrasound. Something about a cyst she wanted to get a look at. I thought, ok, I’ve had cysts before, no big deal, right?

I go back to the office on December 8th for my ultrasound, and after about 30 seconds I knew something was wrong. First of all, the ultrasound hurt. Now, I’ve given birth to three beautiful children, lost two others, and dealt with fertility issues, so I’ve had ultrasounds, lots of them, and not one of them caused me any pain whatsoever. Odd.

After the ultrasound I’m sitting in an exam room, waiting for Dr. S for what seemed like an eternity (it really wasn’t, it just felt that way), going over in my mind what on earth could possibly be going on. When she came in to talk to me, I could tell that she was concerned. She said that I have a mass on right ovary that she didn’t like the look of and that it needed to be removed. “Didn’t like the look of”?? What in the heck does that mean? Apparently the mass has a small spot on it that looks like cauliflower. Uh, ok? (BTW – I HATE cauliflower.) Cauliflower? That can’t be good. Apparently the mass is contained to just the one ovary, and everything else looks fine. (That made me feel a little better, but not much.) Phrases like “complex cyst,” “pre-cancerous” and “cancer” crept into the conversation. WAIT, CANCER???? Seriously, cancer, really? Now I’m freaking out!

So tomorrow, I go under the proverbial knife to get this thing out. I have no idea if they will be able to save my ovary or not. I’m leaning toward not. Then, the waiting begins. I hate waiting. I’m trying to keep myself super busy, keeping my mind off the “what-ifs” but it isn’t easy. I pray that I’m getting worked up over nothing, but I can’t lie, I’m scared. More than scared…terrified.

This is NOT how I had planned to start my 2011.

Jan 6
Ok, so that wasn’t so bad. My surgery went fine, despite the fact that I lost my ovary. There were absolutely no surprises, which was one of my biggest fears thus far. Everything went as expected, and aside from some serious pain, and bloating I might add, all is well. Now I just have to wait for my pathology reports to come back to see where things stand.

Right now, I’m hopeful that it isn’t anything serious, but it certainly could be. Is it benign? Is it low malignant potential (LMP)? Is it cancer? I don’t have a clue, and right now, neither does Dr. S. I just have to play the waiting game to see where I go from here.

Have I mentioned that I hate waiting???

Jan 9
It is Sunday, and I’m feeling surprisingly well. I actually had the energy and physical wherewithal to make an awesome breakfast for the family. That process tuckered me out, of course, but it was fun nonetheless. I think my children are finally able to relax a bit and not worry so much about me. Seeing mommy just lying around with a grimace on her face for three days has been really scary for them.

I will say right now that I have the best, most loving, most caring children in the whole wide world. Even Peanut (who’s 3 now!) has been helpful in my recovery. They have waited on me hand and foot, bringing me whatever I’ve needed. And the hubby? He’s an absolute Godsend. I could not have chosen a better partner in love and in life. I’m hopeful I will get my test results tomorrow, but that might just be wishful thinking.

I hate waiting.

Jan 10
Well, no test results today. I went back to work for ½ the day, which was nice. It was great to get out of the house for a bit, but all that moving around made for a painful afternoon. My hubby tells me I should learn to recognize my limits a little better, so that I don’t hurt myself. Honestly, I knew going to work was a bad idea. However, I need to keep my mind occupied, and I didn’t want to spend the entire day alone. Sigh.

Jan 12
My initial pathology report has come back. The good news: NO invasive cancer. WOO!!! The bad news: no other definitive diagnosis at this point. They’re teetering between a serous cystadenoma and an atypically proliferating serious tumor (LMP). This is somewhat frightening, not to mention confusing. The decision between these two has a significant impact on future course of treatment. By that I mean, will I need chemo or not? My doctor has sent everything off to Mayo Clinic for additional pathology, and I should have that back in about a week.

Again with the waiting.

Jan 16
The hubby left for New Orleans today for business. I am normally a teeny bit anxious when he goes on business trips. This time, though, my anxiety overwhelms me. I’m still waiting for my second set of results, and I’m terrified that I’ll get bad news while he’s gone.

To avoid the subject altogether, the girls and I are hanging out. We’re going to keep ourselves busy. In fact, I might just reorganize their entire closet today, just for fun.

Jan 17
My office is closed today, and Diva and Peanut are at daycare, so Sissy and I are going to go shopping. The closet reorganization project could not have gone any better. The girls love it. Everything is within their reach, enabling them to select their own clothes at will. I will definitely post pictures later, but for now, Sissy and I have some shopping to do.

Jan 19
My second set of results are in, and guess what??? I’m no better off than I was before. The second pathologist said the SAME EXACT THING as the first, so I am no closer to a definitive diagnosis. Dr. S is now consulting with an oncologist (gulp) to determine the best course of action.

I have a follow-up appointment with Dr. S. tomorrow. I am hoping that her consult will be complete by then, so that at least I can have some answers.

I am terribly sorry for the length and choppiness of this post. I had been waiting to post any information at all until I had notified family and close friends. Several circumstances kept me from doing all that notifying until AFTER my surgery. I am not one to want people worrying about me, and my family, well, is a bunch of worriers. Thank for your patience.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thank You

In the midst of preparing for a massive Thanksgiving gathering shared with family and friends I can't help but reflect on all that I have to be thankful for this year. I have been blessed with more than I feel at times I could possibly deserve. I am diligent about saying "Thank you" when a friend, coworker or stranger helps me out in some way. But...looking back, I'm not so confident that I thank the most important people in my life for being who they are and contributing to my happiness in such a profound way.

To my husband

I admit that I don't always let you know just how thankful I am to have you in my life. You bless me each day with love and understanding. While we don't always agree, we work extremely hard to make those disagreements meaningful and constructive. I feel God has granted me with a true partner in this life, someone to share my hopes and dreams with, someone to help me face my fears, someone to bring me laughter and hold me through the pain. Hubby: THANK YOU. THANK YOU for being who you are and accepting me for who I am. THANK YOU for pushing me toward my dreams. THANK YOU for challenging me in ways that only improve who I am, not change me. THANK YOU.

To Sissy
I was blessed at a very young age with a beautiful, caring, considerate daughter. You have brought more joy to my life than I think I could ever express. You are now a teenager, and with that comes monumental changes. We deal with them together as they come, and while it isn't always easy, I hope you know and understand just how much I love you and how proud and grateful I am to be your mother. THANK YOU for allowing me to help guide you in this life to be the person you are destined to be. It is not a job I take lightly, and I THANK YOU for being patient with me as we grow and change together. THANK YOU for being more special than anyone could ever expect. I am truly honored to have you in my life. THANK YOU.

To my Diva
We waited a LONG time for you to arrive. We tried and tried and tried for years to add to our family, and just when we had begun to accept that it was not to be, you stepped into our lives in a big way. You have brought so much joy to our family. You are vivacious and your enthusiasm is contagious. I am grateful to have you in my life and I look forward to watching you grow into a beautiful young woman. THANK YOU for being my sweet girl. THANK YOU for drawing me beautiful pictures each and every day. THANK YOU for blessing me with such love. I am proud to be your mommy. THANK YOU.

To my Peanut
You were somewhat of a surprise, but a very happy, oh my goodness I'm so excited kind of surprise. You continue to surprise us each and every day. You are obnoxious and funny and the sound of your laughter warms my heart. I am greeted each morning with a hug, a smile, and the unconditional love of a child. For that, I am truly blessed. THANK YOU for being that little spitfire I love so much. THANK YOU for the hugs and kisses. THANK YOU for the giggles you grace me with each day. My life would not be complete without you. THANK YOU.

There are many other things I am truly thankful for in this life, including my family and friends, a great career, and a lovely roof over my head. This time of year really gets me thinking about people in this world, in this country, in my own community, that aren't as lucky as I am. I try each and every day to remember to be truly thankful for all that I have been given, to not take any of these things for granted. It is my hope that moving forward, I can continue to appreciate all that I have been blessed with and find ways to help others who are not as fortunate as I.

During this Thanksgiving season, I encourage each of you to remind yourself of all you have to be thankful for. Share those thanks with the people in your life, and reach out to those in need. It is amazing how powerful two little words can be: THANK YOU.