Sunday, July 22, 2012

the cat's out of the bag

....And by 'cat' I mean cancer and by 'out of the bag' I mean my uterus.

So yeah, got myself a tiny case of cervical cancer.  More specifically, adenocarcinoma in situ.  It's been an interesting journey with the woman parts. 

*****Just in case you're wondering, this could be a tmi post so don't say I didn't warn you.  You're about to learn waaaaay to much about the whole area down there.*****

After I had Olivia I had my regular pap by a slightly odd male doctor.  Not my first choice, but I had gone in urgent care for some unusual pain I was having a couple of weeks after the c-section.  Since I was there he figured I should get my pap done.  They called a few days later to let me know that I had some unusual results and he wanted me to come back in to get a colposcopy.  He was quite to assure me that it was 'unusual, but it wasn't cancer.'  Dummy.

For those (like me) who don't know what a colposcopy is:  They use a vinegar solution to 'dye' the cervix.  It shows the areas that are abnormal and then the doctor uses a microscope type thing to look at those areas.  If the doctor feels like it merits she'll do a biopsy of those areas.  It's unpleasant, but not the end of the world.

I really had no worries.  My gyno said she felt like she didn't see anything too crazy and thought it would be low grade junk and stuff.  Imagine my surprise when she came back and said I had to come back in to get a LEEP done.  She said that there were high grade lesions and some abnormal glandular cells.  The LEEP was similar to the coposcolpy except they use a heated wire to slice out a bigger portion of the cervix.  They numb the cervix beforehand so I thought, dude, no big, right?

WRONG!!!!  Numbing the cervix SUCKS ASSHOLES.  That was by far one of the worst things so far.  BY FAR.  Once that was done I couldn't feel anything.  That was better.

A week later I got a message on my phone from my doc saying she sent me an email and that I had something called adenocarcinoma in situ.  I called my mom (a RN) and she said she was pretty sure that's precancerous cells.  No big.

I got home & read her email and 'cancer' was all over the place.  I read the literature and, holy crap on a cracker, everyone's calling this cancer.  This is cancer?!  Jeez maneez.

Generally what happens after the diagnosis is a cone biopsy.  Here they take a much larger portion of the cervix, almost removing it altogether.  That gets tested to see how invasive the cancer is.  Once that's determined you either get a simple hysterectomy or a radical hysterectomy.  Stellar.

I got the cone biopsy almost three weeks ago and the tests came back with really low margins.  They didn't find any cancer deeper in the cervix or very low in the uterus so it's looking like I get the simple hysterectomy.  After they remove my uterus they'll check that thoroughly to see if they find anything there. If they do I'll get radiation, if not, I'm good to go.

I'm super lucky.  Adenocarinoma in situ is really aggressive.  If you go a year or more without finding it you're looking at a very low chance of survival.  My survival rate is as close to 100% as you can get.  And to add icing to the cake, NO MORE PERIODS!  Since you can't see me right now, I'm doing the dance of joy.  I'm thankful that we were able to have our two munchkins.  I've been reading about so many 20-somethings who have to gamble with the cone biopsy in order to preserve their fertility.  We're done having kids so my uterus is just excess baggage.

Really, they should have just kept it when they took Olivia out.  Would've saved me some trouble.  I guess it just doesn't work like that.

So that's been the nuts that I've been going through these past few months.  I don't feel like I've really stressed about it, though I haven't been getting much sleep and I think I've had a headache for a month.  Mostly, I worry about what to do with 2 kiddos while I recover from surgery without inconveniencing my family & friends.  The biggest pain is the actual pain I've had and the bleeding that's been going on off and on for the past two months and having to wear a pad for two months during the summer.  Don't be gross, it's not the same pad for two months.

But if that's the worst of it, I count my lucky stars.  I'm grateful to my wonderful husband and family for dropping everything at a moment's notice to take me to the hospital or take the girls while I sleep for four days.  My friends for checking up on me, sending prayers and love and dealing with my never ending fountain of sarcasm.

I'm a lucky girl.  (No sarcasm there.  Seriously.)

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