It took a full week from the time I had my endometrial biopsy on July 26th until I got the results on August 2nd. It was the longest 7 days of my life (or at least it felt that way – the week my sister died might have felt longer). I spent most of it worrying and fretting and learning to stay the heck away from Dr. Google.
And then, on August 2, I got the results in an appointment that probably took less than 20 minutes. In 20 minutes, my life completely changed. I have had serious illness before – I had a heart attack in 2003 when I was over 300 pounds – but that was sudden, and one of those things where I went, “Well, ok, what do I need to do now?” But when you get a cancer diagnosis, it’s a whole lot different.
You see, when you hear “heart attack” well, you know what that is.
This is my diagnosis: Complex atypical endometrial hyperplasia in polyps focally bordering on endometrioid adenocarcinoma.
In plain English, it means if I were to do nothing at all, this is going to get ugly. The nurse practitioner (the one who came in before Dr. Rao) said, well, we really don’t know what it is. Meaning, we don’t know if it is cancer or if it isn’t. When Dr. Rao came in, he said more or less the same thing, but he said whatever it was, it was definitely precancerous and there was a 99% chance that it was, in fact, adenocarcinoma (that is the most common cancer of the uterus) and if left to go another month, it will be 100%. Amazing how things can change in a month. So, the treatment is standard – complete total hysterectomy. Abdominal, removing everything – cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. This will put me into surgical menopause. But provided the cancer hasn’t spread, it will be my only treatment.
And so I wait.
I’m waiting for my surgeon’s office to call and schedule my surgery. In the mean time, I need to meet with the anesthesiologist who will be attending the surgery. I need to have a chest x-ray and an EKG (even though I had one a week ago). I need cardiac clearance from my cardiologist. I need to get my shit together at work.
And yet, there is some sense of relief, knowing what the treatment is, and in a sense, there is no relief at all because I still don’t know when. And we still don’t exactly know WHAT.
You see, they can not get an actual full diagnosis without looking at it. And they can’t do that until they remove it.
They will do a biopsy and pathology right there, while I’m on the operating table. They will biopsy my uterus and look at it. And all my other parts. They will look at my lymph nodes and biopsy them as well. And then we’ll know what it is, if they got it all, and if further treatment will be necessary.
I’ve never felt quite this way before. It is almost as if I have a ticking time bomb inside me.
And this puts EVERYTHING else on hold for me.
Next week (in fact on Tuesday) I have an interview for a promotion at work. I know they can’t deny me my promotion for medical reasons, and the supervisor I’m interviewing with probably wouldn’t do that, but still. Will they take it into consideration? I’ll be out of work at least two weeks.
It puts on hold our vacation plans the week of the 20th. We were supposed to spend a week at our trailer at the beach. Now I might be spending it sitting in a hospital bed (this requires a four-day hospital stay – longer than even the stay I had when I had gastric bypass, which was overnight only, and longer than my heart attack stay which was two nights).
It puts my next semester of school on hold. I don’t know if I’ll be recovered in time for classes starting up on September 10th. So I’m taking yet another semester off of school. At this rate, I’ll never graduate. That 2nd masters is looking so far off now.
My life is in a state of flux with this surgery.
At least I have things to distract me.
I’ve got two weeks left of my stats class. I have one homework assignment due online today, and my final is due on the 17th. She’s posting the final on Monday (thank goodness) so if I need to push it, I can get it done before surgery.
I have work – and I’ll be busy until I go out making sure everything that needs to get done will get done. I have my interview. I have that to look forward to. And one of my favorite co-workers will be coming up to Baltimore on August 13th, so I’ll get to see her.
I have my books. I am reading Bag of Bones right now, and it’s good. I’ve got a new (to me) Jeffrey Deaver book. I’ve got tons of stuff on my kindle (to take to the hospital).
I have my knitting. I’m working on a shawl right now that is really pretty. I was going to give it to my mother for Christmas, but may keep it now incase I have to go through further treatment.
I have my furbutts to entertain me. I have my husband who loves me to death.
I have a new grand baby who is due to show up any minute. Baby A is due on the 18th. I hope she comes before my surgery so I can snuggle her. And inhale her sweet baby smell. And love on her.
I have my other grand babies. My Alex turns 16 on Monday! When I met him, he was 9. My Kelsi turns 13 next Friday. She’s so excited to become a teenager.
I have my friends. I have my family.
And I have a big black Charlie Brown Cloud hanging over my head with a big “What IF” printed on it.
I’m not depressed. I’m not angry. I’m a bit scared. And at this point, I just want to know.
But yet, I wait.