Yeah, it's official. I have eluded to medical problems lately. Now it is confirmed and scheduled. Hysterectomy. Total Radical Hysterectomy with Bilateral Salpingo Oophorectomy.
Monday, January 24.
This involves the removal of uterus, both ovaries and of both tubes.(Insert SCREAM here)
I've put it off for six years. I only hope that I don't regret putting it off as long as I have. It was just never the right time, I had too much to do, races to run, who wants to sit around for 6-8 weeks for recovery and was it really necessary?
Ever since my Mom was diagnosed with Stage III Ovarian Cancer six years ago I have had ovarian cancer screenings every six months. My local gynecologist told me every six months that she felt I should have a hysterectomy soon (but not how soon), that the cancer screenings I was having were better than nothing, (but not that good), that it was too bad I wasn't in menopause yet because sudden surgical menopause is a bitch. So I waited. I continued with a trans-vaginal ultrasound every six months, a CA 125 blood test and promised myself I'd have a hysterectomy..soon...whenever that is..
Six years later and I have begun to have pain. Now, I have a high tolerance for pain. I have had 'doubled over at the waist' kind of pain from my ovaries. Sharp, jabbing pain. It scared me. My periods became heavy nasty affairs that I had never ever had before. My ultrasound showed tumors for the first time. My CA125 has increased for the first time. This time I took hysterectomy seriously.
I made an appointment with a gynecologic oncologist at Mayo Clinic for a second opinion. He looked at my familial cancer tree. See, my Dad created this document for I and my sister after Mom was diagnosed. It goes back 4 generations and lists all of the cancers with the relations. Very awesome. My surgeon commented on how great it was to have my 'cancer tree' at his fingertips. He then examined me. He asked me what the hell had I had been waiting for. My reasons (excuses) sounded ridiculous coming from my own mouth. I told him so. He did more than suggest a hysterectomy. He insisted. I let him schedule one for me.
The hope is that this will be proactive to cancer, not a treatment for cancer. During the surgery he will send tissue to pathology. If no cancer, he'll finish, I'll be on my to recovery. If there is cancer, he will remove it and I'll treat as necessary.
I am actually very lucky. My Mom gave me a gift of knowledge that she didn't have. She didn't realize she was at risk, didn't realize she should be screened, didn't realize that she could lessen her risks with diet and exercise.
I have had CA125 tests every six months, trans vaginal ultrasounds every six months, prescription for birth control pills as they are a risk reducer, genetic counseling, genetic testing, etc. I know my risk.
I am fortunate that I have accrued enough sick time so that I will have a paid leave of 6 weeks. I will have a job to go back to. A job that I really love and am really going to miss. Students have told me they will miss me, miss talking with me 'and who is going to bring us Bath and Body lotions and soaps?' I brought in a few of each today for my desk so that they don't run out while I'm away. I told them to think of me while I'm gone.
..and then I think..oh my god, what am I going to do for 6 weeks? I will go back to work in the SPRING. SPRING. That's crazy. 6 weeks? Really?
..and sudden surgical menopause? Great. Sweet. Memory loss, hot flashes, no desire for sex, fatigue, irritability, mood swings, depression, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, joint pain, stiffness to name a few. No wonder I put this off. I am not a candidate for HRT because of my cancer risk.
My surgeon told me that because I am lean, fit and strong that I should recovery quickly. He told me that I am at a lower risk for infection and other complications because I am in great shape.
He told me I may have to scratch Zumbro 100 for April; or not? I make a great cheerleader. I can work an aid station. If I can't run I'll be there to help out.
I've changed my way of thinking. 6-8 weeks of recovery is a whole lot better than treating for cancer. I'm now looking forward to the surgery so that I can heal, recover and move on.
So ultra girls, do tell: how long post hysterectomy until you ran your next 100? Or until you began to train for it, or until you began to RUN?
Wish me luck. I need it. 6 weeks of recovery. Good grief.