Monday, May 21, 2007

It's a crazy life

Well here I am making my attempt at blogging. I know that somewhere in this crazy life there is a book to be written. Writing it down, letting it go, not letting the craziness consume you. Does it work? We shall find out! One never knows what life will throw at you. Just when you begin to think you have it all figured out, you stumble across yet another road block.

My cancer story began 2 weeks into my dream of nursing school. I was managing a very hectic schedule of working as a nursing assistant combined with 11 hours of school each day. For a couple of years I'd had symptoms which I'd just pretty much learned to live with, until a friend of mine convinced me to see a doctor. Determined not to let a medical issue progress to ruining my new career path, I made an appointment and my life forever changed that day.

My doctor decided I needed to see a gynecologist and that it couldn't wait for an appointment. I found myself sitting outside the office of the gyn waiting to be squeezed in. A million thoughts were going through my mind, and I began to wonder what could possibly be this urgent? I was now late for class. I'd probably end up getting that dreaded pelvic exam, they would find nothing - because truly what bad things happen to a 24 year old's body? Here I was, physically fit, 5'5" 125 lbs, athletic, early twenties with absolutely no significant medical history, or any that I knew of anyway, I am adopted.

Finally I get called in, the gyn doctor is extremely thoughtful and personable. She asks me about a million questions, so many that couldn't even answer due to the fact that I am adopted. It's the most frustrating thing in the world, being adopted and being asked about your mom, dad, grandparents and siblings. You want to scream out "I don't freakin know!" but instead you just shrug your shoulders and say again and again, "I am adopted." She asked when my last normal menstrual period was. I replied, "Normal?? what's that? " the truth was that I don't believe I'd ever had a normal period.

Of course I was given the dreaded pelvic exam (ugh, still hate them) She narrowed down the pain to my right ovary and decided to draw up some labs. I found myself walking to the lab with my little form in which all these boxes are checked titled "Tumor markers." They took my blood, and I went back to class.

The next day I received a call from her office. She wanted to talk to me but wouldn't talk over the phone. My heart sank. I felt it inside, I knew something was wrong.

There I was back into her office in selective listening mode. In nursing school we are told that patients hear the word cancer, nothing before that and not much else after that. That is pretty much what happened for me. I was told that my tumor marker test came back above 2,000 over normal.

I was back a week later for a laprascopic biopsy. She told me that she would try to preserve my fertility but of course I signed the consents for a possible abdominal hysterectomy. When I woke up from surgery, I knew immediately that they'd opened me up from the pain. There was my anesthesiologist, my gynecologist and a new woman who I would later find out was a gynecological oncologist.

My fears confirmed. Although the pathology report wouldn't be back for few days, they were sure it was cancer. They'd removed my uterus, fallopian tubes, 30+ lymph nodes, and ovaries, both of them. The tumor was in both ovaries and evidence that it was in adjacent abdominal structures as well. Oddly enough, I was being unofficially diagnosed with cancer but all I remember thinking was that as an adoptee, they just took away the only chance I will ever have to have someone genetically related to me. I was devastated.

I can recall certain other aspects of that time in the recovery room, such as holding off on nursing school, and the fact that I'll always be able to adopt children, and how much I had to live for, and how they would fight this aggressively, and they would fight for me, and get me through this.

I don't think I cared too much about any of that. The most devastating thing at that moment was the loss of my fertility. I felt raped and robbed.


Katie said...

Hello what were your signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer? Everybody says there aren't many signs and symptoms but you said youd been having them for 2 years. Would you elaborate? I have strange symptoms and in the back of my mind I worry about ovarian cancer.

suz said...

gulp. crying. wow.