March 21, 2016


4 days out from surgery and feeling...pretty good overall.  It has been a steady progression for the past days.  Thursday was a blur of nausea and pain and coming out of anesthesia.  Friday was pain--interesting short-lived-but-horrible pain--and getting ready to go home.  Saturday through today have been steady improvements, and each of those days I've had a little outing to start moving again.

I guess I never fully gave the details of what I had done and how I got to this place.  My surgery on Thursday was a BSO & total hysterectomy--that means both ovaries and fallopian tubes out, plus uterus/cervix.  The ovaries and tubes was related directly to ovarian cancer risk reduction with my BRCA1 mutation.  Again, my risk of ovarian cancer based on my family history and mutation increased dramatically at age 40, with a 40-60% lifetime risk.  I had been screened every 6 months for it since my breast cancer, but the tests (CA-125 blood test and ultrasound) are known to be not adequate for catching ovarian cancer in many cases.  Even with the every-6-mo time frame, you can be clear at one appt and have stage 3 or 4 ovarian CA at the next.  Not super comforting.

I had about 5 1/2 yrs of that screening timeline, and obviously all clear so far.  But my last appt in November put me on edge, and I realized I didn't want to feel that way again.  I had some irregular bleeding and bloating for the couple of months leading up to the appt, and they did a uterine biopsy and pap in addition to the regular tests.  More test, more waiting, more nervousness--all clear, but in that time I realized that if I went into my next 6-mo screening and did find cancer, I would be unrelenting on myself knowing my risks and not acting.  I would have maybe made different choices at a different place in my life, but I can't pretend it's only about me when Olive's involved.

So, on with it.  Out with the ovaries and tubes.  Why the uterus, too?  Well, we've had a complicated history.  I've had sizable fibroids that were a factor in my pregnancy and have caused be severe pain in the past, and keeping my uterus and cervix would have kept some other areas of increased cancer risk with my risk factors and made hormone replacement more complicated.  So out with it, too.

I have started hormone replacement, which sounds like a big no-no when you think about breast cancer and the studies over the last decades.  Funny enough, though, that my cancer type (triple negative) is the one where they do consider HRT because my original cancer didn't feed on estrogen or progesterone.  So they okayed it, and I am jumping on it.  Not just because hot flashes and low libido sound not fun--because there are significant impacts to bone health, heart health, and early-onset dementia with early menopause.  Sudden, surgical menopause is a big cliff to jump off for my body, so I'm trying to make it more of a gentle slope.

Okay, I'm done fem-splaining to you about that.  Anyway, I'm recovering well, watching some Netflix, getting food deliveries from family and friends, napping a lot.  Not a whole lot of emotion on the other side of it.  Yet.  We'll see.

Thank you again, for all of you pitching in and checking in and sending love.  I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

merry said...

So happy to hear things went well. Not fun - not one bit - but you did what you felt you needed to do. I remember sleeping a lot and loving being able to be lazy! But got pretty tired of my own company after awhile, so I hope you'll have visitors!! Take care. Love you!