March 3, 2016


This is an interesting concept when it comes to me and cancer, to having this surgery.  The whole idea is risk-reduction, is taking me from having a 40-60% lifetime ovarian cancer risk to none.  Sounds like it should bring relief, right?  And I'm trying to think I'll get there.

But let me back up a few days first.  A little interesting exercise came up starting over the weekend, and it was way too relevant to this discussion.  Olive and I went out of town for the weekend, and it involved driving about 4 hours.  Done it hundreds of times, but this time freaked me out.  I had some vision and spacial-perception changes as I was driving that made me feel unsafe.  (Yes, I was cautious and we made it safely, but I couldn't do the full drive in one night.)  It continues on, and I've had pressure around my right eye and sinus area, too.  Easy enough to say it's likely a sinus infection or maybe I need my eyes checked, but...

But then back home Sunday night, I was feeling it and thinking about it and freaked myself out.  I was up past 3am, and I can't think of the last time something's kept me awake.
And then I tried to reason with myself the next morning and talk myself out of it, but there's a part of me that can't disregard the possibility.  And then I paint the picture for someone to get a second opinion, and they aren't talking me out of taking it seriously.  And then I send a message to my oncologist electronically and she calls back.  Pretty quickly.  And, with the disclaimer that it's probably nothing, she wants to schedule a head MRI.

Had it yesterday.  Results are all normal--it was nothing.  Phew.

I want to feel like this surgery and all the changes it will precipitate will ultimately bring a sense of relief, despite the changes that come with it.  I have a lot of conversations with myself wondering when I'm ever going to start feeling like my life is a little more long-term.  I'm trying to conceptualize what it would be like to live into my 70s, or 80s, or 90s.  I don't know that I've ever thought in terms of growing into old age.  Not even into my 60s.

That bothers me.  Believe me, I do feel there is a lot to be gained by living in the present, but life also necessitates planning ahead and anticipating what may come.  And I'm happy with Olive and my boyfriend and want to plan for a future.  I want to figure out what I'd want that to look like.  I really want this surgery to feel like it has a tangible benefit, and I'm worried that things like this week are going to drag me back into this present survival mode when I'd rather leave it behind me.  It makes me feel weird and fatalistic and dramatic when things like this come up, and I don't know who to bring into my bubble of worry and when.

I also have a week of waiting post-surgery to see if the pathology shows anything in what they remove.  I'm still bracing myself for having to go down the road of a new cancer for now.  Dammit.  You can think it's not likely, and I agree, but neither was my first cancer.  I want to walk out of the hospital in 2 weeks leaving all the cancer worry behind me.  I'm hoping it will be much better, but I wish it was more magical than that.  It's something to keep carrying.

Maybe it'll feel a little lighter, though.

1 comment:

merry said...

First of all, ANY surgery is scary, even without the whole living into an old age thing. Add to that, all that you've been through in your lifetime already, and you have permission to feel apprehensive. Who knows what was going on with your eyes. Strange! But you got it checked out and all is OK. I have learned that once a person has cancer, whatever kind, every new pain or twitch or abnormalty becomes a reccurance in our heads! Every time I have a dull ache in my back or a sharper stab in my right breast or a spot of blood from you-know-where, the first thing I think is "The cancer is back!" I have a colonoscopy in June and already I'm certain the doc is going to find something! It's the nature of the beast, especially the beast that has already had to deal with Mr. CA. And that is when I remember that I'm not the one in charge. Have faith that you are doing what you need to do to be there for Olive and your new love. Have faith in your doctors and nurses. And have faith in your higher being. Go ahead and be scared and apprehensive, but know that you are a gift and you are loved by more people than you know, and all of us are praying for you. Unfortunately I won't be around to see you in your 80s and 90s!! I love you, Ms.Jen.