I tell this story because it is the most bizarre tale of God’s divine grace! It is with enormous thankfulness that I share how I became a cancer survivor before even my doctors knew I even HAD cancer!
So a few years ago, I was told that I had a HUGE fibroid tumor that took up my entire uterus. My doctor said it wasn’t anything to be concerned about because they are never cancerous and would go away as soon as my hormone levels dropped enough to put me close to full menopause. I was so close to menopause and I didn’t have any issues with it so I went along my merry way.
When I moved down to the Indy area, I got new doctors and my OBGYN insisted I go in for an ultrasound to confirm that the fibroid was no longer there. We were all fairly certain it was gone or very nearly so I was a bit unclear why she wanted to search for it with all the modern technology at her disposal, but as luck would have it, the procedure was covered at my age so I went in and let them have a look around at my interior. They seemed to be focusing in on my left side for an inordinate amount of time, but I just thought they were admiring my vintage upholstery.
The doctor called me in to go over my results. I was fully expecting her to say that it was gone and we could then move on to finding solutions to my several chronic issues where fatigue and pain had become a full-time job. However, what she said was that the results revealed a rather sizable solid cyst on my left ovary. She said it was the kind of cyst that could become cancerous so it needed to be removed as soon as possible. Since I was 53 years young, I was no longer really using my ovaries so she said it was easier to remove the entire ovary and that she might want to take the Fallopian Tube as well just in case because “cancer likes to hide.”
Turns out she called an audible during the surgery and did remove the tube and sent everything to biopsy. The surgery was much easier than I thought it would be and I was in very little pain that it didn’t necessitate ANY pain pills including Tylenol or Ibuprofen. I was ecstatic thinking it was over and I got away just about scott free.
The doctor herself called me with the biopsy results. That’s never a good sign. It’s usually some nurse or office gal who tells you everything is normal. So when she used the word cancer, my brain kind of went tilt. I had a hard time wrapping my head around that. After all, there was no reason to believe I had cancer. My blood work indicated levels of cancer antibodies below the limit indicating cancer was present. Nothing they saw indicated any signs of a tumor or cyst or lump or anything they felt was something to worry about. But the fact remained that I did have cancer cells in my tube and, since this type of cancer is aggressive, I was referred to a Gynecological Oncologist.
After the initial shock wore off (about two hours), I wasn’t really concerned. I was told that he would probably want to remove my other ovary, tube, and lymph nodes just to make sure there was no more cancer in my reproductive system which was now laying dormant having retired some time ago. I went into the appointment feeling pretty confident and actually kind of looking forward to having an end to my 17+ years of Peri!
When he first walked into the room, he asked me why I thought I was there. He wanted to know just how much I understood. I told him it really was a miracle. They went in looking for a huge fibroid tumor that wasn’t there, found a solid ovarian cyst, and only found the microscopic cancer cells in my Fallopian Tube under the microscope after the biopsy. My OBGYN said that it saved my life and he agreed with her. They both said that the cancer would never have been found that early. This type of cancer has no symptoms until it is too late and, since it’s an aggressive cancer, doctors wouldn’t have known it was there until it was too late and I would most likely have died. So I’m a cancer survivor and I was a cancer survivor long before anyone (including the doctors) knew I even had cancer!
So what’s next? Well, the Gynecological Oncologist has me scheduled for a total hysterectomy in October. He wants to remove EVERYTHING reproductive, not just my other ovary and tube and lymph nodes…because they already found cancer and “cancer likes to hide.” This is a much more involved surgery requiring a 2-3 day hospital stay. If the biopsy finds no further cancer cells, I’m done! Both with peri and with cancer. If they do find more cancer, they’ll probably want to do chemotherapy. But he doesn’t think there is any reason to believe that they will find more cancer. So I’m hanging my hat on that for now.
UPDATE: Got my biopsy back and there is NO MORE CANCER or any other abnormalities anywhere. I’m CANCER FREE!