In a truly unbelievable twist of fate, my hysterectomy surgeon called today to tell me that there was “something unexpected” in the full pathology (which last week looked all clear and good). They found fallopian tube cancer. I’d never even heard of it.
I am distraught. In disbelief. Sad. Depressed. Worried about my children’s well-being and mental state.
I am one week out from my hysterectomy; still with lots of healing to go; and now I am scheduled for a second hysterectomy-related surgery in two weeks. She needs to go back in and remove my ovaries and some area lymph nodes and some other body part I’ve never heard of that starts with an “o.”
I thought that healing from the hysterectomy was going to be my last struggle for a good long while. And before that, in January, I thought that the medication ramp up of Venetoclax was my last big struggle—time wise and time away from family. Now I’m facing the biggest, most disruptive diagnosis I have had.
My doctor said she thought it would be Stage 1A. So I guessed that meant “surgical cure.” But it doesn’t. She said I would need 6 months of chemo. And apparently it is the really shitty chemo. The breast-cancer type of chemo that makes all your hair fall out. I started bawling, loudly, for the next 5 minutes on the phone with her. It was so upsetting.
How can I have JUST turned 50 and be on my THIRD cancer? The first two are unrelated. What about the newest one?
I don’t want to be “this person.” This sick, needy person who is a burden to everyone. Who everyone needs to care for, feed, be careful with, tiptoe around, worry about. Even with two cancer diagnosis’ under my belt, I don’t see myself as a sickly person. My doctor said “You are young and healthy and will do just fine with the chemo.” I started yelling “I’m not healthy. I am clearly NOT healthy.” And then I sobbed some more. It was the most unanticipated phone call I’ve ever received.
With breast cancer, I had a feeling it was bad. And it was, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Nowhere near as bad as it could have been.
With the CLL, I figured something was wrong. Never had I had an enlarged lymph node on my neck for so long, and I hadn’t been sick either, so I had a bad feeling.
This time, this time I entered the surgery saying that I was 100% sure that it was just a perimenopausal bleeding problem. And that’s what my doctor fully expected as well. During surgery, they sent the uterus and tubes to pathology right away, in case they needed to dive back in and take the ovaries. Best pathologist on staff, said “Looks all clear. Seal her up.”
Now that they’ve had a week to review the specimen, a 2mm spec was found. This cancer affects 1-2% of all people. WTF?
The bright side—if I am forced to find one—is that it was caught early (or so we think). And according to my doctor, this cancer would NEVER be found early, and that really, I am so fortunate that I had the surgery I did.
I don’t feel fortunate, but I know what she means. I am scared. What if this is all a big slide into total sickness, and I’m naive to think this is just another super crappy, horrible time period that I need to go through—and THEN everything will be okay. I’ll still have CLL, but I will be okay… for years. Hopefully many, many years.