Hysterectomy Part 2: I’m packing my bags

Woman makes plans, God laughs, right?  Well, that’s not exactly how I picture God, but after my meeting with the gynecological surgeon/specialist Wednesday, many of my original plans about this hysterectomy were dashed.

Surprise #1 came when she sat down and immediately started talking about removing my ovaries.  Whoa, whoa, whoa.  As I tried to not faint, throw-up, or run away, as calmly as I could muster, I let her know this was not what my doctor had originally told me was the case.  This is when she explained to me that while the polyp itself contained pre-cancerous cells (complex hyperplasia with atypia), 30% of the time they find cancerous cells in the uterus once they have taken it out, and therefore, she recommends taking everything out.  Otherwise, I could be in the situation of having the hysterectomy and then a week or two later, when the full pathology report comes back, having to undergo a second surgery to remove the ovaries because the uterine cancer cells could have been working their way up to the ovaries.

Wow.

Superise #2 came when I told her I’d like to book the surgery for October, well within the six-month time frame my doctor had given me and then she told me that was further out than she was comfortable with.  She wanted to do it in August.  Basically she said, “We have no idea how long this has been in  your body, and we have to treat this like it is at the worst case scenario stage — it may not be, but we won’t know until we do the pathology, and we can’t wait three months out.” 

Ugh.

I had made a last minute decision to bring JavaDad along with me and I’m glad I did, because these were two weighty decisions for me to make and it was helpful to have him there to hear the information firsthand from the doc rather than my interpretation of what she said.

Had I been deluding myself about the level of seriousness of what is going on?

Ovaries — how much do I need them at 40?  Is early menopause really that awful?  What about the warnings about hormone replacement therapy and higher risks of breast cancer and heart attacks in women?  On the other hand, those darned ovaries have always caused me mysterious pains at various stages of the month.  And is it worth worrying about them all the time after this procedure — she warned me I may have to have PET scans and CT scans…  Menopause is inevitable — is it so bad to move the clock up a little?

Thumbing through my Franklin Covey planner, I caught myself giving the doctor all the reasons why I wanted to wait until October.  A family vacation.  A conference.  Another conference.  I’m busy.  October is more convenient.  I wanted to enjoy the rest of summer with the kids.  I knew I sounded like a babbling idiot and I could see the look in her eyes, that “I’m talking about cancer and you are talking about trips!” look.  I kept babbling, as if pleading with her could change the odds, as if the cells inside me could hear me and be reasoned with. 

Was I looking a gift horse (this early diagnosis) in the mouth?

I was.

Very recently I saw a friend who lost a mother to ovarian and uterine cancer.  I know she would’ve given up anything to have her mother here today.  Dare I gamble missing out on something in my children’s future by pushing this out by another month or two?

JavaDad and I talked again when we came home.  Though in my heart I wanted what I had set my mind on — keep the ovaries, do this in October, I knew that was not what I was going to get.  I’m not in control.  I can do all the research in the world, I can make demands of my doctors and pretend like I’m in control, but I’m not really the one in charge.  Those stupid little cells are.  So I have to head them off at the pass.  I’ll lose a battle now so I’ll win the war later.

That’s why I’m booked for August 13. Yes, a Friday the 13th.  But I’ve decided it’s not MY unlucky day — it’s an unlucky day for any bad cells – precancerous or otherwise.

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Comments

  1. Kelly (kansaskel) says:

    JJ, I will pray for a safe surgery and speedy recovery for you.

  2. I think you are very brave and very cool for just going through with it early!

  3. How scary and overwhelming for you. I am glad, though, that you’re doing it early, and taking care of yourself. But I’m also glad you’re doing it AFTER BlogHer! See you in 3 days!

  4. Yoo-hoooo. Let the doc sneak up on ’em and zap em out of there before they know to do anything darned wicked like spread someplace else. It’s all out war – go for the trenches and don’t give ’em an millimeter. LOL

    Love ya

  5. Had no idea you were going through all this..praying for you! Good choice, even if it wasn’t the fun choice!

  6. Melissa Jansen says:

    Praying for you this day, J.J.!