Thursday, August 23, 2012

My 1yr Cancer Free Anniversary - Better Late Than Never

I meant to post this on August 15th which was my actual 1yr cancer free anniversary but you know how life just gets in the way?    So let's just celebrate the month of August and I won't feel like the procrastinator I am.

I have actually wanted to tell this story for a while, I want every woman (and man) to know that cancer doesn't have to be THE END!   I am not saying that all cancer can be prevented or cured, what I am saying is do what you can to DETECT early and take care of yourself.

I have always been the type of girl who took her yearly exams seriously.  There were a few years in my late 30s where I was uninsured and I did my best to still get a regular exam.   I guess I always felt that if something is wrong let's find out now and fix it!  Don't get me wrong, I can stick my head in the sand with the best of them for some things (like paying bills) but I like my life and I am not ready to leave yet.

So, here's how it happened (as much as I can remember):
I remember joking (kinda) with my hubby that Aunt Flo seemed to be hanging around for 3 weeks out of the month...it's weird how you can get used to very annoying things if they don't come on all of a sudden.  This happened over about a year, it was a slow progression and it didn't cause a whole lot of alarms in my head.  I had always been very healthy and other than chronic back pain (a whole other story involving water skiing, or trying to) I was problem free!

So, I decided to mention this annoyance to my GYN when I went for my yearly and she was telling me about this procedure called an ablation they could do to "reset" me and hopefully fix the problem.  I was interested...I have never been a fan of elective procedures but if this can fix my problem why not? 

They had to do an ultrasound first to see if I was a good candidate for this ablation procedure.  I can remember the Dr. telling me, while the ultrasound was happening (not the most comfortable position to be in), that the texture of my endometrium looked "weird" (that's technical doctor lingo).  She had a concerned look but I just thought she was being over dramatic.  She told me she wanted to get in there and test some of the lining to see why it looked like that.

So, this meant the ablation was out for now but a D&C was in order and she could do that in her office...Um, NO!  I can handle a fair amount of pain but this didn't sound like something I wanted to try out while awake!  Sedation sounded so much better.  So, we scheduled the procedure which was going to kill 2 birds with one stone...it would re-set my system and she could take a sample of the endometrial lining to run tests on.

The procedure went well, I had an appointment set in 2 weeks to find out the results.  I was told, "if we find anything we will call you, otherwise just come see us in 2 weeks"...okay great!  The 2 weeks went by and no calls so I felt good going to the appointment...by myself!!
 
Okay so I could go on about how furious I was (and still am) at this doctors office for not calling me and hitting me with the Big C when I was by myself expecting just some routine test results but I won't! 
 
Back to the reason for this loooong post...I don't have too many soapboxes but this is definitely one. 

Go to your doctor!! 

Tell them the stupid, annoying things that you might think are nothing...let them decide.  Get blood tests, pap tests, mammograms and all the routine tests and exams you should be getting.  If you don't have insurance call the mammography place in your town and see if they have any programs that will help.  Call different GYNs and see if they can help.  I got my first mammogram free when I had no insurance because of some grant they had available.
 
I am so grateful that I spoke up.  My cancer was stage 1 very early detection, I had a full hysterectomy which was done robotically...so cool!  I didn't have to have any of my lymph nodes removed because it was caught so early it hadn't moved into other parts of my abdomen yet.  I was up walking the next morning after my surgery  with very little pain and home for a few weeks recovery.  Now, a year later I feel healthy and happy and ALIVE!!!
 
Please Take Care of Yourself!

4 comments:

  1. Hugs and congratulations! And a big thank you for sharing your story.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding me that I am probably overdue for some routine screening tests!

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    Replies
    1. Great to hear that, now make the appt! :O)

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