Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Lady Parts

Thanks Dr. Walker!
See You on the News!
Today I saw my new oncologist. My other doctor, you may remember, took a job in Seattle to work on research leading to a cancer vaccine. So cool! I miss him already, he was so caring and wonderful. But I told him that I'll probably see his face on the news one day soon for curing cancer. He seemed to like that. I told him to make sure to mention my name since I was his favorite patient and everything. He humored me by saying, " Of course! " I like when people humor me.

Anyway, he's gone and I was assigned to a new doctor. His nurse is a lot of fun even if she did call me onery. I can't imagine what I did to deserve that. The new doctor seems really nice and funny. He was very patient and explained things really well. We spent a long time talking about the benefits (or not) of having a hysterectomy. It's a tough choice to make regardless.

One of the benefits, however, that he explained is that if I were for sure in menopause, I would be given a different more effective cancer drug after chemo is over. Currently, I would be put on a drug called Tamoxifen which is used for pre-menopausal women. This is something I would take for 5 years to prevent the spread of the cancer. The percentages are good with this medication but the medication I would be on were I in menopause is BETTER. That's certainly something to consider.

There are more reasons that I should seriously consider a hysterectomy.  Since I have breast cancer, I'm now at a higher risk for ovarian cancer.  Ovarian cancer is very hard to detect before Stage III so that's scary.  Also, with the syndrome they suspect I have (Cowden's), I'm at a higher risk for uterine cancer.  For as long as I do have my "lady parts," I would need to have something called a "uterine scrape" each year to check for uterine cancer.  Well, let me tell you, I don't want anything to do with anything called a "SCRAPE!!"

I'm finished having children (sadly) so it's not like I'm really USING those parts anymore.  There are, of course, birth control benefits to having a hysterectomy, that's for sure.  (Woot!)  But, it's still, regardless, a hard thing to face.  It means FOR SURE that there are no more babies in my future and that's sad.

It's not that I WANT anymore babies (and I was told that, for my health, I should NOT get pregnant again), I don't really.  I'm old now and I value sleep more than cute babies.  But, it's just so final.  So...no going back!  No more cute kids that look like me and are geniuses like me (I may have embellished that part a bit).

I'm not Mormon, but I remember reading once that Mormons often have large families because they believe there is a "pre-existence."  They believe that there are souls waiting to be born, waiting in heaven to join their family.  In a weird way, I get that.  I'm eternally grateful for the two children that I have, I love them to the ends of the earth.  But...sometimes, I feel like something is missing.  Like there should be one more carseat in the back of my car - like someone got left behind.  It's a really hard feeling to shake.  I think I should have had one more.  I wish I could have.

Besides that, having a hysterectomy puts me into instant menopause.  Well, that doesn't sound fun at all.  The chemo was supposed to throw me into menopause (and still may) but it hasn't happened that way - my body has other ideas and, apparently, likes to keep me guessing.  It's super "fun."  I'm not sure, though, if I'm ready to be menopausal.  That just seems so OLD - so grandmotherly.

I think, though, that it would be in my best interest to have it done.  Sometimes peace of mind is worth it.  Plus, I'll do anything to avoid something called a "uterine scrape!" Eek!!


  1. I'm not sure that if you take it out, if it can be called meno"pause". I think that would be meno"brought to a shrieking halt".

    I've thought about it, and while I do have medical reasons that make it a viable choice, they aren't quite as compelling as yours.

  2. Maybe you could a big carseat in the back and have Greg sit in it? That might help. Photos of that would be good too.

  3. I like the idea of Greg in a carseat!

    But seriously, folks...all my pre-surgery radiation pretty well zapped my reproductive system, and as far as I can tell, put me into early menopause. I haven't struggled too much with bad symptoms, and my doc told me that sometimes this kind of induced menopause is a little easier on patients than it is on people who get there the traditional way. So you might find that it's not too rough. Still...not an easy choice, I understand. We most definitely weren't planning for more kids, but once the option was gone, I had a little mourning period. I think it's hard to have the choice taken away from you - just one more thing that cancer has stolen. But think of it this way: you want to be around for the kids you DO have for as long as possible.

    Huge hugs.

  4. ((hugs)) Laura, I wanted another baby, too, and that choice was taken from me in a very different way... but I understand the hurt and that feeling that something (someone) is missing. I think it's a feeling that will pass, but I've had it for 4 years now. ((hugs))