Sunday, January 8, 2012


In 5 days I'll be having a hysterectomy.  Even though it's an easy decision to make at this point.  It's been very sad for me and I feel a definite sense of loss.

Having a hysterectomy is the "smart" choice.  My risks of ovarian cancer and uterine cancer are much higher now.  High enough that it's cause for concern.  Both of these cancers are very dangerous and not usually detected until they are Stage III or Stage IV.  While not a huge risk for the normal woman, someone like me that has had breast cancer and renal cancer within one year has to be extra cautious.  (Really, at this point, I'm thinking any extra organs I can get rid of might be a good idea!)  If I didn't have a hysterectomy, I'd be looking at some really invasive tests on a yearly basis.  It seems easier to have surgery and not have to worry.

There's also the issue of birth control.  Since my breast cancer was progesterone/estrogen positive (which means it is fueled by these hormones), I can no longer take or use most birth controls.  I'm also allergic to latex which rules out most condoms.  Seeing as my husband would probably like to have sex with me again at some point, having a hysterectomy seems like a good idea.

I'm "lucky" in that my surgery will be done laparoscopically.  As my friend, Pam, says, "It's amazing what they can pull out of little holes these days..."  While it doesn't quite work that way, it's still amazing.  Three small incisions in the stomach area to snip things, and the uterus, ovaries, etc are taken out vaginally.  I'm really sort of horrified by that whole scenario and I'm really trying to not think about it.  Pam also said that I'll never be able to look that doctor in the eye again.  I think she's right.  How mortifying.

Again, trying to not think about it.

The operation itself doesn't scare me as much as after the operation.  Even though chemo basically threw me into menopause, I haven't really had to experience many of the nasty side effects.  Except for some fun night sweats, I've been mostly spared so far.  But, no more.  This will definitely do it.  As fun as the side effects of menopause sound (night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings), I'm not looking forward to it at all.  Because I had breast cancer, I can't take any replacement hormones to manage the side effects.  I'm on my own.  Eek! Please pray for my poor family and friends who have to put up with me during this time.

My Sweet Babies in 2006 - Where Does Time Go?
More than that though is the loss of "womanhood."  This really will be it.  There will be no more cute babies that look like me.  Though, I was told after my son was born (nearly 8 years ago) that I would be putting my life at risk to have more children - THIS is still just SO final.  My husband and I made the decision to not have more children, but I could always, technically, change my mind before if I wanted.  Even though I didn't really have a choice - now I will definitely have no choice in the matter.  That makes me profoundly sad.

I know it shouldn't.  And it's not like I really WANT another baby - though I do feel a twinge of jealously when I hold a baby.  Not to mention that every time the two children we DO have fight, my husband looks at me and says, "And YOU wanted ANOTHER one!!!"  Plus, I really value my sleep now that I'm old.  Despite all that, it's so hard to do something so final, so irreversible.

However, it will be SO nice to now have to worry about the monthly suffering.  Also, I can wear white pants without worry any time I want!  Not that I even own a pair of white pants - but I COULD!  I could buy ALL white pants if I wanted!  And white couches!  And white carpet!

It's little consolation though really.  I'd wear dark pants for the rest of my life to not be dealing with any of this!

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