I went to my two week check-up after the hysterectomy a few days ago. It's supposed to be a pretty uneventful appointment. Just checking in to make sure you are doing okay.
The doctor said the main reason they have the two week check-up is to remind patients to stay DOWN and not do anything and especially not lift anything. You feel pretty good after two weeks, he said. He's right, I do feel pretty good! A few aches and pains here and there - my abdomen is a little sore to the touch - but otherwise, I do feel way too good for just having had major surgery less than 3 weeks ago. This is, by far, the easiest surgery I've had in this cancer journey.
My doctor said that a lot of people feel that way. BUT, the way that my surgery was done means that I have stitches in the back of my vagina. "Stay Down!" he warned. Even though the stitches are well done - they could still FAIL if you overdo!
EEK! - when I heard that, I was a believer! No more contemplating vacuuming the floor or painting the ceiling. (I wasn't really going to paint the ceiling - I added that in for dramatic effect.)
As I sat perched up on the exam table (fully clothed this time - a rarity at the OB/GYN office), Dr. Brinkley rolled his chair over with his laptop so that he could show me the pathology reports from the surgery. This is where the "uneventful" appointment I was expecting took a turn.
Nothing was found on my ovaries or uterus or cervix. However, on one fallopian tube, they found a mass. They wouldn't categorize it as cancer - but it wasn't necessarily benign either. It was "atypical." It was still small but, whatever it was, was growing. We caught it! He said it was very VERY good that I had this done NOW! I had really pushed for it - to have this surgery done as soon as I could after chemo even though the doctors told me I could wait...wait a few months. I just *felt* that I needed to do it. I just *felt* that time was ticking. But, still, I never expected that anything would be found.
I don't know why. You would think that, by now, I'm used to hearing this kind of news. You would think that I'd be prepared for the words, "We found something..." Maybe you are never prepared. Or maybe I'm just an eternal optimist. Or maybe it's some crazy coping mechanism.
Nevertheless, I was stunned. I didn't expect this. In that moment, life felt so precarious to me. So fragile.
What else is in my body that shouldn't be? What else is there that I don't know?
I spent the next several days reeling from the news. I thought a lot about death. I started calculating years and making deals with God. If I could make it 10 more years - I'd be 52, my kids would almost be grown. It's still young to die, but it's better than now. What about 20 years - I'd be 62, my kids would be out of college and maybe even married or have children. Is that too much to hope for? Asking to live 30 more years seems selfish under the circumstances - I'd be 72. Could I have 30 more years in me?
Please God: 30 more years! Please God: 20 more years - I'll help old ladies across the street more. Please God: 10 more years! Just let me see my kids grow up! PLEASE!
Everyday, we take life for granted. It seems so easy. We go about our daily routines - we don't question that tomorrow will be there. But, when you are "sick," when something threatens your health - you start to wonder how much time you really have left in you. Sure, I look both ways when I cross the street, I wear my seat belt, I don't play with matches - none of that matters when your body decides to fail on you. There's nothing you can do.
I hope I have at least another 30 years in this body. But, I know that, at any minute, I could be sitting perched, once again, on an exam table hearing those same words that I dread, "We found something..."