We were scared - I'll admit it. My first appointment with Dr. Ron Leuchter was in the Samuel Oschin Cancer Center at Cedar's Sinai in Los Angeles. Just walking through the door was like getting slapped in the face. Don't get me wrong, it's a gorgeous facility, beautiful marble floors, fish tanks, huge easy chairs with DVD players for treatments and snacks for patients and their care givers. Regardless of how nice it is, it's still a cancer treatment center and seeing all those people there was unnerving.
After meeting with Dr. Leuchter and his team it was re-affirmed that a laparascopic hysterectomy would be done and the date would be tentatively set at October 19th, barring any issues with the pre-operative workups. The first of those workups was a CT Scan but with contrast. I didn't go with Dena to this appointment, I didn't think I needed the support. I'm Dawn, I need no one. To drink the lovely liquid I had to sit in the chemotherapy area with the big easy chairs and fish tanks. I thought I was going to break down right there. This could be me in a couple months.
Despite the awful tasting drink before the scan, the scan was fairly easy except the emotional part of waiting. The waiting for the results now begins. We wait and see if there is cancer elsewhere in my torso - aka that the uterine cancer has spread. The scan was from my shoulders to my thighs - quite thorough.
Seven days later - the results are in - all good except an abnormality in the iliac crest, I'd have to have a CT Scan guided bone biopsy. I found this news out while in Anaheim. Trying to hold it in I drove home to tell Dena. I didn't want to tell her that I could have bone cancer over the phone.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
On August 5th, 2011 our world changed. I struggled with the question of whether to blog about it or not. On one hand I felt it would be cathartic to write it all down but on the other hand, writing it all down would make it real and I didn’t want it to be real.
Blogging about it or not; it is and was real. I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Only by the thoroughness of my gynecologist and the fact that I actually listened to what my body was telling me was the diagnosis made so early. The statistics are clear – most uterine cancer appears in post menopausal women – 95%. It is often diagnosed with Stage 1 as they tend to catch it early. 5% of pre menopausal women contract uterine cancer and it is often not found very early as the first symptom is spotting. Pre menopausal women tend to ignore that. I’m not particularly happy about being relatively unique and in the small percentile. The good news is that Stage 1 uterine cancer has a 95% survival rate.
Did you know that 1 in 3 women will have a hysterectomy in their lives? Those are high odds.
The cure for Uterine Cancer is a complete hysterectomy. Quite drastic but true. I was referred to Dr. Leuchter, a transplanted Canadian who is one of the top gynecological cancer surgeons in California. He's also top in his field in robotic surgery - a laparoscopic hysterectomy - my goal - as it is a shorter recovery time.
So the next few blogs may be mixed up in their timeline but bear with me.
Monday, October 10, 2011
I decided that since Geppetto is such high energy, he wants to play or walk all the time, I'd take him for a bike ride and give him a good run. Got the bike fixed up and away we went. At first, it was really hard. He's not a good walker, he's like a zig zag walker, likes to walk all over the place and smell everything, that's not a bad thing when you're on foot, it's not very good on a bike.
He's mostly looking for squirrels. And sometimes he just stops mid stride and does a full body shake. About 1/2 block into our ride he did that shake thing. I almost ran him over. Disaster averted, we tried again. Then we kind of got in a groove, he was getting used to staying on one side of the sidewalk, me on the other, then a goddamn squirrel ran across the sidewalk right in front of us. Geppetto went after it, the leash jerked the handlebars and flew out of my hand and the bike and I went flying the other way. As I was falling I was freaking out about Geppetto running across the road. Fortunately, the squirrel went up the parkway tree and Geppetto was only interested in that. I picked myself up and snagged the leash. Geppetto was none the worse for wear but I was a little flummoxed. I walked the bike home from there!
Even though we only made it about 4 blocks we were both exhausted after our ordeal. I suppose I accomplished what I set out to do - wear him out.