Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thank You, May I Have Another

Today I had an appointment with the OB who delivered our twins (as well as removed a humungo fibroid first so that Cheryl could carry those twins). His focus is generally fertility but we trust him and he’s a crack surgeon. He’s conducted over 600 procedures since our last visit.

After much discussion and an in depth exam, we decided on a hysterectomy in November. The Zoladex may shrink the fibroid up to 20% but once I go off the shots, it will likely grow larger than it was originally. And if I just have the fibroid removed, my uterus will grow more to replace it! According to the doctor, if you do not want to have babies, there is no reason to hold onto your uterus. And I feel the fibroid's presence now, every moment. The doctor said at this size it's like being 3 months pregnant. My friends are probably tired of me making pee stops every time we go out. So any hesitance I should have at this point would be more about the surgery itself and recovery.

Not so with the ovaries. Gotta keep them. I don’t really want these bruises once a month for the next five years, but looks like I have no choice.

The OB said we really shouldn’t remove my ovaries unless I have the gene that indicated risk. I don’t. And I need them even after menopause, to keep my bones strong, my heart healthy, my libido cooking and my emotions stable.

In some ways, this next surgery is the least of my worries. The doctor said that after my next shot my hormones will have hit rock bottom and that some women hate it so much they don’t want to keep it up. He’s a real ray of sunshine that guy, but he’s honest and I like to know worst case scenarios.

Today I feel pretty good, bones a little achy, but I'm happy to be alive. What a year this has turned out to be. So many famous people leaving this world that the snarkier blogs are calling it The Summer of Death. The healthcare debate is the latest subject to reinforce this country’s divides. Young soldiers are still giving their lives every week in a far away country.

We’re all tested along the way. My first was being gay. Can’t say I rode that one out of the gate very smoothly. When Cheryl came along, I showed marginal improvements. By the time we had kids, I was reasonably equipped to be a normal human being. And now cancer has awarded a badge of authority I probably don’t deserve. I have received so many cards and well-wishes from people I had no idea even thought about me anymore. It’s really amazing. I hate to admit it, but I may have finally grown up.

I now believe that a life fully lived is our shot at triumph over tragedy. No matter what portion has been taken from you, you must not hide. You must go out and live it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Estrogen! The Musical

So, I’ve been on the Tamoxifen for a few weeks now and am starting to see the effects. Headaches aren’t that bad but I am a little weepy. It’s as if a yearning John Barry soundtrack is playing in the background. Anything will set me off. Oliver caught a cicada today and tortured it. Waaaaaa! Kids pick up that playdough, or I'll, I'll, waaaaa!

Also, my fibroid is beginning to radiate a constant pain now. A child’s elbow, a dog’s paw—it feels like a punch in the gut every time I get poked in the abdomen. My oncologist told me today that my fibroid is only a centimeter smaller than my uterus and sitting on top of it, so I should probably consider surgery. The Zoladex shot I got today might lessen that but I wont see any results for a while.

I thought the Zoladex shot was going to be a quick shot in the butt or arm. But it is more like the core biopsies in that they lay you back, numb you up with Lidocane before they use the “big ass needle,” as my nurse called it. The difference is it goes in the belly instead of the boob. Ouch. Once a month. Sigh. At least it’s not chemo, right?

Anyway, I walked out of the cancer center, tears streaming down my face, looking like I just got a fatal diagnosis. What an idiot. Suppose it’s kind of good to cry sometimes; it flushes the system. Plus I’m not just crying over sad things, but good things too. (The hibiscus blossomed again, waaaaa!) It’s weird. I never cried a ton before. It’s like the lady parts are going out with as much drama as possible.

According to the onco, it’s really going to kick in now with the shots. Hot flashes apparently.

Maybe I can keep the family warm this winter and we'll save on energy bills.