Thursday, February 28, 2013

Update - Long Overdue

Well, it's about time for an update as I need to get all of this off my chest and into my journal. For two weeks now I have been dealing with a lot of new information, have spent a lot of time wondering about my health, and some time recovering from an unexpected surgery while preparing to have another in just a few days. I have been very "hermit-like" on this blog about it while I tried to process it all and only confided in some of my family and a few friends from church.
Two weeks ago, I was sitting in bed watching TV while my little 6 year old slept soundly next to me (sometimes I bend the rules and let her snuggle up next to me to fall asleep). David was in the living room watching some show he likes on TV when he suddenly heard me screech in pain...severe pain. He knew it was serious when I quickly agreed to let him take me to the ER. I HATE going to the hospital. Our sweet neighbors agreed to come over and sit with the kids while we went knowing that it was already nearing 10:00pm and would likely be well into the morning hours when we arrived back home. Have I said just how much we love our neighbors?  So within 5 minutes of calling them, they were here and we were out the door. Five hours later we were back home with a diagnosis of kidney stones and an ovarian cyst on both ovaries. Four hours after that, I was back at the hospital ER and was being admitted this time for surgery. The pain was EXCRUCIATING...to the point where I had vomited every bit of food I had in me and had been dry heaving for hours on end. Anyways, I had the lithotripsy surgery with a ureteral stent placed for an obstructing kidney stone in the ureter and 2 in the kidney. I stayed over night on a pain pump and was released the next afternoon. Over the next 14 days I would be in pure misery from the stent that was in place. It was horrible! Luckily though, it was removed last week and I am now feeling much better...for the most part. The surgery wasn't a complete success and tonight I felt the one rogue stone start moving but I took my pain medicine and it went away relatively quickly. I am just praying it doesn't start again.

As for the ovarian cyst...it is actually a little more than that. It is a complex hemorrhagic mass on the left ovary, (and benign looking cysts on the right ovary). Upon researching this, I found out that this is the most painful type to have as it leaks blood into the abdominal cavity causing the intense pain. And the fact that it is complex and has a solid component to it means that it "could" be more. My OBGYN doctor quickly drew labs checking for ovarian cancer which all came back good. PRAISE! And then I was told that they are usually only high in disease that has spread (ie Stage 4). So, while we won't be 100% sure of what this complex mass truly is until it is removed, at least we know it's NOT the worst that it could be. And for that, I say PRAISE again!
So, what's next? Well, on Monday I will be going in for a total hysterectomy with removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. I have had 2.5 weeks to think about and try to process all of the pros and cons of having this extreme surgery, and have prayed for God to give me wisdom and clarity about it. I have also had my small group and family praying the same and I am so thankful for them. God has truly blessed me with an amazing support system.
So here are my reasons for moving forward:
1. I trust my doctor and she highly recommends this be done. My oncologist agrees.
2. With a personal history of breast cancer, I have a higher risk for ovarian cancer. Plus my grandmother and her sister (I think) both died of ovarian cancer, so there is also a family history.
3. I am currently on Tamoxifen which is a cancer pill that I am supposed to take for 10 years. I have been on it 3.5 already. This drug has the side effect of causing uterine cancer. Having the surgery will release me from having to take this drug and will make the chances of uterine cancer 0%.
4. We were told in January that it would be dangerous for me to get pregnant again so we decided that expanding our family in that way was just not a wise decision. So, from a childbearing point of view, those organs aren't needed.
5. My ovaries are already shut down from the Tamoxifen...meaning I am in a drug induced menopause. It sucks. Really, it does and there is no other way to say it. Ovarian cysts are formed when you ovulate...well I don't do that so this is not a typical cyst (which we already know) and there is no reason to leave the little suckers in there when they don't work and they are getting masses on them (they are on both ovaries).
6. Getting the ovaries out will put me in menopause for good but the symptoms should be the same as I have now (caused by the Tamoxifen) - hot flashes and insomnia being the worst.

So, if I had to sum up the past 2.5 weeks, I can do so in just a few words... IT'S BEEN A WHIRLWIND OF EMOTIONS AND PHYSICAL PAIN. Despite it all though, I have felt a peace that passes all understanding in regards to this ovarian thing. I am confident that I will come out of this with benign results, and if that is not the case, then I will move forward with treatments as I did with breast cancer. This is just another thorn in my flesh and something that Satan has intended for evil but that God will use for His glory. And really, that is all I desire...that God would increase and I would decrease. That He would get all the glory in all of this.

I will update again next week after I am home and healing up, and I will probably have David update right after surgery. Please pray for a safe surgery for me, but mostly for my sweet Chloe. She is my shadow and side kick. She wants to be with me all day every day - she loves school but loves it more on days when I volunteer in her class. She is just a mommy's girl and we have a special bond. I can't even put it into words but I often will pray that God will preserve this bond and that Chloe will always feel safe to tell me things and know that I am on her side. She had a very hard time when I was in the hospital having the kidney surgery and I just get really sad thinking about her being sad. She knows that she can come see me every day though and I have assured her that God is going to protect our hearts and help us to find joy even while I am in the hospital. And then my little man Brody. He tends to bottle his feelings up until he explodes (usually with disobedience and a bad attitude), so pray that his little heart will be protected and that he will feel comfort while I am away. I'm blessed that my parents are able to come and stay for 7 days to help us out so I know they will be a great asset to my kiddos while I am away.

Isaiah 40:11 - He takes care of his flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. He gently leads those that have little ones.

So glad to know that He promises to take care of my little lambs and lead me to do the same. Our God is such a personal God!!!