I woke up in the surgical recovery area to the phrase “No cancer!” repeated several times. I had to say it a few times, too, just to make it real to me. Although I had been told the risk was low, there was still doubt and it helped to have that cleared up right away.
I spent only one night in hospital and was sent home on December 30. I haven’t felt up to writing here, but anyone who follows my Twitter feed heard the good news the same day I did. 🙂
Recovery is going well. My surgery was laparoscopic and the doctor used one of those surgical robots, too. I got to see the robot before I went completely under in the OR.
I have five small incisions on my lower abdomen. The nurses had me up and walking about an hour after I was taken to my room, and I’ve continued taking walks every day. I seem to have developed a slight upper respiratory infection over the past two days, so I’m continuing to not push myself much, though.
The day I was discharged the doctor came to see me in the morning and show me photos of my insides before and after. What a mess I was inside! The right ovary and uterus were looking normal, but the left ovary was a freak show. There was extra tissue draping from the ovary (perhaps from previous cysts?). The big cyst had a rope of intestine around it, and had pushed my colon up against my abdominal wall. The doctor had to excise through adhesions so my colon could lay in its normal position again. It’s no wonder I had been having recurring infections in my gut with my digestive organs being misplaced in such an unnatural way.
Before I went into surgery I had the opportunity to tell the surgeon how much I wanted to be removed. I could have just the left ovary and fallopian tube removed, both ovaries and fallopian tubes removed, or get everything (including the uterus and cervix) taken out. The latter two options would plunge me immediately into full menopause, but I’ve been dealing with menopausal symptoms like hot flashes on and off for nearly a year already.
I decided to get everything taken out. It just gives me more peace of mind and removes the possibility that I could have my right ovary go wonky on me and develop any issues in my uterus, too. Both mom and sister have had uterine fibroids, and mom had a hysterectomy nearly 20 years ago because of them. I thought I could be at risk of developing the same problems, and now I don’t need to worry about it at all.
Menopause symptoms are at bay now because I was started on an estrogen patch the day after surgery. It seems to working just fine.
The outpouring of support I’ve received is overwhelming to me. I let my new friends and most of the acquaintances I’ve made since moving here know that I’ll be laying low for a while. Everyone has responded with offers of help and supplies. In a text conversation with one friend I said that I was amazed at how much help and support I’m being offered. He responded “That’s because you’re more loved than you know. :-)” It’s getting messages like this that make me more teary-eyed than the initial diagnosis.
Throughout this entire ordeal, though, there are two people who have really been my biggest support: my neighbor/friend S, and my boyfriend, M. Between the two of them I was transported to and from the hospital (which is an hour away from me), kept fed and hydrated, and helped with household chores.
I haven’t written much about M here, and that’s partly because our relationship is so new. But considering how new it is (only a little over two months of dating) he has been outstanding. If it weren’t for him staying with me for these days immediately after surgery, I’d be much more drained and tired.
It looks like 2016 is going to be a spectacular year for me. 🙂