If you’ve followed me on Facebook and Twitter, you already know I survived my surgery on January 24th and have been home recovering. That meant resting—and lots of it—and not sitting at my computer composing blog posts. So I’ve been reading a lot and napping and talking to friends… oh, and plotting out new books, because that’s what my brain likes to do best when it has lots of down time.
I didn’t say much about why I needed surgery in my earlier posts because everything happened fast, with lots of questions still to be answered by the surgery itself. Now I have all the answers, so don’t mind sharing.
Two days after Christmas, my gynecologist called to tell me I had endometrial cancer.
Sometimes our bodies cook up nasty surprises like that.
I’m a firm believer in preventative medicine. My first husband was a physician. He was not a great husband, but he was one hell of a doctor and it was from him I learned the greatest of all medical truths: People wait too long. They wait too long before they realize their symptoms are meaningful. They wait too long before seeing a professional who can figure out what those symptoms might mean. They call the doctor or go to the emergency room in the middle of the night when they can’t stand it anymore, instead of taking action hours or days or weeks earlier. Often by the time people act on what’s happening with their bodies, it’s too late. My ex would cry sometimes when he told me about patients he could not save, but who’d revealed to him they’d known about their symptoms for months or years, they just hadn’t done anything because they’d hoped or prayed the problem would pass. They couldn’t afford office visits or tests, they said, or they didn’t want to take time away from work.
Not following up on what their bodies were telling them cost more in the long run.
That’s why I visit my doctors even though it costs me money I’d rather not spend and when I’d really rather be writing than waiting in an examining room. That was why I saw my gynecologist when my symptoms persisted. And that was why I scheduled the annoying tests she wanted and I didn’t think were necessary. Those tests were how she found the cancer hiding in my uterus.
So if you have bothersome symptoms, get them checked out. Okay?
We found my disease early. My doctor told me that. So did the gynecologic oncologist/surgeon I saw a week later. But early or not, she knew, he knew, and so did I that I was looking at a complete hysterectomy. There was never any other choice. The best chance of getting rid of cancer is to cut it out, which meant my uterus and everything attached to it.
That’s why in January I was so busy everywhere but here. CAT scans, lab work, pre-admission testing to clear me for surgery, and lots of other arrangements ate up my time. I never stopped writing, though I couldn’t quite get myself into the right frame of mind for Vorgell and Madd’s new book. So I poured myself into writing an expanded version of my BDSM story, “Uncool”, and set that up for posting here on the blog. Writing that story helped me blot out the nervousness.
Cancer is seriously scary stuff. Usually research can ease my fears, but research about cancer just raises armies of scary. Still, I knew my odds were good. It was early. But early doesn’t necessarily mean the cells hadn’t spread and surgery could still reveal that it had. There was no way to know for sure until I was opened up for a good look.
So now I can tell you: the cancer hadn’t spread. The surgeon told me when I came out of anesthesia he thought he’d gotten it all, that the cancer was confined to the uterus. We had to wait only on Pathology to confirm his thoughts. Last week he called and told me I was, as far as is medically determinable, cancer free.
They’re so sure they got it all—because it really was early—I don’t even have to do chemo or radiation. I’m cured.
Everything happened very fast and I’m glad it’s over. I told my body not to ever do that to me again. Not that it ever listens.
What I’m doing now is what anyone who has had major abdominal surgery must do. I rest. I eat sensibly. I wait for my body to heal itself. It’s doing a great job so far. My pain is minor and I no longer need narcotic pain meds. Believe me, I’m glad to be clear headed again! For now, though, I tire easily and take lots of naps.
And I’m back at my computer again and ready to write about things that are far more fun! Come on now... you didn’t think you’d get rid of me THAT easily, did you? :)