I met with my OB/GYN yesterday. It was the first time I’ve seen her since she ordered my annual mammogram last year. My oncologist was wonderful at keeping her in the loop and sending her all of my test results so she knew about my breast cancer.
I expressed my concern that I still haven’t had a menstrual cycle since my very first chemo treatment in June, and my last chemo was on September 21. She said that depending on the chemo treatment you get, it can make your periods stop – sometimes for a few months, sometimes a year, and in some cases – indefinitely.
I discussed my symptoms over the summer – the extreme hot flashes, mood swings, no menstrual cycle, weight gain even though I wasn’t really able to eat much and she said it seems as if the chemo put me in an early menopause – it could be temporary or it could be permanent. Stupid chemo.
As I sat there talking to her, I was just stuck. Like really, chemo … what else? I was sick all the time, lost my hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, my immune system was shot, mouth sores, fatigue, nausea, “chemo brain,” weight gain, plantar fasciitis, and now early menopause. (insert loud sigh here)
I’ve been done with chemo for over four months and I’m still trying to get my body back “normal.” I mean, I know I’m never going to be normal – like how I used to be – but I’d like to at least find my new normal without something else random popping up and it being traced back to the chemo.
With all this technology and all of these inventions … you’d think that by now someone could come up with a better treatment than chemo. I am happy to be alive … BLESSED …. but having the equivalent of an atomic bomb pumped through my veins for 5 months that still wreaks havoc on my body … I just wish we could do better so other people don’t have to suffer through all of this pain.
But, I guess we all wish that. And somewhere in the world there are a bunch of very smart people who ARE working on a better treatment (I can only pray that I see it in my lifetime)!
But anyway, we discussed my BRCA 1 positive results. We scheduled a follow-up appointment for March 1st to discuss if I want to have an oophorectomy, which is a surgery that would only remove my ovaries – not very invasive and only 1-2 weeks of recovery, or having a hysterectomy which removes my ovaries and uterus and is about a 4-week recovery period and more painful.
I don’t want any more children and I don’t want to get cancer again (if I can avoid it), so I’m planning to have the hysterectomy. Other than the actual surgery and the pain (because I’m weak and I can’t stand it), I don’t necessarily mind having a hysterectomy. I minded the mastectomy greatly – my breasts are on the outside of my body – but my insides? Not so much. Due to some previous medical issues, I would be an extremely high risk pregnancy, so I decided a long time ago that I wouldn’t be having any more kids – it was HORRIBLE dating and men would ask if I wanted more kids and I’d say “NO!” but not go into details (I did when I was in a long-term relationship), but I always sounded so mean and selfish – now, I have to have a hysterectomy because I don’t want cancer again … that will be easy to explain away than the other stuff.
I’m only 36 and single, so I go back and forth. But Aiden will be 12 next month and honestly, I love my son to death, but I have sacrificed enough and do not want to start all over again … I guess I do sound selfish, but I’m unapologetic. I’ve sacrificed. My body has gone through hell. I’ve gone through hell. I want to LIVE … so since I took a test and got results that I am a high risk of ovarian cancer, it’s only smart to remove them … but while they’re there, they may as well take out other things I don’t need that could give me cancer again.
Here I go … making decisions based on science and not actual emotion and feelings. When I decided to get my mastectomy I said: I have breast cancer, so if the BRCA tests come back positive – I’ll have a mastectomy; if it’s negative – I’ll have a lumpectomy. The end. I didn’t put any more thought into it. Now, that it’s all said and done, I’m struggling with dealing with the emotional side of that decision. I feel like the decision to have a hysterectomy should be a more difficult decision to make … but at this time, I don’t really feel like it is. I wonder if I go through with it … will I regret my decision later on?