Jul 27, 2010 - 3:10 am
I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to respond to my posts about my newly diagnosed uterine cancer. It meant a lot to me that you shared your stories and messages of hope, health, and healing. I hope that some day after my surgery and healing are complete that I will be able to support others with the same needs. Right now, we are getting ready to go on a trip that we had planned (my surgery is not until August 20 and I feel absolutely fine, so there's no point in staying home!) so time is unfortunately very short to reply to posts.
Anyhow, I have been feeling so sad and uncomfortable about having my ovaries taken out if they are healthy. I have read that once the uterus affected by cancer and the Fallopian tubes are removed that the risk of ovarian cancer actually decreases by 40% (we actually have a miniscule chance of getting ovarian cancer with or without uterine cancer anyhow.) I have no history of ovarian cancer on either side of my family. Also, without ovaries, our risk of heart disease increases sevenfold (I do have heart disease on my Mom's side of the family and my maternal grandfather died of it), the risk of osteoporosis and Alzheimer's Disease is also much greater and the overall mortality rate goes up astronomically. Of course, this is not to discount the immediate symptoms such as lack of libido, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, mood swings, depression, etc. that taking the ovaries creates. Of course, everyone reacts very differently, but I still feel a high level of discomfort.
When I met with the gynechologic oncologist she and her assistant thought I was a hysterical woman (who happens to have a college degree!) who was just a worrywort when I brought up concerns about how the surgery would affect my quality of life (of course, I know that the uterus, which has the cancer in an early stage, and the cervix must definitely be removed.) They thought I was just worrying about getting old, but all I want is a good quality of life and to continue what I can do now. I felt very insulted, especially since this came from other women (it was almost similar to a male doctor telling me eons ago that menstrual cramps were all in my head!) They wanted me to seek counseling to accept this loss of all my body parts and they never did suggest any surgical alternatives that I might be more comfortable with. Iwas also not happy that they said "absolutely not" when I brought up using my bioidentical hormone therapy afterwards (nor did they ever tell me that my cancer cells would be tested for estrogen recepitivity and a decision about HRT could be made then, which I couldn't believe.)
Thinking about it more, I bet that most of their uterine cancer patients are much older with many more health problems and just do what the doctor tells them to (the preop people said I was one of the healthiest patients they had ever met with---I am very active and take no medications except for my bioidentical hormones.)
As I sat there in that office, I thought about how feeble my mother was in the last 20 years of her life and how many bones she broke and how desperately unhappy she was about the quality of her life and health (she did not have a hysterectomy, but had COPD and many other health problems, including heart disease.) I absolutely don't want to become that woman, but I want to beat my cancer too.
Tomorrow morning I will be speaking to a counselor from the HERS Foundation about this concern. They believe that my ovaries could be left intact and that the para aortic lymph nodes should not be removed.
Any thoughts? Thank you so much once again.