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Seeking advice about my symptoms

DrMary's picture
DrMary
Posts: 522
Joined: Nov 2010

I had joined CSN as a caregiver but am looking for advice about my own issues - I have been having a pink discharge between periods and sometimes get cramps that spread down my legs, which are very similar to what I used to get during bad periods (which I rarely have, as I'm on the pill).

I had thought this was a manifestation of being around my 2 menstruating daughters, as the cramps and discharge often coincided with their periods, but I'm not so sure any more. I saw a new OB-Gyn (I've been out of the country for a while and so had to start with a new doctor when I returned, as the old one couldn't see me for months) and he suggested I try switching pill formulations. 2 months later, and I still have the same symptoms.

I made one appointment to go back and check, but that was when my husband's cancer treatment put him in the hospital and I had to cancel. I'm working on rescheduling, but with his appointments and my upcoming return to work, it's hard.

Questions: Am I just panicking - are these normal signs of premenopause (I'm 51)? Should drop everything and take any appointment I can get, or can I wait a few more weeks until my husband's treatment is over? Should I go in and insist on tests? Which ones? My PAP smear came back normal (a relief, since his cancer was HPV-16) and the doctor did not feel anything suspicious on my uterus or ovaries. He did not seem concerned about the bleeding but wanted me to come back if it continued.

I really don't want to deal with this now, but I don't want to put it off either.

Thanks!

nempark
Posts: 683
Joined: Apr 2010

Should I drop everything and take any appointment I can get? This is your question and answer. I was delaying when I had my symptoms and my Doc said my spotting was due to the fibroids I had. When I got tired of the spotting I went to her and told her that I was tired of it and I want something done. She did a biopsy right there and then she said to me "Oh this dosen't look good" Two days later her telephone call changed my life forever. Endometrial cancer (MMMT a rare cancer. Please, I know how difficult it it when you have a million other responsibilities, but you cannot take care of them unless you are healthy. Some cancers have no symptoms. I was walking around and having a really good time and did not know that I had a horrible disease inside of me. I am 61 and I am now one year in remission. Please drop everything and take care of yourself. It is better to be safe than sorry. I hope your husband is getting better and God bless your girls. June.

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

Like June said, go now to see what is causing the spotting. Endometrial cancer is slow growing. I had spotting and bleeding for years. Thought it was just something that women had. Finally went for help. Stage IIIC. Not to scare you. Just to get you to check it out. If you catch this in the early stages the cure rate (yes they do talk about cures!!!) is high. Even in the stage that I had there is a lot of hope. And read the posts on this site. Many of these gals have been going for treatment and are still living active lives.

Encouraging you strongly to go to a doctor soon. Can't hurt. I hope is is nothing. Better to find out for sure.

MoeKay
Posts: 349
Joined: Feb 2004

I was 51 and had spotting between menstrual periods. I had no other symptoms. I suspected that I might be starting menopause, as did my gynecologist. However, she said just to be sure I should be tested. I had a pelvic and abdominal ultrasound, which showed a possible fibroid. Then the gyn did an in-office endometrial biopsy which diagnosed endometrial cancer. I then had my surgery by a gynecologic oncologist. I ignored the spotting for a number of months thinking it was just the onset of menopause, and my cancer ended up penetrating 80% of the thickness of my myometrium or uterine muscle wall. Incidentally, I never had a fibroid at all, but what was showing up on the ultrasound as a possible fibroid was the major site of my approximately 4 cm. tumor.

Based on my own experience, I would highly recommend that you see a gynecologist as soon as possible. Better to be safe than sorry.

Best of luck to you.

MoeKay

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010

Your wondering if you should go NOW...by all means. I had spotting as you for 4 months and knew I was seeing my OB at annual appt. When I mentioned to him about my symptoms, he told me "I have no idea what it is, but lets get you over to other side of office for vaginal ultrasound. I don't want you coming back in 6 months with same symptoms as it could be worse". I tell you this doctor saved my life as many docs just overlook it as something else and don't even bother to test.

Your life is valuable and all it takes is one appt to clarify in your mind what it might be.

Good luck!
Jan

DrMary's picture
DrMary
Posts: 522
Joined: Nov 2010

Ok, I'm going back to the OB-Gyn to tell him I'm still having bleeding and cramps - what should I expect for a next step? I've been reading various stories and it seems that there are no certain ways to rule out cancer, short of surgery. It sounded like he planned to do a uterine swab next, but I'm seeing on these boards instances where the swab missed the cancer.

One reason he and I were not concerned is that, except for the 2 years or so surrounding each of my pregnancies, I've been on the pill since I was 17. Therefore, I'm worried that we will both see a negative result and not look further. I don't want to find out that I have cancer, but right now, it would be better to find it sooner than later (and I'm willing to go through a lot to be certain I don't).

Thanks,

Mary

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 2064
Joined: Nov 2009

Mary,

I am glad you made the appointment. My theory is that if you are questioning yourself, you must have an inner feeling. Go with that instinct at least to ease your mind.

I had normal PAPs, a normal transvaginal ultrasound, and a laparascopy which only showed endometriosis, however, it wasn't until after my hysterectomy that they found cancer and I had to have another surgery for staging.

Have them at least do a CA125 (although no reliable for many, it could be an indicator) and have a CT scan. You can get a picture of whats going on which may prevent having surgery.

My best to you.

Kathy

hope_for_all
Posts: 5
Joined: Dec 2010

Ask your doctor if a hysteroscopy is an option. My mom had this done and it was how we leaerned she had Endometrial Cancer. Before that she had an endometrial biopsy that came back benign. They use a camera, go in through the vagina so there are no incisions, and remove the fibroids or growths. They can test the tissue right then and there so you have an indication of what you're dealing with. They do put you under, but my mom did very well with it, considering she didn't do so well after her hysterectomy from the anesthesia.

It wouldn't hurt to ask! I hope it all comes back benign so you can rest easy with it. And if you do a hysteroscopy and it comes back benign, then at least by removing the fibroids that could help with the bleeding.

Please update with what you decide to do and good luck!

DrMary's picture
DrMary
Posts: 522
Joined: Nov 2010

Thanks for the advice about the hysteroscopy - when I saw the doctor last, I told him about my husband's cancer and said I was willing to be aggressive about testing to put my own mind at ease. He seemed to get this, but felt it was worth a trial of US-made birth control pills to make sure my symptoms were not just faulty batches. I'll see what he says but will suggest that I'd like to follow up with the hysteroscopy regardless.

Actually, other than not wanting to take out body parts that have served me so well, I don't have any fears of a hysterectomy, if that is necessary. I had an ovarian cyst when I was 14 and still have a scar that runs pubic bone to naval. Another operation can't possibly make it look worse. . .

I'll update when I get news - thanks for the help. For now, back to being a caregiver. . .

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