Vaginal Surgery? And Radiation question related
I am 63 now.
In 2017 I was diagnosed with Endometrial Adenocarcinoma. I had been spotting and bleeding for quite a while prior to discovering this news, and appeared, even at sixty, to have period aches and symptoms. My life marched on, as I was overseas caring for my Mum, so my health, while in need of attention, as a good old Irish woman I plodded on.
When I went for a very needed physical, I told my GP about my symptoms........as she walked out the door after the physical and said, "Is there anything else you need to share with me about your health." It was then I remembered the spotting, and clotting. And to her shock, sat down to inform me of the abnormality of that symptom. This led to my seeing a Gyno, who after an ultrasound declared that the lining of my uterus was at 20, as opposed to a normal much lower range for my age. She didn't pull any punches, and insisted I needed a biopsy. I almost refused, because I was about to move overseas to be with my family.
A friend encouraged me to do the biopsy, which I dreaded, as I knew there would be no sedation or anesthetic for the procedure. I dreaded it, but went, and it was not bad at all. In fact, it was very tolerable. Some days later, I received a call from my Gyno, it was cancer. This led to a consult with the best Gyno Oncologist in the field in my area. I went through Robotic surgery, total hysterecomy on Nov 15, 2017. God brought me through that, and I awaited the pathology report. It was a stage 1, and the whole area around the surgery area came back as totally clean. No lymph nodes removed showed any spread. My recovering was very good.
Since then I have had 3-6 month checkups. All has been clear. But, this last month, they discovered a small lesion in my vagina, a ways down from the vaginal cuff. I went through another biopsy, and sure enough, after waiting 2 weeks for the results, it is the same type of cancer, and still considered a Stage i recurrence. I had a PETscan, waited for the results for just a day, and it came back no spread. Two of my lymph nodes on the left side under my jaw however are inflamed, and being questioned mainly for infection. I have had sinus problems, thick drainage at times and a bad taste in my mouth in the mornings. I have been to an ENT a couple of months ago, and he gave me the all clear, except he felt I may have a deep sinus infection. The scope down into my throat, to my voicebox showed nothing wrong. He said he didn't see any ENT problems. I will see another ENT in the following weeks.
My Oncologist decided against any surgery. My spot, now called a tumor, is in the vagina near my bladder. If he did surgery it would mean the removel of my bladder and bowel. Does anyone know why others receive surgery with vaginal cancer tumors and don't have their organs removed?
The concern is due to the fact that the tumor is down from the vaginal cuff.......not the normal place to go. I think even my Oncologist is somewhat surprised since I was all clear at surgery. I have never had any other tests run for this type of cancer after surgery, received no treatment etc. I did have a CT scan over a year ago to make sure I was not someone who would get Anal/Colon cancer. This was due to the fact that last year my Dad was diagnosed with stage 4 anal cancer. My test came back clear, and I was not genetically affected by the cancer I had surgery for. I had the test done to confirm this, so that my brother and my daughter would know to be attentive to their health, as Endo Adeno can spread to the colon and of course the female organs.
Sorry this is long, but I wanted to share my history of successful surgery and recovery.
Now I am facing what my Oncologist feels is the best plan. That being 25 rounds of pelvic radiation. The Radiologist also suggested Brachetherapy, but I am questioning that second treatment, not because I am unwilling, but because I do not want to take on unnecessary radiation if it is not truly needed.
Questions: Why would vaginal surgery be out, and what has been your experience in relation to this, if you have been faced with a similar situation?
I was told about the side affects of Radiation, both now, and in the future, and many things that can go wrong with the side affects becoming bad later. What have you done to build up your immune system, and not only prepare for the radiation, but also for future days? I have been on probiotics anyway for some weeks, before I knew the news, also natural things such as vitamin D for the bones. Does anyone have more suggestions for how they made it through this, especially like me if they had a low immune system going into the treatment. This is due to losing my two parents overseas in the last three years and my own surgery.
If you are stage 1, has anyone NOT done suggested Brachetherapy , but obviously done the other radiation? My Oncologist never mentioned Brachetherapy to me, so I will have to discuss this with him, prior to that time the Radiologist wants to do ut. I guess I would want to know if it should have been done after my surgery, rather than playing catchup now when I have a recurrence of the disease?
After your total hysterectomy, did anyone have a PETscan on your first 3 month checkup or thereafter? Or are only pelvic and pap normal for consistent follow-up with no blood tests or scan?
I am sorry this is long, but I know there is a wealth of knowledge out there from cancer survivors, and while I was told there is a 80-90% cure rate on my situation, I want to make sure I am not adding further damage to my body down the road, at least unnecesary ones.
God has been so good to me. He is my strength. I pray you are all knowing His peace today.
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