I am okay for a minute and the next just crushed by the waves of grief. We all know there are stages of grief. I seem to be stuck in the angry stage.
It was a cyclone of active treatment and doctor appointments last year and the early part of this year. After fighting so hard to accept all the chemo, surgeries, reconstruction and radiation, I thought I would finally get that much-needed break to just heal. My body had a different plan.
I was medically induced into menopause on 2/14/17 at 40 years old. I have been crying out in anguish, “Why, body, have you betrayed me again?” Since my body just could not handle the post cancer treatment protocol for pre and post menopausal women, it was time to take drastic measures.
I have been doing research since the genetic testing I received pre-chemo and discovered I am at high risk for ovarian, cervical, uterine cancer and endometriosis. Now studies have shown there is a correlation between breast and ovarian cancer. My mother had ovarian cancer when she was 28 years old and pregnant with me. My maternal grandmother had cervical cancer at 45 years old. Then my maternal aunt had breast cancer at 55 years old. It’s chilling to see the chart my genetic counselor drew for me. Plus, due to the type of breast cancer I had, it seems I have endocrine resistance. About 10% of breast cancers are invasive lobular. Of course, I would get the one that is uncommon. I see now it was just a matter of time before some sort of cancer mutated.
Due to that rich genetic history, my second opinion oncologist and my gynecologist told me it I needed to not just have a hysterectomy (removal of uterus) but needed to have my cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries removed. The procedure is called total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. All this translates into not going to be able to have a (human) child.
So, it’s been increasingly difficult to accept all that has been unnaturally forced in and out my body. Here is my treatment timeline:
October 2015 thru February 2016
16 rounds of chemo
May 2016 thru July 2016
33 radiation treatments
removal of port
August 2016 thru January 2017
allergic reactions to Tamoxifen, Evista, Lupron Injections
radical hysterectomy and salpingo oopherectomy (menopause 11-15 years ahead of schedule)
removal of uterus
removal of cervix
removal of fallopian tubes
removal of ovaries
Plus, worked full-time because I am a single girl in the big city.
I stress all of this because this cancer ride is not over. It has taken eight months to heal just from the Feb surgeries. I’m still healing from all the damage of cancer. Often family and friends get tired of hearing me talk about cancer. I can’t NOT talk about it because the fear of recurrance, no cure and possibilty of a whole different type of cancer weighs on me every single day.
Each day is a miracle which is why I must share my story.
Until next time!