Bye-bye, girl partsPosted: July 8, 2014 Filed under: Uncategorized 12 Comments
Yesterday I bid farewell to my uterus, cervix, ovaries and Fallopian tubes. They are gone, baby gone. Well, actually they’re in lab somewhere in the Medical Center, undergoing testing. Hopefully no evil this way comes.
The surgery was easier than I expected (although anything will be, compared to what I’ve endured in the past). As usual, the care was exceptional at The Methodist Hospital. Its slogan is “Leading Medicine,” and those folks practice what they preach.
I was on the labor & delivery floor, which was nice and quiet and had the added bonus of allowing me to peep at the newborns in the nursery as my IV pole and I walked laps around the floor.
One tiny complication (you didn’t really think I’d get through surgery without one, did you?!). Last night my blood pressure dropped and stayed low — 80s over 50s — all night. I must admit, I felt kinda puny. Watching those numbers hover so low as they checked me every two hours was a bit worrisome, but after two bags of IV fluid and a few more laps around the floor, it was back to normal this morning. I was back home barely 24 hours after checking in for surgery.
I’m feeling a bit smug, I must say, after the nurse told me another patient had the exact same surgery as I and she’s nowhere near ready to go home. She didn’t even want to get out of bed, while I was slipping on my flip-flops and packing up my bag to get outta there. To each his own.
I’m glad that you are home and feeling so well. Take care of yourself!
It comes as no surprise to me that you kicked ass at the hospital, since that seems to be your MO everywhere you go.
The other girl probably doesn’t work out and play tennis like you do. All that hard work pays off! So glad you got through it so well, and you won’t miss those parts one bit.
It’s cuz you’re in such great shape!!!! I noticed the exact same thing when I was in a few weeks ago. Some people like to hang around the hospital and get waited on, etc. I say no thanks to that. Your own bed will feel so good tonight. Glad you’re home and doing so well. Hopefully I’ll get released to drive tomorrow and can drive myself over for a visit. Till then, virtual hugs coming your way!
I hope they’re done removing stuff. I don’t think there’s much more they can take out of you!
I so admire your attitude. My husband Bruce Kramer reads your blog and I have been reading it as well. Wishing you a quick recovery with NO absolutely NO ill side affects.
I enjoy your blog and hope that you are feeling better. My 30 year old daughter was diagnosed while pregnant Feb/2013. Her cancer was estrogen receptive also. We keep asking about a hysterectomy and the Drs. keep saying she is too young. Did your Dr. urge you to have this done, and is the reason anything to do with changing to an aromatase med instead of tamoxifan? I appreciate any info on this.
Ann, I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s diagnosis. I am glad that her cancer was ER+ though because that makes it easier to treat. I suggest she get a second opinion about the hysterectomy–not because I assume she needs one, but because “you’re too young” is not a valid reason.
She and her doctor(s) should, in my opinion, make the hysterectomy decision or any adjunct treatment decision based on the characteristics of her particular cancer. Has she had any testing to determine more details about her cancer, such as the Oncotype? I would want to know more about it beyond DCIS, invasive, etc.
My docs mentioned hysterectomy as an option, but I made my decision to do it based less on my breast cancer (and possible recurrence) and more on my family history of ovarian cancer. I’m also well past childbearing, which your daughter may not be, and that is a factor as well.
If she is on tamoxifen, she is getting a similar benefit to a hysterectomy because the tamoxifen blocks the estrogen. Her body still produces estrogen, unlike after a hysterectomy that includes removing the ovaries, but the tamoxifen prevents it from being able to cause trouble.
Long answer, I know. Bottom line: if she’s on tamoxifen, I don’t think she needs to rush into a hysterectomy, especially if she wants to have more children. But, I’m not a doctor, and I definitely would have another conversation and/or get another opinion. If her doc is prickly about her getting another opinion, then he/she is not the doc for her.
If you have more questions or want more of my 2-cents’ worth, email me: nancyKhicks@gmail.com. She’s lucky to have you!
Thank you Nancy. She does not want more children and her cancer was invasive and in one lymph node.We live in Illinois and the onc. here did not want to give chemo during pregnany. So we went to MD Anderson for chemo during the pregnancy and finished chemo at home after delivery. Then we returned to Houston for radiation last fall. Both onc. here and there keep saying that there are too many side effects that will affect quality of life with being so very young. We heard about the recent oncology symposium in Chicago that has some women shutting down ovaries or having hysterectomies, in order to switch from tamoxifan to an aromatase drug because of increased effectiveness based on a recent study. We are going back to Houston in August for another ct scan on a lung nodule, and will be asking more about this again. We trust the MD Anderson doc more. It is all so confusing and overwhelming. She would rather have a poorer quality of life than not be here at all for her young children. I was curious if you were having the surgery in order to switch meds, but I understand about the ovarian family history. I appreciate all of the info in your message.
Ann – Nancy is napping now so I’ll jump in with my 2 cents. Balancing quality of life with minimizing the chance of recurrence is really difficult. We aren’t used to making such high stakes decisions about which risks are worth the cost and uncertain benefit. I know the ‘scorched earth’ approach of survival at all costs is appealing on one level, perhaps the doctors may be reluctant to recommend a treatment if the expected benefits are minimal for your daughter’s situation. I don’t know your situation at all, but I can say that based on our 4 years experience dealing with this crap that the most aggressive treatments haven’t been the right course for Nancy.
My advice is similar to Nancy’s – but I would add the point to insist that the docs quantify the risks of recurrence and the expected reduction in those risks for each treatment. Fairly specific numbers based on the characteristics of your daughter’s cancer should be available. It was our experience that oncologists are extremely reluctant to discuss specific numbers with their patients, so fortunately you can also get very good results yourself at CancerMath: http://www.lifemath.net/cancer/breastcancer/therapy/. I just don’t see how it’s possible to judge whether a particular treatment is worth it if you aren’t given the numbers.
To illustrate, treatments like chemotherapy and 5 years of tamoxifen generally reduce the risk of recurrence by about 50% each. If your starting baseline chance of recurrence is 50% you might eagerly take both treatments and get the risk down to 12.5%. But if your starting point is a 10% chance of recurrence you might quite reasonably decide that either or neither treatment is worth the debilitating side effects. Most patients are probably somewhere in between.
The icing on the cake is that, like with the initial diagnosis, you can do everything right or take all the most aggressive treatments and still get sick. It’s a random numbers game and it isn’t fair. And if you opt for less than the maximally aggressive approach you have to be prepared to cope with the regrets if the cancer does return. There’s just no easy way out.
I’m really sorry your family is dealing with this. I wish you the best as you cope with the situation.
Thank you so much Trevor. You bring up many valid thoughts. There is no easy way.out.
[…] my intellectual side knew it could not be, my psychological side was hopeful that my recent hysterectomy would free me from adjuvant therapy for stupid, dumb breast cancer. My 3 1/2 years of Tamoxifen […]