Monday, February 29, 2016

About Mutant - a plan is afoot!

Last Thursday I had my first appointment with my gyn-oncologist, Dr. Bradford. I was hoping to learn more about the Mutant (someone suggested I name the cancer, and Mutant seemed as good a name as any) and what the plan was to get rid of it.  During an internal examination, the Mutant started bleeding profusely.  I had been bleeding to some extent, daily, for two weeks and without realizing it, I had also having symptoms of anemia;  fatigue, weakness, dizziness, dropping blood pressure, etc. Dr. Bradford decided to admit me into the hospital to watch the bleeding, because my blood count was already low and the bleeding would make it worse. I think she was also concerned that I might hemorrhage.  I was also experiencing some pain, which was fairly intense. I stayed in the hospital overnight, and by late the next afternoon the bleeding had subsided to spotting and I was released.

The initial biopsy had indicated that Mutant was low-grade, which indicates that it is unlikely to spread. But when Dr. Bradford did the examination, she could see that it had made some significant changes since the biopsy two weeks before, and that it may involve my cervix as well. I had an MRI done while I was in the hospital and it showed that the uterine cancer was stage two, which essentially means it has spread to my cervix, but from what they can tell, not beyond.

My next appointment with Dr. Bradford will be to discuss treatment options.  I really like Dr. Bradford. She is sweet and compassionate, and smart.  I felt taken care of, which is important for me, because I have a tendency to slip into caregiver mode at the slightest sign of need.  Especially in times of stress.

Every day when Grace messages me and asks "How are you?" I have to fight the immediate temptation to divert her attention by answering, "I'm fine, how are YOU?" I'm learning to answer honestly, and to trust her ability and willingness to struggle though this along with me. That applies to most of my loved ones, even Brian.

The focus for now is to rest and do whatever I can to keep from bleeding again.  With rest and gentle activity I seem to be doing okay.  I've been thinking of the bleeding as menstrual bleeding, which is inconvenient but not too troublesome. In fact, what is happening is that Mutant is bleeding, the miserable sop, and that is not a good thing, especially when it goes on for weeks.  Oops.

One of the things that I have to get used to is the idea of pain as a signal that something is dangerously wrong. I live with chronic pain, which means I have conditioned myself not to react to it. If my IC bladder pain is intense, it may need to be coped with, but it isn't dangerous.  When Mutant hurts, even a bit, it's a different thing altogether.

I'm still not sure how I am doing.  I find myself wanting to blurt out, "I have cancer!" at random times. Like when a waitress asks if I want dessert.  Or a telemarketer offers me a free Bahamian cruise.  Brian asked me to do his laundry the day after we found out, and I whined at him, "Really? I have CANCER and you want me to do your LAUNDRY?!" He grinned at me and said, "Yup." And then we laughed. Ah, good times.

Of course I am afraid.  I read that radiation treatments on the pelvic area can burn the lining of the bladder. I was, like, "Ahhhhhhh!" What lining of my bladder? It's already compromised! In fact, the idea of radiation treatments now has caused so much stress that I keep forgetting the word "radiation."  Seriously. It slips from my mind, and I keep needing someone else to fill it in for me.

I'm okay with that, though.  I am surrounded by loving, patient people, and I feel cared for and nurtured.  I feel scared and safe, in pain and comforted and so very loved.  A plan is slowly coming together to deal with Mutant. For today, I am okay. And that means a lot.

Just a thought.

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