Friday, May 20, 2011
Can anyone give me some good news?
The small amount of hope I had is gone.
After the Tumor Board Meeting at Sloan-Kettering last night, Dr. Leitao confirmed Small Cell Neuroendocrine Carcinoma. Radical hysterectomy. Radiation. Chemotherapy. Yes, all of them.
But, wait! There's more!
Now my ovaries need to come out too. That wasn't in the original radical hysterectomy plan. Doctors like to leave the ovaries so the hormone levels in a woman's body stay as they should be. Taking my ovaries will throw me into early menopause and all the complications that come along with it. Yes, they'll give me hormone replacement drugs, but, really, who knows if they'll even work? So, on top of losing all of the parts that make me a woman, I'll also lose my hair, gain weight in my abdomen and have vaginal dryness and hot flashes. Wow! Jimmi's such a lucky guy to be stuck with me forever!! Talk about a bait and switch.
And did I mention the catheter I'd need for at least three days after surgery? "Don't worry, the bag straps to your leg and you can hide it with loose pants. We can try taking it out after three days, but if you have trouble urinating, we'll put it back in for another week. It's rare that you'll have long-term bladder problems, but it's possible." Apparently, I do a lot of rare things. I don't want to hear anymore.
"And what about the wedding?"
Nope, can't change it to July because the chemo and radiation can't wait that long after surgery. And what about September? "Well, barring any complications with the surgery (ha! We'll see.), we can push the treatments up to about two weeks after instead of four. That would put your third treatment around the middle of August. You MIGHT be ok to get married on September 3rd. Of course, that's if there aren't any complications."
"Can you please tell me something, ANYTHING, good?"
"I really hate telling you any of this. But I don't have much of a choice."
Oh yeah, I also need a Cat Scan to make sure none of those tricky little cells escaped and ran to my lungs or heart or belly. Yippeee!
Dr. Leitao looked at my sympathetically...or should I say pathetically, because that's how I feel, and asked, "Do you have any other questions?" "Yeah," I choked out, "What am I supposed to tell a 10 year old and an 8 year old?"
He had no answer for me.
Dr. Leitao sent his nurse off to contact the slew of other types of doctors I need to see before surgery, like the radiation doctor and the chemo doctor, and he threw in a women's health and life coach for good measure.
"Can Jimmi stay with me in the hospital?" I asked. He told me that it's a women's center, so it's really up to the nurses. If I have a roommate, probably not. I forced out a joke, "It's ok. I'll have Jimmi flirt with the nurses and give them the eyes. That usually works." Dr. Leitao laughed and told me there are some private rooms, if I'm lucky enough to get one. There are also some super suites on the 19th floor that are nicer than some NYC hotels. There's even a cappuccino maker up there. "Can I pay extra for that?" "Yes, you can." Oh, some GOOD news! Sold!! Ha...I find a small ray of light that will cost a fortune to give me a tiny amount of comfort on my first night of real Hell.
I got to work signing documents allowing Dr. Leitao to remove my womanhood. After that, I moved on to initialing a long, horrible list of complications that might arise from the surgery. I can't even say what they were because my eyes were foggy from the tears as I was reading them.
I set up the Cat Scan for next week, and left the office. Trying to keep my composure, I slumped into a chair and sat silently with my parents while Jimmi brought our tickets to the hospital valet.
There were no words. Nothing to say.
I couldn't speak for the first few minutes of the drive home. Then, an e-mail popped up on my phone. I turned to Jimmi, who was driving, and said, "Looks like my egg retrieval will be on Monday. I hope they get a lot of good ones, because we only have one shot. My ovaries will be gone."
And I sobbed all the way home.