Friday, December 30, 2016

Post-Surgery Update - 2nd Surgery

Time for another update, since I had surgery again yesterday! It was the same surgery as before, a D&C - dilation and curettage. Basically, they dilate my cervix and and do a tissue scraping. That is then sent off to pathology, to see how my pre-cancerous cells are doing. I'll find out those results in about three weeks, when I go in for my follow up appointment.

I was a little worried before surgery, because I have been sick for the past few weeks, and I was afraid that my chest congestion and cough would make them cancel my surgery. Actually, I was really worried about it. The whole reason we'd scheduled this surgery for December instead of January was to get me in before my health insurance deductible starts over January 1st. Right now, I'd owe $650 for my surgery, and then I'd get a couple small bills for anesthesia and blood work. If I had surgery in January instead, I'd have to pay a $4000 deductible. Quite a price jump!

Check-In - So, we get to the hospital and check in. Everything was smooth there. Confirm who you are, sign some papers, pay for surgery. Last time, we sat and waited almost 2 hours between check-in and getting called back to pre-op. This time, we waited less than 20 minutes! We had expected to wait so much longer that when I got called back, Brian was out at the car!

Pre-Op - We go into my room, I get changed into my lovely hospital gown. You know the one, nice and breezy in the back! My pre-op nurse comes in for all my history questions. She was actually awesome! Very friendly, very personable. I think I'm going to contact the hospital and write something nice about her. She made us both feel relaxed as we were waiting. She put in my IV and gave me anti-nausea meds, since I told her the anesthesia made me nauseous last time. Next, my anesthesiologist came in to talk to me. I told him about my previous recovery after anesthesia, nausea and a migraine that lasted 3 days. He told me that the migraine isn't a common reaction, but he agreed with our thoughts that the migraine was just my body's reaction because I don't smoke, drink, do drugs, and I rarely drink caffeine. So my body just freaked out. Then I asked him about having chest congestion and being under anesthesia. He said that it wouldn't help my breathing, but it certainly wasn't going to prevent surgery. He actually just thought my cough was from being a smoker, so Brian and I think that he probably gets people in there for surgery with way worse congestion than what I had.

Pre-Op 2 - Next, my oncologist came in to check on me, right before we head back for actual surgery. I had some questions for him this time, that he was happy to answer.

- I asked how many more of these surgeries he thought I'd have to have - He said that he's pretty confident that this would be my last one! He said that with how positively my body has been reacting to the treatment so far, he doesn't think I'll have to have another surgery! He said he'll know for sure once my pathology results come back, and we can talk more about it at my follow up appointment, but he's pretty sure I won't need more surgery.

- I asked him about waiting to start trying for babies. I had been told by my ob/gyn that, in her experience, I would have to wait a full year after going into remission before I could start trying to get pregnant. I asked him if this was true, and he said NO! He said that with my type of cancer, there isn't really a risk of being pregnant and my cancer coming back at the same time. With breast cancer, if you get pregnant after being diagnosed, they usually recommend an abortion because your pregnancy hormones speed up your cancer cells. With my type of cancer, pregnancy hormones won't speed up my cancer cells, so I could be pregnant while still having this cancer, deliver a healthy baby, and then do my cancer treatment. That was a relief to hear, as I'd been worried about getting pregnant after all of this!

- Next he said that I should stop taking my cancer pills, AND stop taking birth control. He said to keep using condoms until my follow up, but that after my pathology results should be coming back pretty much clear, there isn't really a reason to continue to prevent pregnancy now. He told me to keep dieting and losing weight, because the more weight I lose, the healthier my pregnancy will be. He's going to put me back on metformin, to help with my PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome). But after my follow up, we should get the all clear to start trying to get pregnant! He said that he'll put me on a pill that will force my body to have a period each month, and it will hopefully also force my body to ovulate. I don't think it's going to be BOOM! Here's a baby for you! But I'm so excited!! So much good news so far, I'm so excited for my follow up appointment!!

Surgery - my actual surgery went really well. It was pretty quick! My recovery was so much better than last time! I woke up with a small headache and a really dry, sore throat, but no migraine and no nausea! I was actually ready to go about 45 minutes before we got to leave, because their post-op rooms were backed up. So, they let me get changed in recovery, instead of waiting for a post-op room. After that, Brian signed my release papers and we were free to go!

On The Way Home - Last time, I was in so much pain from my migraine, I feel asleep almost immediately after getting in the car and didn't wake up until about 5 minutes before we got home. 2.5 hour drive! This time, I was feeling good! We stopped at a gas station for gas and a snack for me because I was starving! I scarfed down a cinnamon roll in like 3 seconds. Next stop, Bush's Chicken! I loooooove Bush's Chicken, and the closest one to our house is almost 2 hours away. It's a really great fast food, fried chicken place. Not expensive, always fast. And they have THE BEST ROLLS! So yummy! We had planned on getting Bush's after my last surgery, but since I pretty much passed out in the car, we went straight home instead. I was so excited to be feeling good this time, and so happy to stop for Bush's. After a couple pieces of chicken in the car, I feel asleep for about 90 minutes on the way home, woke up to a very sore throat, but my headache was gone!

Recovery - So far, I'm feeling great! My throat is still a little sore, but my bleeding is minimal. Besides just being tired, I'm feeling pretty good. I have today, tomorrow, and Sunday to recover before life gets back to normal. I don't think I'll have any problems being ready to start my new diet and exercise on Monday! Going to kick this cancer away, and have myself a healthy 2017!

That's all I have so far, I know it was a long post. I want to thank everyone for their happy thoughts, prayers, and well wishes. And I'll write up another blog as soon as I see my oncologist for my follow up in about three weeks! I can't wait! =)

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm feeling pretty thankful today. I went to the doctor last week, and thought about writing an update. What better day to do that, than the day of being thankful. =)

First, I had more blood drawn last week.
Results -
Iron - still low, but much higher than it was.
Thyroid - still low, but higher than it was.
Sugars are great, not diabetic. Not even pre-diabetic!
Blood pressure is normal.
Cholesterol is normal.

In even better news, my heart murmur has completely resolved itself! My primary doctor was pretty sure the murmur was only a result of my extremely low iron. Now that those numbers are getting better, the heart murmur is gone!

I have to go back in the middle of February for another round of blood testing, but now it's just routine testing.

I also went to the ob/gyn for another ultrasound, so see how my body is progressing with my cancer treatment. According to the ultrasound, and talking to my oncologist, my body is responding well to treatment. The medicine I've been on has shrunk the cancerous cells, and my oncologist was able to remove all the cancerous cells during my last surgery. I've been downgraded from cancer to hyperplasia. Hyperplasia is pretty much the precursor to cancer. If I stopped my meds and treatment, it would still progress to cancer. But the fact that I'm in the pre-cancercous range and not the cancerous range, that's great progress!

My next step is to continue my medications and treatment, and I'll be having surgery again on Dec. 12th. The same surgery as before, with hopefully even better results! I'm so thankful for the good news! Thank you to everyone for your prayers, good thoughts, and well wishes. =)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Post Surgery Follow-Up Appointment

Hello friends and family!

I just went to the oncologist in San Antonio yesterday, for my follow-up appointment after having surgery about three weeks ago, and wanted to update everyone on how it went!

It was actually a very quick appointment. My doctor said that he did remove some tissue during my surgery, and he was able to remove all the cancerous tissue/cells. However, he wasn't able to remove everything. He did downgrade what is left in my uterus to pre-cancerous cells, but left on their own they would definitely progress to cancer again. Unfortunately, that means I'm not in remission yet. I'm going back on the cancer pills today, and I'm going to have to have another surgery in about 3.5 months. It will be just like my previous surgery. Hopefully, at that time, he'll be able to remove everything and I'll officially be cancer free. My doctor is very happy with how the surgery went, and how my body is healing. He had actually said during my first appointment that it was be the best case scenario for me to only need one surgery to remove all the cancer, so as much as I wish he had been able to get everything with one surgery, needing a 2nd surgery is not surprising. Plus, I was able to tell my doctor that my body didn't react so well to anesthesia last time, and he told me that I can request the same anesthesiologist and let him know how my body reacted last time, and he can make some changes to my dosage so I have a better recovery. I really liked the anesthesiologist, so I'm happy for that. My next step now is to call on Monday to schedule my surgery. We're hoping that I'll be able to schedule that in December, before my deductible starts over at the new year, saving us $500! Plus, I'll miss less work if it's around the holidays. So, keep your fingers crossed that they'll let me schedule surgery in December, instead of January!

That's all the information I have right now! Everything is looking good and I'm making progress towards being cancer free, I'm just not there yet. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes. It really means a lot to me! I'll keep you updated on anything else that happens! =)

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Post Surgery Update

Hello again friends and family! And people I don't know who read this too!

I'm home after having my surgery yesterday. I figured I'd give a detailed play-by-play of the day, and everything I know so far. =)

So, I talked to my main nurse on Monday, to make sure they had all my blood and EKG test results before my surgery yesterday. She said that they had everything they needed, told me to be at the hospital at 1030am for my noon surgery. I asked her about the no food or drinks after midnight, and she told me that since my surgery was at noon, I could eat and drink after midnight, but nothing after 6am.

We dropped the dogs off at my mother-in-law's house Monday night, she and her husband are really awesome with watching the dogs for us whenever we need them! Monday morning, I woke up at 530am to eat breakfast before 6am. We left for our 2.5 drive a little early, because it was raining. We still managed to get to the hospital for registration and check-in by about 10am. The hospital was so nice! The inside was a little fancy, very comfy, and every single person we talked to was polite.

I registered, and we had about a 45 minute wait until getting put in the pre-op room. Once in that room, I got changed into a gown, with my butt on display to the world! Haha! We waited a bit. I had a nurse come in to take my blood and put in my IV. Another nurse came in to take down my medical history and all the medications I'm currently on, and I signed all my consent forms. We waited a bit longer. I had the anesthesiologist come back and talk to me about what all he was going to do. He asked when the last time I ate was, I told him (at that point) about 7 hours earlier. He was concerned, he said you should never eat or drink the day of surgery. Nothing after midnight the night before surgery. He said it changed what he'd be doing a little bit. It's a bit more invasive if you've eaten too close to surgery, because you can run the risk of throwing up food while you're under anesthesia, and then breathing that food into your lungs. So I had to have a full on breathing tube, instead of the less invasive mode. But he was actually really great, because he said some of his colleagues would've sent me home and rescheduled my surgery for another day, all because my main nurse had given me incorrect information. I'm so glad he didn't! After that, my surgical nurse came in to give the knock out juice and wheel me back for surgery. I said goodbye to Brian, got a kiss, and was wheeled away. He took my surgery time to run and get himself some food, since he'd also eaten at about 6am, and was starving by the time they wheeled me back for surgery at about 1pm.

I remember moving from the bed to the surgical table, and they put the oxygen mask on me. The next thing I remember is waking up, very groggy, with an oxygen mask on in the first recovery area. Apparently, my surgery took closer to an hour instead of 30 minutes like the doctor had told Brian. So he was little concerned as he was waiting for the doctor to come out and tell him that I was okay. And then I was in the first recovery area for a whole hour before remembering anything specific. Coming out of anesthesia is not fun! I was FREEZING! My throat was all sore and scratchy from the breathing tube, and my head hurt so much! And I was sooooo nauseous. A new nurse asked me how I was doing, I told her that I was cold, my head hurt, and I was nauseous. She immediately got me some warm blankets, and gave me something in my IV for the nausea. I slowly started to get warmer, and stopped shivering. They took the oxygen mask off, and let me breath on my own. Apparently though, my normal breathing is too shallow, as the oxygen alarm kept going off and she kept telling me to take deeper breaths. The nurse put me in some super stretchy mesh panties, for my bleeding, and after about 30 minutes, they wheeled me into a recovery room and I was able to see Brian. =) I still felt a little wobbly, I told Brian that my arms and legs felt all limp like noodles. But I ate some crackers that helped the nausea. I took a little walk down the hall to the bathroom, with a little help from Brian. I was able to get dressed, got a prescription for pain meds, and a list of what I can and can't do. No driving, no signing papers, no making major decisions, no bathing/showering for 24 hours, those kind of things. Brian signed my discharge papers, and we could leave! He went and pulled the car around, as they wheeled me to the car. And we were headed home right around 4pm!

My nausea didn't completely go away, and my headache was awful, I ended up staying awake long enough to text family and close friends that I was okay and headed home. After that, I silenced my phone and fell asleep for the entire 2.5 hour drive home! I woke up about a mile away from home, still with a pounding headache. I took some aleve, which didn't help. Brian dropped me off at home, and then went to pick up the dogs and dinner. I had a caffeinated drink in the fridge, so I drank a little of that, thinking that my headache felt more like a migraine than a regular headache. Then I fell asleep on the couch for the hour that Brian was gone. I woke up feeling a little better. No more nausea, but still with a bad headache. I ate a burger and some fries, they tasted AWESOME! I stayed up for a little longer, and then headed to bed. I had moderate bleeding and minimal cramping at the hospital, and a little bleeding once I got home. But the bleeding completely tapered off overnight.

I didn't sleep very well, between my headache and the caffeine I drank, I woke up this morning with a very sore and scratchy throat, and I felt like all my neck and shoulder muscles were sore. But I was still feeling pretty well! I called my doctor, because he hadn't stopped by to talk to me after surgery about how it went. My main nurse said she'd call me back after she talked to him. I felt pretty good throughout the day, ran errands with my hubby, and spent the rest of the day resting at home. I didn't have any bleeding or cramping all day, and no more headache!

My main nurse finally called me back around 3pm. She said that according to my surgical chart, a moderate amount of tissue was removed and sent to pathology for testing. She said that my doctor was very thorough and didn't find anymore tumor in my uterus!! According to him, it's all gone! I don't have to take to cancer pills anymore! I have a follow-up appointment in three weeks, at that point all get checked out to make sure I'm all healed from surgery, and I'll get the results from my tissue pathology. But as of right now, it's looking like the cancer is gone! Fingers crossed and all the good thoughts that it's true!

I'm doing well right now. Mostly tired. No bleeding or cramping. My nurse said that the bleeding might come and go, or I might not bleed at all until my next period. She said that they're only concerned if I start bleeding too much. My throat is still sore. Mostly I feel like I'm sick, cough and sore muscles. But I don't have to go back to work until Tuesday, so I have plenty of time to just relax and heal. But with the good news my nurse gave me today, I'm feeling pretty great! I'm so excited for my appointment in three weeks, I kind of wish it was here already!

Thank you to everyone for your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes! They're certainly coming through loud and clear! You are all great, and I can hardly wait to update you all after my follow-up appointment in three weeks!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pre-Surgery Update

Hello world! Here is another quick update about the medical fun stuff I've been working with lately! My surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday, August 30th.

I had to go to my primary doctor yesterday for an EKG, just to make sure my heart is healthy before surgery. And it mostly is! The last time I was at the doctor, he said that I have a heart murmur. He thought it was just because of how severely anemic I am, so he wasn't concerned. I asked him if the murmur pointed to an aortic aneurysm, because I have a biological father and sister who both passed away from an aortic aneurysm fairly young. He said no, a murmur isn't a sign of that at all. He said high blood pressure is a sign, and my blood pressure is great! But he went ahead and referred me to a cardiologist for an echo (ultrasound of my heart), to look for an aortic aneurysm, just in case! And the cardiologist will also look for a reason for my murmur, to make sure it's only from my anemia and low blood count. But the actual heart function is great, very healthy! I am good to go for surgery on Tuesday! I also had some blood drawn today, but I can't imagine anything they're testing will come out poorly and prevent me from having my surgery.

Just another explanation on what my surgery actually is, since I've been getting more questions about it lately. It's called a D&C, dilation and curettage. Basically, they are going to dilate my cervix and cut away part of the tumor/uterine lining for further testing. They'll also measure it to see how much the tumor has shrunk, and gauge my progress with my cancer shrinking pills. My doctor mentioned that the best case scenario would be for the tumor to have shrunk so much that when he goes in to take part of it, it will be small enough that he can just remove the entire thing. It's not expected though, so we'll see! We'll get to the doctor's office at 10am, my surgery is at noon. I'll be under general anesthesia, the procedure is supposed to take about 30 minutes. I'll have to hang out at the doctor's office for a few hours after, to come off the anesthesia and they will monitor me for excessive bleeding. I took the rest of the week off work, since I'm not sure how much I'll be bleeding and I don't want to deal with that at work. But then I'll be good to go! If they aren't able to just remove the whole tumor then, I'll stay on my cancer pills and most likely have another appointment in another couple months. 

All your thoughts and prayers are appreciated! I'll post another update after I have my surgery, to let know everyone know how it went! Thanks for reading! =)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Medical Progress Report

Hello again everyone! I'm back with a little progress report. =)

General update - I saw my primary doctor this morning, after getting some blood drawn and tested last week. My iron levels are still very low, but they are higher than the previous test. Good progress there. My thyroid function is still low, but higher than it was previously. Good progress there too. My cholesterol is fine, in the perfectly normal range. I also had my sugars checked, for diabetes. Sugars were great! Not diabetic, not even pre-diabetic. Awesome news there! Especially since diabetes runs in my family. I will continue to stay on all my current medications, and I'll go back for more blood work in 3 months.

Cancer update - I have an appointment with my oncologist for the last week of August. At that time, I'm going in for a minor out-patient surgery. It's called a D&C, dilation and curettage. Basically, they are going to dilate my cervix and cut away part of the tumor/uterine lining for further testing. They'll also measure it to see how much the tumor has shrunk, and gauge my progress with my cancer shrinking pills. My doctor mentioned that the best case scenario would be for the tumor to have shrunk so much that when he goes in to take part of it, it will be small enough that he can just remove the entire thing. It's not expected though, so we'll see! We'll get to the doctor's office at 10am, my surgery is at noon. I'll be under general anesthesia, the procedure is supposed to take about 30 minutes. I'll have to hang out at the doctor's office for a few hours after, to come off the anesthesia and they will monitor me for excessive bleeding. After that I might be off work for a couple days to recover, but then I should be good! If they aren't able to just remove the whole tumor then, I'll stay on my cancer pills and most likely have another appointment in another couple months. 

Besides that, I'm working on losing weight and being healthier. We're hoping that I'll be cancer free at the year mark, and that we'll get the all clear to try to start having babies then, and I want to be healthier when that time comes! Thank you guys for reading and keeping updated with my crazy health stuff! 

Until next time! =) 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Health Problems..

A little back story – My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant since we got married in March 2010. We stopped using any sort of prevention, but didn't have any luck. A year after we got married, I decided to go to a doctor, just to see if anything was wrong. My monthly periods had been all over the place since before we got married, never regular, never normal. I saw a doctor who just told me that I needed to lose about 150lb, and then I'd be able to get pregnant. He didn't examine me or run any tests, was rude and mean. It turned me off from going to another doctor for a while.

About 2.5 years ago, I went to visit an ob/gyn for a normal pap smear, and to talk to him about why we hadn't been able to get pregnant after over 4 years of trying. That doctor told me that I had PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome, meaning that my eggs were turning into cysts in my ovaries, instead of dropping down to be fertilized. He told me to focus on losing weight, even though it would be hard with PCOS, but after I lost some weight we could focus on helping me get pregnant. He didn't run any tests, told me that my pap results came back normal, and just told me to work hard at losing weight.

We moved to Corpus Christi about a year and a half ago. A few months ago, I decided to find a new ob/gyn. I had lost some weight after seeing the last doctor, but then I'd gained it all back after we moved down here. I decided I just wanted to see a new doctor, since it had been a while.

I went to the doctor at the end of April. She was really great. I told her that my previous doctor had diagnosed me with PCOS, but hadn't done any tests to confirm the diagnosis. She told me that it was stupid and lazy to not confirm a diagnosis, so she'd run some tests to try and find out what's going on with my body. My periods had still be completely random, longer than they should be, more frequent.

She gave me a pap/pelvic exam, and told me that I had polyps on/in my cervix. They're small growths, fairly common in women of fertile age. She said she wanted to schedule another appointment to biopsy the polyps, just as a precaution. She also told me that my uterus was large for someone who had never had children, so she recommended an ultrasound. She made a joke that I could already be pregnant! She had my blood taken, first to check for pregnancy, and to check me for anemia, check my thyroid levels. With my weight, and my difficulty in losing weight and keeping it off, she was actually upset that none of my previous doctors had ever thought to check my thyroid.

I went in just a few days later to get the polyps removed and biopsied. She also had the results of my blood work back. I'm not pregnant, but I am anemic, and I should start taking iron supplements immediately. She also says that my thyroid level is off the charts in a bad way, so I need to start taking thyroid medication the next day. But having a crap thyroid is one of the reasons my weight has been hard to control and hard to lose. This thyroid medication isn't a weight loss medication, but I should have an easier time being healthy and active once it levels out my thyroid. I was so excited to finally have a doctor who was taking me seriously, who wasn't just telling me to lose weight and all my problems would be fixed!

They scheduled my ultrasound for week later, a Friday. The Wednesday before my ultrasound appointment, my doctor called me and said she had the pap and biopsy results in, and she wanted to see me the next day. She said the results were concerning. They moved my ultrasound appointment for the next afternoon, since I was already going to be coming in to talk to the doctor about my results. Brian took off work to go with me, because he is awesome. We go in the next afternoon, and my doctor decides to do the ultrasound first, and then go over the results after. First, she tells me that she doesn't think I have PCOS. Then She tells me that I have a mass in my uterus. It's a rather large mass, and the reason my uterus is larger than it should me. She also told me that my pap and polyp biopsy results came back, and they aren't good. I have AGUS results, which are atypical glandular cells of undetermined significance. Those results only show up in 0.18-0.74% of all pap smears. The biopsy showed that the mass is stage 1 adenocarcinoma, endometrioid type. Meaning, the mass in my uterus is a tumor. And it's cancer.

My doctor recommended that I go get an MRI done immediately, and scheduled me for the next appointment they had, the following Monday. Once she got the MRI results, she'd call me back in. I went to the MRI, and saw my doctor the next day. She had bad news, and a little good news. The bad news – it's definitely a tumor. It extends from my cervix all the way to the back of my uterus. And the results definitely point to a malignant tumor. The good news – it hasn't spread. It's completely contained in my uterus. She said that she believed I'd either have to have my uterus removed, or they would remove the tumor and treat me with chemo or radiation. Both of those options pointed to us not being able to have children in the future.

She referred me to a gynecological oncologist that she knows in San Antonio, who would be able to get me in soon. I had to wait and get a referral from my primary care provider, but they were able to get me in the Monday after I called. He wrote up my referral right away, and said he'd expect the oncologist to give me a full hysterectomy within the month. Not really what I was hoping to hear, but thanks to his immediate referral, I had an appointment with the gynecological oncologist this past Friday.

We drove 2.5 hours away to see the gynecological oncologist. He was great. He looked over the biopsy results, and the MRI results. He said the MRI results were a little confusing, so he also examined me and gave me an ultrasound. Just so he could also get a sense of what was going on in my uterus. He said that I DO have PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome. And one of the problems with PCOS is that it limits my body's production of progesterone, and gives my body too much estrogen, which caused this cancer and tumor. But his first concern is taking care of the cancer, and then we can start treating the PCOS. He said that, with women my age, he's had great results with treating this type of cancer without surgery, without chemo, without radiation. I start taking a pill twice a day, and if everything goes right, this medication will shrink the tumor until it completely rids my body of the cancer! It usually takes about a year of taking this medication, but at the end, I should be cancer free and maintain my fertility! Short of them telling me that this was all a mistake, this was the best possible news I could have gotten!

I started taking this new medication Saturday, and I'm scheduled to go back to the oncologist in 3.5 months. At that appointment, I'll have a cell biopsy test and they'll measure the tumor again. Hopefully, it will have already started shrinking. Now, there is a chance that it won't shrink on this medication, and if that happens, we'll discuss other options like surgery at that time. But in my oncologist's experience, a woman taking this medication has never had tumor growth or spreading. So, that's where we're at right now. I'm living with cancer, taking my medications, and going back in 3.5 months. I'm going to focus on being healthier and losing weight, and kicking cancer in the ass! =)