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! =)