Yesterday my doctor called to tell me they found cancer in my cervix.
I was not expecting the call that early in the week. I was not expecting such bad news. I was back at work for the first time since my conization and had to find an open office to take the call. I really believed that all the positive thinking we’d been doing meant there could only be a good outcome. I would not qualify this as good.
My case is being transferred to a gyno/oncologist and I am anxious to get an appointment. The questions and fears swirling around my brain are driving me crazy. My current doc, who is very kind and calls to check on me, is not an expert in cancer so she has only been telling me that with this kind of cancer- adenocarcinoma– the treatment is a hysterectomy. For further along cancer, they also do radiation treatment. She did say it was encouraging that they found it early and that it’s small (as in millimeters). I’m sure it surprises no one that my over-achieving cervix got the type of cancer that only 10-20% of women get. I always have to be unique.
I also called The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance who are very highly regarded in this field, hoping to get an appointment with one of their doctors. I want more than one opinion. I want all the information I can get. I am holding hope that there is an alternative to getting a hysterectomy that would buy us time to try to conceive without risking my life. If I have to get a hysterectomy, I hope that it can be done sooner rather than later and laparoscopically. Those types of hysterectomies take about 3 hours in surgery with a couple days in the hospital and a 2 week recovery time off work. You can’t go swimming or do anything too strenuous for 4-6 weeks at least. I’m in the middle of planning a wedding and we’re going to Mexico for our honeymoon (hi, infinity pool) . The only problem is that not all doctors do this type of surgery and because it takes longer to perform, it costs more.
Yes, we can freeze eggs, get a surrogate, adopt. I know everyone means well when they suggest these things. It’s just that I JUST FOUND OUT I MIGHT NOT GET TO HAVE A BABY and so forgive me, I’m not really interested in entertaining those options presently. I have a lot of grief over losing that option. Of course I would rather be alive than give birth to a baby but both options come with their own set of feelings that overlap and tangle up inside me. I know the most important thing is to get healthy but I also feel a tremendous sadness at the loss of ever birthing my (and Darcy’s) own child. And all those alternatives cost a lot of money. These surgeries alone are going to be very pricey. We did just buy a house (a big one, with rooms for kids) and are paying for the wedding ourselves. All of this happening right now feels like the worst timing. We’re supposed to be relishing in happy planning for our future. Laying on the floor crying together wasn’t really what I pictured. And yet everything happens for a reason. Even if you hate it.
I wanted to get better at being in the moment, feeling gratitude for small joys, slow down my lifestyle and learn to relax. I hoped to be able to let people in to support and care for me, to strengthen my faith and my spiritual practice, and to let my guard down and be vulnerable. I guess I should have been more specific to The Universe when I wished for those things because here, in this messy cancer package, I’m getting to practice all of them.