We walked into the gyno oncologist’s office yesterday and Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble” was playing. I passed over my new patient forms and insurance card. While I paid my co-pay, “Let It Be” started playing.
Really Universe? Okay.
The doctor reviewed the pathology report in depth. We spent over an hour with her asking all our questions, jotting down notes, going through different scenarios.
It basically boils down to this:
There is more cancer inside of me. We know this because there were no clear margins from the tissue removed during the cold-knife conization surgery. Clear margins means there is like a ring around the sample that shows no cancer or pre-cancer. Kind of like if my cancer was a castle the clear margins would be a moat. My sample had cancer all the way up to the edge. The cancerous part measures about 2 millimeters. We don’t know how much more is in there so we have to do another conization surgery. This time the doctor will cut up into my cervix in a more narrow, pointed cone shape since that’s where the cancer is showing up.
Good news: no cancer presents in my lymph nodes or my uterus, what they found is small (2 millimeters), and it was caught early.
Best case scenario is that after I have the second cone, the results will show clear margins meaning they cut the cancer out of me. This type of cancer I have, adenocarcinoma, is less common and so they don’t know much about how it operates unfortunately. It’s pretty disturbing that I could have only 2 abnormal paps and that the colposcopy didn’t show any cancer but that it took a conization for it to show up.
I’ll tell you this much: “clear margins” is my new mantra.
(Please, please, please let me get what I want this time.)
The option between the cone and the hysterectomy would be a trachelectomy (where they remove my cervix only). Very few doctors do this surgery but this doctor’s colleague does which makes me feel better. I’d rather have someone within reach if it comes to that.
Mr. Darcy and I feel . . . better. I certainly left there feeling like I could breathe a little easier than I had the past few weeks. I do better with a plan. And it helped to hear that it was caught early and it’s small even if I was told that originally. In this past week of fear and worry, I’ve lost sight of it. While I would much rather not have cancer at all, I’m grateful I have a fighting chance. There’s a glimmer of hope that this could be the last surgery I’d need and if that’s the case, maybe we might be able to conceive. I can tell you this much- no patient should be told she has cancer and then have to wait a week to talk to someone who can actually explain what was found. It is pure torture!
We have scheduled my second surgery for September 5th. I can’t have it any earlier because I have to wait 6 weeks from my last cone so that my cervix can heal. After that surgery we’ll wait a week for the results just like last time. Between now and then, I’m just going to focus on hopeful, happy thoughts like all the love in my life, my amazing fiance, my awesome network of support, my wonderful family, and my fantastic friends. Because if this cancer has shown me anything so far it’s that I am blessed. So very blessed.
So there is more fight to fight, more road to travel, but we’re readying ourselves for what lies ahead. Thank you for being along on the journey with us. Your support has buoyed us in this time of trouble.