Saturday, December 17, 2016

I Just Had a Total Abdominal Hysterectomy and Bilateral Salpingo Oophorectomy

...along with the removal of a massive tumor in my gut. More specifically, I had endometrioid adenocarcinoma of the ovary, arising in endometriosis. Wow, that's a mouthful.

Breathe. Just breathe.

Pretty unbelievable, isn't it? I'm still in shock. I just had cancer (and let's make darn sure it stays in the past tense), and now all my reproductive organs are gone. It's hard to even type that. Makes it more real, somehow.

It wasn't that long ago that I went into my PCP's office talking about the digestive issues I was having, along with the distention in my abdomen. I thought it was just that -- gaining some weight in my belly, and having stronger-than-normal gut problems. I've long suspected I had some amount of endometriosis, but my brain didn't immediately jump to giant cancerous tumor. One day in November the bloating and gut pain was so bad that I couldn't go to work and took myself to the ER. Even then, they sent me home with advice about how to deal with gas and constipation. Only after my PCP ordered an ultrasound and a CT scan did we realize that this was a large tumor, and surgery was needed ASAP. I met with the gynecological oncology surgeon, and he rightly suspected endometriosis and possibly some stage of ovarian cancer. Given the likelihood of this condition coming back, we decided it was best to remove all of my reproductive organs along with the tumor.

So now I'm in recovery from major surgery. My gut is really sore, and it's a challenge to do anything that uses my abdominal muscles (which is pretty much everything). I'm really constipated, which isn't helped by the narcotics I've been taking. Passing gas and having a bowel movement on Thursday was my big accomplishment for the week, and the final checklist item that discharged me from the hospital. However, I'm constipated again, despite all the laxatives and stool softeners, so it seems like this will be an ongoing challenge. I'm hoping to be off the narcotics as soon as possible.

Other than that, I'm supposed to walk as much as I can, and rest, and repeat, trying to slowly increase the amount of walking I do each day. Obviously, I'm not supposed to lift anything, so that's frustrating, but my wife and housemate will be here to help. This is going to be a long ride.

Breathe. Be present.

I'm happy to be alive. And all I can do right this moment is focus on my recovery.

Follow-up Edit:

I have pictures of the biopsied tumor, and a closeup of the ovary. I'll warn you, it's hard to look at...but it's necessary. Why is it necessary? Because health disasters can happen to anyone, and if it weren't for the medical professionals I was seeing, this could have been a very different story. I was only able to receive that care because I had health insurance. Yes, I'm going to mention the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare, if you will) here. The ACA is not perfect, but it's a major step in the right direction. These are pictures of my cells, that turned against me. Affordable, nay, universal health care is a necessity.

No comments:

Post a Comment