I’ve signed up here to find women who are in a similar journey as I am.
I quit my job in November 2017 due to overwhelming stress. Just four days after my last day of work, I went to see my GP to consult about my worrisome period in October (as I never had the chance to consult about it). My heavy period was something which I’ve endured for years due to my PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). What made me particularly worried that time was the huge passing clots that made me wonder if I was potentially having a miscarriage (and no I never had one).
Ultrasound results showed complex cyst in my left ovary. My GP advised me that she was ruling out ovarian cancer. You can imagine the horror this news has caused me and my hubby. I was then referred to an OB-GYNE who advised that a surgery was necessary. I sought permission to travel overseas to be with my family (was booked prior to finding out this news) and my doctor agreed given that all my tumour markers were normal.
In March this year, I had my left ovary and tubes removed, polypectomy (in my uterus) and appendectomy. On the day of the surgery, what was originally planned as just a laparoscopic procedure was changed to include an abdominal incision to ensure my ovary was removed without causing any leakage. So recovery took longer than expected.
When I went to see my specialist doctor for the pathology results, I was told that I have low grade serous borderline ovarian tumour. He said it was both good and bad news. He explained that it was good because no one dies of borderline but bad in that I might have another surgical procedure.
In May of this year I was referred to Gyne-Onco who told me that I need to have BSO (right ovary and tubes removed), hysterectomy and omentectomy and called it completion surgery. I’m in my early forties and have not succeeded in conceiving a child so this news came as a major shock to me. So I asked to be given time to think and process. I had crying spells for weeks trying to understand what was going on and when I mustered the courage to come back to the Onco clinic and told them I was ready, I was given a different opinion by another specialist. I was told that as an option, I could keep my ovary for hormonal purposes (not fertility) but still need to have my uterus removed. This way I need not have to deal with surgical menopause. This doesn’t take away the 17-20% chance of recurrence though. I was sent away to see the menopause clinic to weigh my options but the specialist in the menopause clinic said if I wasn’t planning on having a child, completion surgery was the strongest recommendation and they can take care of my surgical menopause symptoms if need be.
My emotional roller coaster was more to do with my being childless and what this procedure meant more than the physical discomfort this can bring.
In the meantime my period got worse (the huge passing clots came back and with intensified abdominal cramps). I also had bleeding in between periods. So this helped me make up my mind to have the completion surgery done. We have also given up hopes of conceiving (long story!) with my age and other complications.
I am now scheduled for procedure by the end of this month (October) and I can only hope that there will be no more surprises after.
Life has changed much since then. I mean I am grateful for the fact that I have very little discomfort. Although they say borderline is better than an invasive cancer I still feel like I’ve been given the cancer verdict. At least it kind of feels that way. I’ve been in and out of the Oncologist clinic and life now consists of appointments and scans and blood works. I do have tightness in my lower abdomen which they suspect was tissue adhesion and I get this pulling sensation every now and then.
It’s a bit frustrating that I can’t get back into applying for a job while I’m waiting for the next surgical treatment. It was like the whole year stood still for me while everyone’s life went on.
I can’t imagine how isolating this condition can be. Most of the time, I don’t even find comfort in talking about it to my friends and family as sometimes what people say are more hurtful than helpful. I try to live normal and think that life’s normal so I can get by each day without dwelling on it. But honestly, it’s a very lonely journey to be in. Both my parents died of cancer and it’s so upsetting to think that my life could also end that way.
Thank you for patiently reading my story. I know each of us are walking in different levels of difficulty but it just helps to share with people who can relate to my own experience.