February 13th – Staging and Diagnosis Day

Two weeks post surgery, 11am on February 20th, we walked back in to the doctor’s office – Mom, Dad, myself and Sonya. They asked how I wanted the appointment to go…same as last time. Which meant I would go back, meet with the doctors, go over everything and then have my parents come back. And of course, the resident walked in again and I started crying, apologized and then I was okay. The rollercoaster of emotions that I go through come in waves, I didn’t see that wave coming.

Dr. Hagemann walked in, I have good news, everything checked out really well, it doesn’t appear to have spread anywhere else, we caught it early. Then came this – “we did have a bit of a surprise though that I wasn’t expecting. You have Endometrial Cancer as well (https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/corp.html.)  It was a small focused group and it was removed.” The smile she’d had when she gave me the good news had slightly faded, but her calm and steady voice remained. “I’m a little concerned that at 36 years old you have two unrelated cancers at the same time” She explained that Endometrial Cancer doesn’t travel so since my uterus was removed during the hysterectomy it would no longer be an issue. I would need to undergo genetic testing since they were worried I may have a mutated gene causing all of these issues.

Treatment plan was discussed – instead of 4 rounds of chemotherapy they’d determined 6 would be the best route for me to take. The drugs they’d be giving me were Taxol (http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/drug-info/Taxol.aspx) and Carboplatin(http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/drug-info/carboplatin.aspx)  I’d receive the medication every third week, and my visits would last 6-7 hours (to date I’ve had one go 6 and another go 7.5, depends on how quickly they can drip everything). I had the option of going downtown to Siteman or staying at MoBap (Missouri Baptist) – my choice, a 10 chair treatment room off the medical offices at MoBap. It was smaller and I wouldn’t have to deal with all the hustle and bustle of the cancer center downtown, and my doctor would be only a few steps down the hall. And since I was recovering so well, I’d start the following Monday.

Only a couple of things left – bringing the parents back and a quick blood draw to make sure my counts were okay. Again, she took the time to meet with them, answer all the questions they had and explain everything.

To say that it wasn’t a HUGE relief that the cancer hadn’t spread any further is the understatement of the year. Out of all the Ovarian Cancer diagnosis each year (22,140 in 2016) only 15% are found in the early stages…if you do the math, that’s 3,321. Keep in mind, out of those numbers my age bracket (35-41) only accounts for 5% – I was extremely fortunate. Not to say I don’t have a long road ahead of me, Ovarian Cancer can be tricky, but I have a very good chance of falling into the bucket of “cured” – Dr. Hagemann reassured me that she still felt very positive about being able to use that word in the future.

Sonya, my Mom and me at our lunch celebration – yes, those are wine glasses!

Needless to say, we were going out to lunch to “celebrate” – I celebrate any positive news, big or small, cancer related or not. The waiter asked what we were celebrating…I looked at him and said, “are you sure you really want to know??” He gave me a strange look (happens to me often, the stuff that comes out of my mouth from time to time gets me the looks) and I told him….I’m pretty sure he’s not going to be asking anyone anytime soon what they’re celebrating or that he’ll have anyone come in celebrating an early stage cancer diagnosis.

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