Sunday, September 9, 2012

My not-so-great news

Ever since my gynae called me on Thursday night, I have been toying with what to call this post. Been delaying writing it in fact.
Look, I am still alive. But shocked. Upset. Not charmed. Learning to be strong again.
On Monday I had a Z-sampler or endometrial biopsy because I am on tamoxifen and it can cause endometrial cancer. So every six months I subject myself to this excruciatingly sore test. Wrote about it in my last posting. I was very upset after it all on Monday as it was sore and cost so much and I bled so much afterwards and I just had a feel-sorry-for-myself few hours (which I think is pretty unusual for me).
Then I got on with things. Was a little shaken, but fine.
Phoned on Wednesday for the results. Not there yet. Was told that could happen. Phoned on Thursday again - then the receptionists leave a message for the gynaecologist and he phones back later. Forgot about it until I got a call late on Thursday.
"Irregular cells," he said. "I need to do a D&C".... me, the great professional question-asker (journalist) went dumb, numb, whatever. "What is the worst case scenario?" I asked. "Hysterectomy," he said. "Will I need chemo again?" "No," said he but not sure I believe him.
He sort of arranged a date for the D&C, he told me to be there at 6am, could leave at 1pm/lunchtime and I must speak to his receptionist for codes (for the medical aid authorisation). I said I wasn't at my desk, was walking and was five minutes from the office but he said they were closing up for the day (was almost 5.30pm) and I must phone the next day after 9am.
When I did, the receptionist said she was rushing to theatre with something (his rooms are in a large private clinic - "private" versus "state" being essential for top healthcare here in South Africa). I waited for her to call me back - was having an insane day at work - and when I phoned after 1pm, his rooms were closed for the day.
So I don't really know what is going on. Oh, he did say it was pre-cancerous. But doing a little reading, and I need to know how bad it is. I am freaked out. I did ask: "If I refuse to have a hysterectomy...?" and he responded with "then you will live with a pre-cancerous spot".
Tomorrow I will get a copy of the test results (even if I have to drive to his rooms and demand them from that silly receptionist whom I have had a tiff with in the past), see that my oncologist has a copy of it (when I phoned on Friday they said he was about to go on leave till October but did have a locum - and he has a partner I have seen once before - but they needed to see the report before they could schedule an appointment); and make an appointment to see the gynae so I can arrive with notebook and pen in journalist mode and ask him millions of questions.
When I went on tamoxifen, I was told, "don't worry, endometrial cancer is slow-growing and we can cut it out...." - ja, with half my insides too?
I feel devastated. I cannot believe that my arm hassles (borderline lymphedema and doing 1hr of lymph massage a day, split into about 45 minutes in the morning and 10 or so min at night) and now this, on my way to endometrial cancer and more than likely having an operation that is going to bring my life to a temporary stop (you cannot drive for about 2 months and won't be able to exercise and....)is all from the preventative treatment for the cancer I had. I remember my brother-in-law saying when I was diagnosed: "You're fine now but when they start the treatment...". I cannot believe that the slim chance of the tamoxifen effect has happened to me. Don't know why I thought I was immune but...
Ironically, saw my thyroid doctor on Friday and when I said: "So, I am quite healthy then?" he said: "You are VERY HEALTHY - from the belly button up!" One has to laugh........

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