Archive | June, 2015

Exploratory Laparoscopy (Surgery Update)

14 Jun

At the top of this blog I have “My journey with God through breast cancer”.  I’m thinking a better title would be “My journey with God through life”.  Life is hard.  It is very hard sometimes.  But, if you have a relationship with God, the Creator of this world, you know there is hope even in the midst of the struggles.  I’m choosing to grasp onto that hope instead of despair.  I’m choosing to look to my Lord for comfort, healing and wisdom. Kevan and I have been given news we didn’t want to hear.

I had my 10th surgery, 5th laparoscopy last Thursday and I want to provide an update. It was exploratory.  Mostly to see the cysts that I had on my ovaries.  When the doctor did an ultrasound of the left ovary a few months ago he found a large one.  I’ve been having a lot of pain on the left side and I was already blaming it on a cyst before I even got the diagnosis that day.  As many of you know, I’ve been dealing with chronic pain in my back and tailbone area.  It started during my last month of chemo.  I think, due to the timing, I just assumed it was cancer treatment related…or would worry that my cancer returned, but after the surgery this past week…I’m starting to think differently.

Endometriosis Background

I’m about to talk about a very long word called ENDOMETRIOSIS.  Click the link if you want to know more about it.  I have a very long history of endometriosis and pain.  In 1991, at 15 years of age, I had very painful periods and I was told that I “probably had endometriosis” and was put on birth control to try to help with the pain.  It wasn’t until 1998 that it was confirmed.  I couldn’t take the pain any longer and I had my first laparascopy to have it removed.  In 2000, I had another one due to chronic pain.  The doctor told me to have a hysterectomy.  I was unmarried and wanted to children so I researched what to do.  The pain was getting so bad that I contemplated suicide.  I prayed that it would go away, but it was a daily struggle.  I don’t think I’ve told my family this, but I actually packed up my apartment in Chicago so that they wouldn’t be left with having to deal with my things, I wrote goodbye letters to my family and tagged the boxes with who should get my things. Then, I researched how I was going to do it.  I won’t bore you with the details, but while I was researching I ran across an article explaining a new revolutionary surgery for endometriosis patients.  A Dr. Redwine in Bend, Oregon.  I felt hope.  The next day, I contacted them and they informed me how I could apply for the surgery.  I would have to be accepted.  Well, I was accepted, but I would have to pay for everything out of pocket. My insurance would not pay for me to go to a surgeon in Oregon when I lived in Illinois.  I prayed.  The church I went to purchased airline tickets for me and my mother to go.  They also took up an offering and presented me with a $4,000+ check that would help me with the expenses.  Long story short – I went to Bend, Oregon in July 2001 with my mom and grandmother (yes, she came too to support me!) and had the surgery.  The total cost was over $13,000 (not including travel), but over time God helped me (and my future husband) pay it off.  I did not have any more pain.  At least I thought I didn’t have anymore pain.  In August 2012 I started having the chronic pain I now struggle with daily.

In 2013 I had a laparoscopy (my 4th) to see if anything was found that would prevent us from having children.  This was a doctor in Nashville, TN.  He didn’t really explain what he had found.  Some endometriosis, but he didn’t feel that pregnancy was out of the question.  I kept going in and out of menopause that year and he pretty much told me not to come back because he couldn’t help me.  I would not recommend him.

Current Surgery

The pain on my left side was getting unbearable so I made an appointment to have my 5th laparoscopy.  I was dreading it.  I hate surgery.  I hate anesthesia.  I hate the recovery.  The boring days of laying in bed.  Speaking of boring days….I don’t know how people spend all day watching TV.  I am not a TV watcher.  I wasted hours of my life the last few days just trying to find things to watch.  Something I wanted to waste more time out of my life watching.  lol!  I’ve watched a few movies, started reading a book (Nothing is Impossible with God) and I’ve done a lot of Pinterest the last few days.  I can’t take much more of this recuperating.

Anyway, the great news is that there were no cysts.  NO CANCER.  It looked like cysts on the ultrasound, but it was actually endometrioma.  Which is often mistaken for an ovarian cyst.  He staged it as Endometriosis stage 3.  I’ve been this stage before.  I guess I’m glad it is no stage 4.  He told us that he did the dye test to see if my fallopian tubes were open and it failed in both tubes.  Neither tube would result in a successful pregnancy.  I had this dye test back in 2009 and it was successful.  So this was a sad blow.  He went on to explain (and the surgery report also says) that the ovaries were totally adhered to the uterus.  Which means…they were all stuck together.  In 2001 the doctor found that my bladder was adhered to my pelvic wall which was causing all of my back pain.  So, I guess the pain on my left side was caused by these adhesions.  The report also mentions that I have the lesions on my colon.  Specifically, the colon near my tailbone.  Where I have my serious pain all day long.  Sounds like my pain is endometriosis and not anything to do with cancer.  He was able to excise (remove) the endometriosis that was not on the colon and help the adhesions, but it sounds like (from the report) he did not remove them from the colon.  He also mentioned that the endometriosis has caused a “defect” in my colon.  I guess we won’t know more about this until we see him on the 18th.  He has recommended a full hysterectomy and spoke to Kevan privately about the seriousness of it.  Endometriosis is damaging my body and I also have a higher risk of ovarian cancer because I’ve had breast cancer.

Kevan didn’t tell me until a day or so later, but he also informed Kevan that the tissue has been damaged either by chemo or by the endometriosis (his report actually says obliterated) and it will not hold up to a pregnancy.  Most likely, my uterus would rupture and I would die…along with the baby.  As you can imagine this didn’t sit well with Kevan.

We would appreciate your wisdom on what to do next.  Both for if/when I should have a hysterectomy and if/how we should go about having children.  Kevan told me the other day that he is surprised I’m handling this news better than he is.  He, understandably, is sad that God has closed the door to us having children ourselves.  I am very blessed that he has made sure to tell me that he loves me even if I can’t give him his own children.  I am so grateful that his love for me has not wavered.  I have always been open to adoption.  I am not one of those women that have to have their “own” children.  Whatever child(ren) God gives us will be “OUR” children.  So, I am not as devastated.  I just feel like God has closed this door and I have hope that he will open another.  I pray God gives us the wisdom on what to do next.  We want to be parents.

We are going to get a second opinion on the hysterectomy.  I don’t like the idea of it….hate it actually, but I know women go through it every day.  I just didn’t want to be one of them.  It breaks my hear to think of it.  Thanks for reading my blog.  Sorry it was so long this time.  I quit taking the pain meds because they were making me nauseous and hurting my stomach so I can’t blame it on the drugs.  lol!

Like the title of the book I’m reading – the bible says, “nothing is impossible with God“.  I hold onto hope that there is a child for us out there.  Some days it is harder to hope than others (since we are getting so old and decrepit.  Ha!)….but today I choose to hope in the Lord and not grow weary.

endoSource:  http://www.endo-resolved.com

Surgery (6/11)

2 Jun

The surgery to remove my ovarian cyst has been scheduled for Thursday, June 11th.  The pain has been keeping me up at night so I gave in and scheduled the surgery.  😦  I also heard a rumor that if it was over 5cm they automatically do chemo…mine is almost 4cm…so I want it out before it gets any larger.  No more chemo for me!

I am not looking forward to my 5th laparascopy.  Dreading it.  Ugh. I hate that Kevan will have to take work off to be there with me at the hospital, but I don’t want to go without him.  I feel better with him there at the hospital with me.  Also, it will be at our small local hospital and he’s a little worried about not having it done in Nashville.  I’m sure it will be fine…..I’m praying!

So, on the 11th I’ll have the ovarian cyst removed and then on the 23rd I’ll be having the lipoma removed from my back.  What a fun June, eh?  lol!

My body pain has been better.  I’ve been using a pain reliever cream that the doctor prescribed that I rub on my skin.  My stomach cannot take any more pain pills. I’ve been having horrible acid reflux (at least that is what I think it is).  The cream doesn’t hurt my stomach.  🙂  Hoping the acid reflux will improve soon.  I’m popping tums, gaviscon, zantac like they are candy.  lol!  Those that knew me as a kid are probably thinking, “why should she be any different as an adult.”  I was a weird kid.  I used to “break in” to my grandmother’s fridge and drink her dimetapp.  I loved the grape taste.  It was soooo good.  I would eat her gavison pills like candy because I loved how they foamed up in my mouth.  It wasn’t just medicine.  I loved to eat lipstick and I drank my mom’s perfume too.  Haha!  I remember hiding under our basement stairs to drink it.  I must have had a vitamin deficiency.  lol!

Well, that is all for now.  I’m exhausted.  I might just go to sleep while the sun is still up.