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My passion is decorating with vintage and antique finds on a budget. There was a time when I wouldn't have dreamed of going into a goodwill. That day has passed. :) My second love is scrapbooking all those special family moments for posterity, and I recently set up my very own scrapbooking room. I have three beautiful children, two sons and a daughter as well as a sweet (albeit full blooded Yankee) daughter-in-law and two grandgirls. I also enjoy gardening, meeting new friends and relaxing on my patio in the evenings with a glass of fine wine. During the summer of 2001, I spent two glorious weeks at Kennedy Space Center. I've been somewhat of a space geek ever since....

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Ovarian Cancer: Everything Can Change in an Instant

When you're diagnosed with cancer, the first emotion is denial.  I went into the "NO, NOT ME" mode the very instant the words Granulosa Cell Tumor came out of my doctor's mouth.  I've felt like a million dollars with bountiful energy the last few years.  I eat really well, lots of fresh fruits, nuts, salads, and veggies with virtually no bread and limited red meat.  The girls I work with always tease me about my healthy lunches.  I don't even keep cookies or candy in the house.  In this world of overweight Americans, I weigh only about 6 pounds more than I did when I was 21.  I saw my mom's gynecological oncologist for my yearly check-ups for years after she did my mom's cancer surgery, all the way up to her retirement in early 2011.  The only area that I struggle with is my stress level.  I tend to internalize my feelings.  I hold them in where they fester.  When people make decisions that I don't like or approve of, I don't speak up and say how I feel.  This is the area I intend to work hard on.  Now don't get me wrong, I intend to continue to document all of my fun home improvement projects on this blog so don't feel that you have to run for the hills.  Ha

I finally got in to see the gynecological oncologist last week.  He is the only one in our metropolitan area since my mom's doctor retired.  His office was packed with women when we arrived and it didn't appear that he had even taken a cursory glance at my file.  He said we needed CT scans of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis and I had to remind him that they had already been done.  He looked on his computer and said he didn't see them and asked me what they showed.  I had to tell HIM that they were all clear.  Things went downhill from there.  He was extremely noncommittal and kept saying "whatever you decide."  He gave me three treatment options:  1.  Watch and wait with blood work and CT scans every 3 months,  2. Have a second look surgery in order to stage the cancer,  or 3. Assume that cancer cells remained behind and begin chemotherapy.  I said that I'd read study after study that concluded that chemotherapy doesn't work well for my type of slow growing cancer and he agreed that was true.  My sister asked which option he'd pursue if it were his wife and he said probably a second look surgery.  I asked if he felt my cancer was related to my mom's and how this might impact my daughter and sisters and he said he felt it was a fluke and totally unrelated since my mom's ovarian cancer was the epithelial type, not a sex chord tumor.   He presented my case before the tumor board on Friday and called late Friday to say they had the same recommendations except they added obtain a second opinion.  I have an appointment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas for August 14.  I WILL remain positive.  I WILL remind myself that this cancer can remain in remission for 20 or 30 years before it returns.  And I will live my life!


Terri

8 comments:

  1. Terri, you will be in my thoughts & prayers! I think getting a second opinion is a great idea. Your writing sounds as though you're keeping a positive attitude and that's so important. Hang in there & big hugs to you!

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  2. good for you to be so involved and up front with your Doctor, I thought he was sounding like a bit of a jerk at first but your sister knew exactly how to deal with him, I will keep you in my prayers, get your second opinion, you are so powerful, you are an inspiration,

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  3. I've never been to your blog before... just saw your post from Traci's at Beneathmyheart.net. My Mom also died of OC and you've prompted me to get a long overdue exam.
    Please don't feel you ever have to explain yourself as if this Cancer is your fault. Many cancers are influenced by our lifestyle choices, but I've never seen any evidence that OC is one of them, and I've never seen any evidence that bread causes cancer of any sort. Many cancers respond well to vigorous exercise, (ie breast), but who knows with OC. Baby powder, that is often mined in conjunction with asbestos, has been adversely linked to it in many serious, double-blind studies. The caffeine in coffee has been linked in a Positive way; the More you drink the Better! ( That's good news to me!)
    Please don't blame yourself...my Mom led a very healthy lifestyle, in general. If her Dr. had taken her concerns more seriously she may still be here today. I'm glad to see you going for a second opinion.
    My thoughts are with you and I will be following you progress.
    CTD

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  4. I worked in a hospital for 4 years and truly, you have to be your own advocate when it comes to your health. If you're not comfortable with a Dr. find another one and, when it comes to cancer, there should always be 2nd, 3rd or however many opinions sought!

    The very best of luck to you and you can beat this! I completely agree with the other commenter that, in no way, should you blame yourself. But, the fact that you have led such a healthy lifestyle has only made you that much stronger to beat this thing! My youngest son's GF has been battling cancer this year, only 18 years old...it's an ugly monster but stay strong and stay positive!

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  5. Wow, I'm sitting here in shock. Thank goodness you are asking questions and so smart to take someone along with you. Wow, still reeling. Just know you are in my thoughts. Crap, crap, crap.... dammit! :) I'd hug you if you were close enough.

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  6. You are on my prayer list as of this moment. There is nothing scarier than hearing the BIG C word, is there? You are young and positive and full of "get-em" attitude. I have a feeling that you will beat the Cancer Devil at his own game.

    After working at a hospital I will say that I don't think that is the doctor you need. Please keep looking! God bless you, Terri. xo Diana

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  7. Hello Terri, it's a pleasure to meet you. I am so sorry to hear you are battling ovarian cancer. You seem like a very strong, healthy woman who is completely in charge of living a very productive life. You can beat this! I am an ovarian cancer survivor. I found a lump on my abdomen in 2000, not long after I married my second husband. What a whirlwind of emotions.
    I had a complete hysterectomy and started chemo. It definitely wasn't fun, however I am here today, cancer free.
    Go for the second opinion, and try to find a more sympathetic doctor. You are in my thoughts....I am your newest follower. Hugs, Linda

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  8. Just saw your post - you will be in my prayers. Hang in there and know that there are so many of us who will be lifting you up daily!
    Hugs,
    Lisa

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