Cancer is a word that no one wants to hear. Yet sometime the choice is ignored.
I had endured sever lower back pain for months and had been asking the doctors what could I do to get some relief. I had begun to think that it was only in my mind, when finally the nurse practitioner acknowledged my plea. Although she was not certain as to why, that no matter what I tried, I could not seem to get any relief from the back pain. I was to the point that I was ready to agree to anything in hope of finding some sort of release. The pain had become so intense that I often felt nauseated and would break out into cold sweats. So when she ask me if I would agree to back therapy, I agreed.
It was my last day in therapy. I had been taking back therapy for six weeks. It did help me to feel better; however, the pain was still there.
On that particular day, the clinic was working short of technicians, so I was waiting, waiting, and waiting. Tired of waiting, and extremely bored, I lay there on my back, staring at the stark walls and hoping someone would soon appear to prepare me for my therapy.
For some reason, that I cannot explain, I decided that I would message my belly. Nature has gifted with excess fat around the middle; therefore, when my massage therapy began, my hands were confronted with soft, flabby flesh. Beginning at the groin and the sides near my back, I placed my palms on either side of my belly pulling upward toward the naval. At first I was unhappy with the excess weight but all was normal. Then, I noticed that the below the soft, flabby flesh my right palm focused on an area that was hard and unyielding, and somewhat tender.
At that point, I noticed that the area felt as though I had a salad bowl in my stomach. It did not hurt, but it was sensitive to my touch.
When I arrived at home, I discussed my new found concern with my husband.
Promptly he said, call the doctor.
So I telephoned my General Practitioner. When I told the nurse that I had found a hard spot in my belly, she said I should come in right away and see the doctor .
When I talked to the doctor, he ask me to explain my findings. He did not even take the time to examine me. I was sent directly to get a sonogram. From there I was scheduled for an X-ray, then blood work, and finally a cat scan.
The next day the doctor’s nurse telephoned me to say that they had made an appointment for me to see an Gynecologist.
It was determined that I had a tumor in my right ovary and it needed to be removed. The Gynecologist explained the prognosis and we agreed that all the female organs would be removed. Therefore I was scheduled for a complete hysterectomy.
Following the successful operation, I was told that the tumor that I had discovered in my right ovary was benign. However; cancer cells were found in my left ovary and were contained in my left ovary. The cancer was diagnosed as stage 2 and chemo was not so much needed but strongly recommended to hopefully prevent the cancer cells spread to other parts of the body.
I was scheduled for six chemo treatments. But, before my first chemo treatment, I developed a urinary tract infection. That was horrible. After several days, the urinary tract infection was in control, then I started my chemo treatments.
The first chemo treatment was a breeze; however, after the second treatment three weeks later, I began to feel really tired and felt chilled and very cold. My energy was gone. When I went to the doctor, I was admitted to the hospital and told that I had a staff infection.
My abdomen had to be opened and drained, then I started to hemorrhage, after which I was given two units of blood, plus a series of anti-biotic by IV. The incision had to be left open in order to let the wound heal from inside to out.
Since the incision had been left open, my sister came to stay with me. She would clean and repack the wound with a special kind of gauze twice a day. It was about six weeks before the wound was completely healed. However, it has been almost two years since the wound healed; but it continues to be very sensitive, and it is painful when I cough.
The chemo therapy as terminated while I had the staff infection. But as soon as I was better, the chemo was again resumed. I had one more treatment and my white blood count was to high and my red blood cells were to low. I found myself back in the hospital, again.
Thus forth, before, my wound healed, my blood count became extremely low. Chemo causes some patients to react in that manner. But now, my heart was racing, my blood pressure had begun to sky rocket and I was running a low grade temperature.
Again, back to the hospital for another week. I was given accelerated IV doses of anti-biotic. I was told that due to the chemo, my veins had begun to collapse. Therefore, I was stuck time and time again in search of a good artery for which to insert the IV needle.
Due to all the complication, after I had had five treatments my chemo was stopped.
It has been one year and six months since I had my first surgery and I am back to normal. Every four months I go for blood work. My last blood test indicated that I am cancer free.
The moral to this story is: Ladies, please, familiarize yourself with your body. Every day we are reminded to check our breast. But it is equally important to routinely check your abdomen. No one knows your body as well as you. Know it!
Ovarian cancer cannot be detected by a pap smear. Ovarian cancer can sometimes be found during a pelvic examination; but not always.
If this story has peaked your interest, then I encourage you to discuss your concerns with your Gynecologist.
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