My doctors think it is likely.
I thought I had a gut bug last week, but by last weekend it felt much more like a kidney infection. I was weak and light-headed with pain and discomfort that reminded me of the kidney infection I had twenty years ago.
On Sunday I walked over to the hospital ER department to get checked out, thinking I’d leave with a prescription.
Instead, I left in an ambulance. They took me to the airport and medivac’d me to Whitehorse, our capital city.
The local doctor on call found a mass he could feel in my abdomen. My heart rate was elevated. My white blood cell count was elevated. They gave me an IV of saline solution and a strong antibiotic and some pain killer. Over a couple of hours, my heart rate returned to normal but the doctor wanted me safely transferred to Whitehorse for a CAT scan and testing, rather than risk getting sicker on the 6 hour drive.
While I took the quick way to Whitehorse, Jeff went home, took the dog to the Humane Society for boarding, packed a quick bag for us, and hit the highway.
Since Sunday, I have had:
- CAT scan
- 3 ultrasounds, 4 if you include the internal wand.
- 4 vaginal exams
- 2 Pap smears and 4 swabs
- 1 rectal exam
- bags and bags of antibiotic by IV in my hand
- gave vials and vials of blood each day
- 2 blood thinner shots for clot prevention while being inactive
By Wednesday, it was clear I have a 14cm mass on an ovary. The result is an abdomen the size of a 20 week pregnancy.
I also have a kidney infection. If it wasn’t for the kidney infection, the mass may not have been found for awhile.
I had a special blood test taken for a cancer screening test that is being processed down south. This will give the doctors much more insight on what I have. The doctors were pretty blunt. Ovarian cancer is serious business and there are several kinds. The kind young women get is often treated with surgical removal and chemotherapy. However, the kind that older women get, ages 50-70, is quite terminal. I’m 42. Somewhere in the middle. Yeah… rough news.
The gynecologist/surgeon I met with yesterday said he is encouraged that the mass is large and movable. The most terminal ovarian cancer usually has smaller masses. It sounds like I should be hoping it is found to be “borderline”. If so, he will remove it soon in Whitehorse.
If it seems to be some serious cancer, or if the signs are there, the removal surgery will be in Vancouver with a team of cancer specialists. They need to know if the cancer has spread, or if it spread to my ovary from somewhere else.
Either way, I’m looking at surgery in 2-4 weeks.
I was released from the hospital yesterday (Wednesday) and allowed to drive home with Jeff. I’m on just Cipro, a prescription for the kidney infection.
How am I doing? I feel like I have a kidney infection. Kinda weak, some discomfort, but sleeping in my own bed, for more than an hour at a time was soooo needed (hard to sleep in a hospital). My white blood cell count is normal again. My blood pressure is good. Lungs are good.
I was a little weepy when the doctor said I could have a quickly terminal cancer. Like… what? What do I do with that information? I feel so normal.
Now, I basically can’t think much about that. It’s too abstract, terrifying, and not something I can do anything about but freak out, so I won’t.
Instead, the one thing I know is I’ll be having surgery soon. We stopped at a furniture store and bought a power recliner. We have just a couch here, and there is no way I’d be able to get on and off that after abdominal surgery, so we’re getting ready.
I’m off work for the rest of this week to heal up from the kidney infection.
I’m waiting for my results of the cancer screening, which will come by phone on Friday or Monday.
Update for anyone landing on this post in the future: The diagnosis turned out to be uterine cancer – endometrioid adenocarcinoma.