Yesterday was an all day doctor affair.
I met the Gynecologist who will remove my ovaries. There are 3 choices for me: leave them alone and await natural menopause, have them taken out or get a shot once a month for the inevitable future. The surgery is 45 minutes long, she’ll go in through my bellybutton and one incision on each hip (roughly). The cons of doing the surgery are that I have to be put to sleep (and the surgery is minor), I will be forced through menopause and I cannot have hormone replacement of any kind. Hot flashes, mood swings and vaginal dryness, were a few of the side effects I have to look forward to. The surgery will be after Thanksgiving.
Here’s an article about the theory behind removing the ovaries. It’s an aggressive option, but has proven successful (less likely cancer recurrence) for others with estrogen positive breast cancer. It also links to the study that my oncologist told me about, one of the reasons I’m pursuing this treatment option.
The drug they’ve put me on, Tamoxifin, also simulates menopause. It’s giving me hot flashes, cramps and some issues sleeping. Once my ovaries are out, they will change my drug to something else, something for post-menopausal woman.
I had infusion which was uneventful.
I saw my primary surgeon, Dr. M, for a peek at my incisions. I hadn’t seen her in person since late May, though we talk frequently via text message. She stuck a Qtip wand into the open wound, which released a decent amount of serum. She would pack the wound with gauze to help the healing process, but recommended I talk to my plastics team before doing anything. She thinks the healing process is 3+ months long. I’ve got a hole the size of a golf ball in me, right where my lymph nodes were removed. The skin all around that area is thin and damaged from radiation, she predicts the healing process to be very, very slow.
On my way back home I stopped at the plastic surgeon’s office for a wound check. He wasn’t happy about the whole Qtip incident, and would prefer the hole to continue to drain uninhibited. He, too, thinks the healing process will be a very long one. He suggested that we wait another 6 weeks, and see what happens. If I can’t heal on my own, perhaps we go back at the scar, with surgery, and create a new seam, using some of the skin from my armpit. I told him about my meeting with the gynecologist, who had mentioned combining any other surgeries together with the ovaries, since her procedure is so quick, and requires anesthesia. He was all over that idea and we agreed that would be the best way forward. Next week Nurse Shelia will help me coordinate that.
6 more weeks of wearing maxipads in my bra and emptying the hole. I can manage that. There’s an end in sight.
I did get accepted into the Mindfulness course at Wellness House. Starts tonight. Looking forward to finding some mental balance in all of this.