I wasn't on my death bed. I wouldn't need to have chemo or radiation to give me a chance. Hell, the first doctor never even mentioned the "C word". He said to take some pills and have another biopsy in a few months, and we would just go from there.
I should have asked more questions of the doctor, but he was new to me, and he just didn't have that "I'm willing to spend time to answer your questions" feel about him. So, I made the appointment for the next biopsy, took my prescription and left.
Over the next couple days, I started thinking about what was going on with me, and wondering what my diagnosis really meant. I began researching what the pathology report said, and wondering if I was misreading it. This can't be right. The doc acted like it was no big deal.
I really began to question his plan of care. "Why were we waiting to act?" "Couldn't things worsen?" "Did he not listen to me at all?"
Then I questioned myself. "Why didn't I ask more questions?" "How could I just accept it and leave?"
and then, "He's the doctor, why am I questioning him?" "I should just do what he says."
But, I couldn't stop feeling like something wasn't right. I wasn't comfortable with that doctor, and I needed to see another one. But, there was no guarantee that a new doctor would listen either. So, I began the prescription and planned to wait until the next biopsy.
After a week, I had severe cramping and extremely heavy bleeding. Because of pre-mature menopause, I hadn't had a period in 2 years, and for the last 5 years they had been very mild. I was not at all prepared for this. The cramping was so severe I could barely stand up straight, and I was so exhausted, I felt like I was a zombie walking through the motions of my day. On my days off, all I did was sleep. There was no way I could deal with 3 months of this, I had to get a second opinion.
My dear friend referred me to The Women's Group of Tampa. She raved about her experience with them for the last 10 years, and insisted that it would be a different experience. And, she was so right!
In all my past experiences, I was already in a backwards gown trying to keep a thin piece of paper wrapped around me to keep my butt from getting frost bite when the doc would walk in, shake my hand and promptly tell me to lay back, scoot down, put your feet in the stirrups and open up and say "aah."
Not this doctor... Nope! This gynecologist actually met with me with my clothes on! And, she listened to me! We spent close to an hour talking so she could get to know me, and make sure she was providing me with the best options. Never before had I experienced such great service from a doctor!
She explained that the option provided by the other doctor was valid, if, I was trying to have more children, but given that I was already menopausal the best treatment would be a total hysterectomy. She then referred me to Moffitt Cancer Center for the procedure. The first doctor had never mentioned the "C word," but that was what we were dealing with. I had very early stage Uterine Cancer, but the pathology report was incomplete, so we didn't know how fast it would progress.
Moffitt's care was amazing. They, too, took the time to make me feel comfortable and explain all my options, and their recommendations for treatment. In the end, I had a total hysterectomy and they removed my tubes and ovaries. They found no progression in the stage, so I wouldn't need any further treatment. But, there was one complication...the back side of my uterus, (the part you wouldn't get with a biopsy,) the cells on the back side of my uterus had grown so much, that my uterus had actually fused to my rectum. The surgery took and extra hour to complete the delicate removal of those cells without perforating my colon.
Given the added complication, I can't help but think "What if?" "What if I hadn't questioned my doctor and got a second opinion?" "What if my friend hadn't referred me to her doctor?" "Would those cells have broken through my colon?" "Would we have caught it in time?" What if...
But, the surgery was successful, and I'm cancer free. I'm very grateful to be one of the lucky ones to have caught it early. I'm grateful for my friend who encouraged me to see her doctor, and I'm grateful for the fabulous care I received.
I've learned from this experience, and I can't stress enough the importance of trusting yourself!
Trust yourself! If something doesn't feel right, ask questions, and don't let your doctor shut you down!
Trust yourself!If your doctor isn't listening... don't be afraid to find another one!
Trust yourself! No one knows your body, like you do!
♪Trust yourself to do the things that only you know best
Trust yourself to do what's right and not be second guessed♪ (Bob Dylan)