Today was, hands down, the worst day emotionally so far. Yesterday I went and did my pre-op exam and had a consultation with my oncologist. The consultation, unbeknownst to me, was actually an exam and a consultation. Turns out you can still have a mild panic attack even if you’re on Xanax Not only did Dr. Mutch spring the physical exam on me, he went one step further and took the exam to an all new orifice. Nice to meet you too, sir. What was quasi-humorous, was that when I asked the nurse to stay in the room with me while I got dressed, she said, “I’ll stand on the other side of the curtain to give you some privacy.” What?! You just watched the doctor do a VERY thorough exam of my undercarriage. I think we’re past privacy.
I was still a bit shaky when we sat down in Dr. Mutch’s office. My dad and sister-in-law were with me. I will say that, initially, I would’ve rather eaten live cobras while standing naked on an iceberg than discuss my vagina with my father. But there’s a lot of va-jay-jay talk going on these days, and I’ve come to terms with the probability that my dad already knows I have one… so… I guess it’s no big deal if he hears how my doctor plans to fix it. Admittedly, it does make me cringe ever so slightly when he uses the word “vagina” and is referencing mine. But he is an integral part of my support system, so I suppose a slight cringe every now and then is tolerable.
Right. So we sat across from Dr. Mutch for almost an hour as he went over the various procedures (complete with sketches) that might take place. That’s right, I won’t know if I have a uterus until I wake up from surgery. I did love, though, that he shared my case with at least 2 other fabulous surgeons- one in his practice, the other at Memorial in New York. He also presented my case to a tumor board. My case, apparently, is super interesting given some important factors:
1. Technically I have stage 1b2 cancer, which means, essentially, that it is confined to the cervix and is over 4cm in size. And at 4.6cm it’s very close to 1b1 (a tumor that is between 2 and 4cm in size).
2. I want to have kids in a big time serious way.
He said that ordinarily with 1b2 cervical cancer, they would do a radical hysterectomy and call it a day, but given the 2 factors mentioned above, my case to have a trachelectomy (where just the cervix is removed and is generally not done on 1b2 patients) is a hot topic. It sounded like all 3 surgeons would approach the surgery the same way: Test the margins, if they’re clear, do the trachelectomy, if they’re not, do the hysterectomy. And in either case, there’s a chance I’ll have to have radiation anyway. I’m fairly content with this, given that he and 2 other surgeons said the same thing. I have an appointment with my second opinion doctor on Tuesday, just for peace of mind.
So about today… I’m sad and angry and scared and overwhelmed. I feel so out of control of my body. Ultimately I know that all of this is happening with perfect timing and for good reason, but right now I’m in my bed, crying, and typing about it. A less rational version of me would scream about how unfair this all is. And why me? And why now? But I’m trying so hard to hold on to my spiritual beliefs. To stay strong and to know that eventually I will feel normal again. That some of life’s experiences may not go exactly as I’ve always imagined they would, and that’s ok. Tears make those concepts slippery, though. And right now, it’s very slippery out there.