Once again, I’ve been lagging in my blogging posts — and just after I’d had a breakthrough of sorts on the matter of what it means to live as if crucified in Christ. This was partly because I needed to think things through a bit more to see where the breakthrough might be going… and mostly because I’ve been having an… adventure. A situation. A test… Pastor John started teaching about waiting a week ago Sunday and sure enough, I soon got an opportunity to apply.
So here’s the long story. It actually starts back on the first Saturday of February, when I had some spotting. Since I’ve not had a period in years, one spot is enough to warrant concern, so on Monday I called my OB/GYN. I got an appointment for Thursday of that same week, but since the office happened to be in the process of transferring their records over to digital I was advised that the wait would be long.
Thursday, when I was about to leave with plenty of time, I went to bring Quigley in and found him completely covered with dust and grass so I had to wipe him off. Then I locked myself out of the house with the car keys inside. When I finally got myself in the car and on the way, it was fifteen minutes later. As I left the house I suddenly wondered if I’d turned the oven off — if the house burned down with Quigley in it, that would be awful! But I was already late, so I gave it over to the Lord and went on.
Traffic was heavy and on the way to the doctor’s office, the car ahead of the car ahead of me ran into the car ahead of it… So everyone stopped. The two drivers got out — it was only a fender bender, if that, but here we were stopped in the inside lane and I”m thinking, “What IS this, Lord?”
Suddenly the lane beside me opened and I pulled out and was on my way. I arrived, found out it was going to be at least an hour’s wait to see the doc, so I asked if I could go home and turn off the oven. Sure. I went a different way home, but when I arrived the oven was off and there was a message from the doctor’s office: Dr. S had stepped out to do a C-sxn and we would all have to reschedule. They tried to reschedule me for almost three weeks later, but I persuaded them to give me a slot the following Monday. That appointment went as planned, and I left with orders to get an ultrasound. I made the appointment for the following week and then scheduled another appointment over the phone to see the GYN the week after that.
The ultrasound showed some fibroids and a thickened uterine lining, so it was decided I should get an endometrial biopsy. I’ve already had several of those over the years. The day I was supposed to get it, I came in two hours later than I was supposed to because over the phone I thought the woman had said 2:40 when she’d said 12:40. Or maybe she said 2:40 when she meant 12:40. In any case another reschedule, this time for Thursday — and that one actually happened. Dr. S said they’d call when they got the results of the biopsy.
The following Monday, which was a week ago Monday, at 5:30pm the nurse practitioner called to say that the biopsy showed “complex hyperplasia with suspicious cells” that might be cancer and that I was looking at a hysterectomy. That was okay, because I had already decided if the biopsy came back anything but normal I was going to do the hysterectomy anyway. All those organs are useless now and good only to grow cancer in, so better to get them out. The only thing was, my doc was referring me to another doc whose name sounded familiar. I asked if he was an oncologist and the NP said yes. As it turns out, his office is in the same place where I had gone with my mother for the last three years, just across the hall from where she had seen her doctor and gotten her infusions of chemotherapy. Which was kind of unnerving.
The NP was quite exercised on the phone about how I had to get in ASAP, that “tomorrow” (a week ago Tuesday) the other doc’s office would call to schedule the appointment and “we’re talking days here not weeks,” she said. If I didn’t have an appointment by the end of Tuesday, I was to call her on Wednesday morning and she even gave me her special number.
So Tuesday I didn’t talk to anyone on the phone, not wanting to tie up the line, nor did I leave the house for fear of missing the call. Of course no one from the doctor’s office called.
Wednesday I started calling the special number to tell the NP I had no appt. No one answered. I tried the “Site Operator.” She transferred me to “Lydia” but I only got her voice mail and left a message. No one called me back. I tried the special number again, but no one answered. I called the site operator again and got a different person who said she’d go down to talk to Lydia and have her call me back. No one called me back.
Finally just before 5pm I called the site operator again and somehow got connected to Lydia. She said she’d talked to the oncologist’s office that afternoon and they said they were just getting ready to call me. But no one had called while I was home and no one had left a message while I was walking Quigley. She called the oncologist’s office again then called me back to say they’d called and left a message — apparently on someone else’s answering machine. She said they’d call me first thing in the morning.
Finally, on Thursday, they called and my appointment was scheduled for Tuesday the following week (which was yesterday at 3pm). Once I had the appointment settled, it was amazing. I just crashed. I didn’t think I was that anxious about it, but there was definitely a thread of tension. Plus, the conversation with the NP was hurried and she was kinda freaked, so later I wondered… was it more dire than it seemed? Why refer me to an oncologist? Did I have cancer? If so, why wasn’t the oncologist’s office calling?
Well, had to put all that in the Lord’s hands and really believe those promises, which mostly I did. But once I got the appointment, as I said I crashed, suddenly very tired and about an hour later, noticed that Quigley’s ears were all thick and hot and heavy with blood. He was getting allergies from the wind we were having, and shaking his ears, which was making them fill up with blood. Bear had the same problems and one time ended up with a huge blood pocket in his ear flap that required surgery to “quilt” the skin of his ear back together — followed by extended recovery time. One vet even suggested we cut off his ear flap… but we have hounds for a reason — we love those floppy ears.
So here I was facing potentially the same thing with Quigley, in the middle of everything else. Well, put that in the Lord’s hands as well. Certainly I have no control over any of it. Thankfully, over the next few days following our vet’s counsel over the phone, that eventually resolved with Wal-itin and some steroid cream for the rash… Finally all was quiet.
Then, this last Monday night, the night before my appointment with the gynecologic oncologist, I suddenly had the thought that maybe I shouldn’t be so relaxed about it all. That maybe it was far worse than I imagined and I really was going to have to have chemo and my hair fall out and feel awful and all that… I surely didn’t want to go in there thinking it would be nothing when I actually had this huge cancer and was going to need chemo, etc. So I Googled endometrial biopsies and endometrial cancer and scared myself silly with all the descriptions of where the cancer could spread from the uterus. To egg me on, I got an email to a Caring Bridge entry from a friend who is going through chemo right now — the other entries have been largely upbeat or just informational. This one was about how it was his worst week ever for chemo treatments… No coincidence on that timing.
Thus, by my own idiocy, I ended up having something of a battle that night during Carnal Hour — the time between 3 and 5 am when I wake up to go the bathroom and suddenly any scary or worrisome things in my life seem incredibly real and imminent and the power of God weak and faint; sometimes the next morning when I wake up and think back on it all, it seems like I went temporarily insane because the things I was concerned about don’t even make any sense.
Anyway, day before yesterday was the appointment. My hubby met me at the office and we were there almost three hours. I really like the doctor. He was very thorough, very knowledgeable and experienced, gave us lots of time to get all our questions answered and was very accommodating as far as the hospital I want to have the surgery done at, which is not his usual one.
He doesn’t think that my situation is “ominous” but the complex hyperplasia is definitely pre-cancerous, and the suspicious cells are, I guess, basically cancer cells (sometimes he referred to them as such, but other times as cells that were becoming cancer cells). He thought I was at the beginning of a process that would definitely lead to cancer and so we have to remove the whole thing — uterus, cervix and ovaries.
He’ll do the surgery laparoscopically, which is minimally invasive, and he’ll remove the uterus intact through the vagina so as not to spread the cancer around in the abdomen. They’ll send it off to pathology while I’m still on the table, get it examined to see if there is any sort of invasive growth they didn’t anticipate, in which case the doc can take a lymph node sample while he’s in there.
This type of procedure usually has a recovery time of a day, but requires I stay in the hospital overnight. After that my main source of debilitation will be the muzzy-headedness from the pain meds.
I’m waiting now for them to call me with the surgery date, which hopefully will be next week. He’s going to try to coordinate with my regular GYN, but if that ends up too difficult I told him I’d be fine with just him doing it, as long as I can go to my hospital of choice. All the experiences with my mother have made me quite particular about which hospitals I like and which ones I don’t.
In any case… I’m still waiting… 🙂