June 21, 2016

Lifestyle ~ Menopause | Hormones | Hysterectomy | Ovarian Cancer

Menopause | Hormones | Hysterectomy | Ovarian Cancer

The Present  -  My hysterectomy is scheduled for June 23rd and I'm currently 56yrs old. It all started about 3 month ago when I felt some pain on and off on my right side. I was about 2 month out from my annual GYN appointment so I decided to just wait until then because the pain wasn't that bad. To be completely honest, I was in the gym exercising everyday and my life was pretty normal. During my exam, the doctor felt something on my right side and decided to schedule an ultrasound. About 3 days later I got the call with my results, the ultrasound showed a very large mass covering my right ovary.

Menopause | Hormones | Hysterectomy | Ovarian Cancer

The doctor then preceded to schedule more test.... a biopsy and a blood test. About a week later I received my results from both tests. The biopsy came back negative for ovarian cancer but the blood test came back positive with low levels of CA125, which is the antigen that determines ovarian cancer. Having both a positive and a negative, they approach this diagnosis with extreme caution.

Menopause | Hormones | Hysterectomy | Ovarian Cancer

Menopause | Hormones | Hysterectomy | Ovarian Cancer

The next recourse was to have me see a GYN ONC, a gynecologist specializing in ovarian cancer. I had to wait almost 3 weeks for my appointment and the day finally came. During the consultation we went over all of the test results and the doctor gave me the rundown. During surgery, a complete hysterectomy will be preformed. When they remove the mass, they will preform a test on the spot called a "freeze" to determine if there's any cancer cells. If there's any, I will be placed on a chemo drip for 7 days. Since my CA125 levels were pretty low, there's a plus and a minus chance that there will be any cancer.

The Past - Around the time I turned 48, I begin having what is known as peri-menopausal systems. I was still menstruating monthly for about 4 to 5 days and I was starting to experience night sweats. By the time I turned 50, I was having both hot flashes and night sweats. It was pretty bad, I was getting hot flashes almost every hour and I was very uncomfortable. Around the same time my husband and I were riding bikes at the beach and my front tire hit something that caused me to loose control and fall. My x-rays showed mild arthritis and some degenerative bone loss in my 3 lower vertebrata. I was sore for a very long time and my healing was very slow.

After consulting with some of the elders in my family, I discovered that there's a history of degenerative bone loss and arthritis in my family tree. Since there wasn't any history of ovarian cancer in my family, I decided to go on hormones. I begin taking estrogen (Estrogel) which is in gel formulation and just recently switched to (Minniville) which is a patch. I've been on progesterone for the entire time which is formulated in a cream. All in all, i've been on HRT (homorne replacement therapy) for a total of 6yrs.

The Future -  As I sit in my thoughts while writing this post, I feel at ease going into surgery. Knowing that my levels are really low, I'm praying for a positive outcome after all is said and done. The oncologist told me that the mass was probably caused from the hormones and after surgery, to completely wean myself off of them within 6mos. I'm hoping that all of my symptoms will have subsided and I won't have them going forward.... we shall see.  Thank you for reading my story and I hope it helps you in some small way on your journey into menopause.

Update September 1, 2016 - After my hysterectomy I was dianogised with Stage 2 Ovarian Cancer. During the surgery they were able to remove all traces of the cancer seen by the naked eyes, but I'm currently undergoing chemotherapy  for the next six to eight months to make sure they didn't miss any. Currently, i'm having chemo 3 times a month, I've been really strong throughout this entire journey but chemo is a whole different level.  Because the white blood cells get really low and i'm more susceptible to germs and infections, I'm very careful when i'm out and about, sometimes wearing gloves at the grocery store to not touch the carts and even wearing a mask when sitting in close proximity to people as in church.  I'm still going to the gym regardless of what people say. Exercising and working out is a part of my lifestyle and i'm loss without it. I'm very careful in the gym, which is well ventilated by the way, I normally work out by myself and i'm wearing gloves and I also carry a large towel to lay over any exercise equipment that I might sit on.  My diet has been very good and I haven't modified it in any way. Prior to the surgery, I had lost 25lbs and i'm very happy with the results so I want to continue on this healthy path. There's a lot of restrictions on vitamins, minerals that I can take so I've practically cut them out for now.  I'm drinking a healthy glass of green pressed juices daily to keep my body replenished with what I can't take by mouth. Please keep me in your prayers that I get through this chapter in my life successfully!