This is documentation for the journal (which is why it’s long and boring), and an explanation of what’s going on with me for any interested party (there’s a tl;dr at the bottom).
Last January, I was struck down with severe abdominal pain. At the time, I thought it was ruptured ovarian cysts. As this pain continued to come and go throughout the year, usually so bad I couldn’t walk (i.e. couldn’t work, and ran out of money), I shifted my opinion and started to think it was a fibromyalgia thing. But eventually (late September, I believe it was) I finally got around to talking to my doctor about the pains, because I’d read about IBS (which is often a companion to fibromyalgia) and realized I had pretty well all the symptoms.
The doctor said that to diagnose IBS, we had to rule out several other things, and she referred me to a GI specialist. The GI specialist drew blood and scheduled me a colonoscopy. The latter had to be put off for financial reasons, and in the meanwhile I saw my regular doctor again. She was concerned about a certain hardness to my abdomen, and said she thought I might have a stool backup. She gave me instructions for OTC stool softeners and laxatives. I took those, and they helped with a constipation that had really only just arisen, but did not significantly change the abdominal pain.
I had a colonoscopy in December. The prep for that was very unpleasant. The results were clean, so we were one step closer to a possible IBS diagnosis. However, my regular doctor didn’t want to proceed with that until I’d had my follow-up appointment with the GI doc. That was right at the end of last month, and the GI doc was also concerned about the hardness of my abdomen. She ordered some CT scans. I had those on Wednesday. And guess what the CT scans found! Now we’re getting to the good part.
I have a 20cm mass in my abdomen that the GI doc described as “suspicious for ovarian cancer.” 20cm is almost 8 inches!! No fucking wonder I’ve been suffering for over a year! And all it took was one cat scan XD Anyway, she called me within hours of the scan to let me know and plan some things. Actually it’s a slightly funny story, so I’ma tell it just in case I think it’s funny to remember it later.
The pain has been building up this week, and after the CT scan I felt kinda gross because of the oral contrast medium. So I was lying down kinda dozing when GI’s call came in, and I missed the call. I listened to the voicemail and called her back and left her a voicemail (basically just asking her to call again). Barely had I hung up from that when I received a call from a completely unknown clinic whose name I didn’t catch when the caller introduced herself. She was a friendly and helpful receptionist, and she started talking about getting me in to see (what I heard as) Dr. Dead Man on GI’s referral. Dr. Dead Man, apparently, had a cancellation and would be able to see me on Friday (i.e. two days later), but I was not supposed to panic because I was getting in so early; it wasn’t because they were super worried and wanted to rush my appointment, only because there happened to be a cancellation.
So this was a little confusing, but really funnier than anything because I hadn’t talked to GI yet and knew nothing about this referral. I had to stop the nice receptionist and ask her to back up and explain exactly who she (and the Dead Man doctor) was. Turns out it’s Dr. Dedmond, but seriously. Would you keep that name as a doctor? XD Anyway, I was not supposed to panic about Dr. Dedmond’s being an oncologist, because she did other things too, so that didn’t necessarily mean it was cancer. I explained that I hadn’t even heard the results of the cat scan I’d had mere hours before, and the receptionist and I kinda laughed together about the course of events.
When GI called back, I told her about it, and she was all >_< because she hadn’t wanted them to call until after she’d had a chance to talk to me XD So, yeah, she told me about the mass and that it might be cancer, and said I needed to get a particular cancer-screening blood test done, and see Dead Man at the (now already scheduled) earliest possible time. So I got the blood test done yesterday, and saw Dead Man today.
According to Dead Man, it’s not possible to say positively that it’s cancer until the surgery (because, oh, yes, there’s a surgery), but that she’s treating it like cancer until it’s proven to be something else. The cancer-indicating values in the blood test were very elevated. Also, did I mention 20 freaking centimeters?? Yeah. It seemed clear to me based on everything this doctor said that she is convinced it’s cancer but just can’t definitively say so at this time. It also seemed clear to me that when she got the referral from GI, she did, in fact, rush to get my appointment in because she was super worried.
Confirmation of that came when she offered to do the surgery on Monday. Yes, in three days. Normally she doesn’t do any surgeries right before she goes on vacation, but she doesn’t want me to wait for two weeks, so she opened up Monday. Yikes, right? I was so relieved at so soon a date, I almost cried. Then I asked the all-important question: can I get my uterus and ovaries out along with the mass removal. And you know what she said? “That’s actually indicated for this procedure.” I nearly fell apart at the wonder and the glory and the joy of it; and she seemed a little relieved that she didn’t have to ‘break that news’ to me and try to console me for the loss of (had she known) organs I’ve wished away for fifteen years.
So this surgery will be five hours long, which will be by far my longest time under anesthesia, and will require a hospital stay of unknown duration. (In fact Dead Man said to me in a stern tone, “You will stay in the hospital for as long as you need to stay in the hospital.” XD) Apparently it will take months to recover, and I’ll be on chemo assuming it turns out to be what Dead Man suspects… so now I really need to get on disability (which they believe at Dead Man Clinic should be easy in light of this situation). Thank cousin Edgar Allan Poe that I’m on Medicaid!
What does this mean for stories? You knew it had to come to that. Well, I don’t know what my mental/writing state will be either in the hospital or during the immediate home recovery thereafter. I’m on later edits of FiFiF 17, and it even has a chapter title by now, and it sucks to be so close to done yet unable to work on it because of tremendous abdominal pain and everything else. I’ma load it into a Google doc before I go in for surgery, and if I’m anything like coherent in the hospital afterward, I’ll be able to do some editing on it on my tablet. But I’m making no guarantees on that or any other writing for the immediate future, because I may just be binge-watching something on Netflix instead.
And of course there’s always the possibility that I’ll die under the knife. If I do, know that I love and appreciate all my online friends and every reader I’ve ever had! If I don’t, I’ma have a massive scar, and will try to check in online as soon as I can!
tl;dr — It appears I have ovarian cancer. Surgery to remove mass, uterus, and ovaries on Monday 3/15, and hospital stay thereafter. Love to all!