I want to thank you all for your outpouring of good wishes, support and prayers. You have no idea how much they meant, and how they stayed with me when I walked into that Cancer Center last Friday!
I have no real answers yet. I most probably do not have cancer. The odds are in my favor. But there is no sure way to know until they do surgery and biopsies. My risk is higher than we thought. I have genetic factors that increase my risk dramatically, my ethnic background, my close family history…my mother, grandparents, my Great Aunt, a 1st cousin. Next week I am going for a genetic test and they will do a family cancer tree, to get a better idea of the odds. In the meantime, Grant and I have considered the options and decided to go for the surgery as soon as possible. It’s safer not to wait… just in case.
I am going through my life as if everything is the same, except it’s not. Underneath there is a worry, a fear, and perhaps, who knows, a cancer. It’s a sobering and feels rather bizarre to live with. I am so unsure of whether I should speak about these things or just keep it to myself. Does anyone want to know what this feels like? I am not sure I would. But maybe someone else out there is going through a similar time, and maybe knowing you are not alone will help. Maybe writing will help me.
Part of me is embarrassed. Isn’t that strange? You don’t walk around saying, “I might have cancer.” These are not things one speaks of. And I don’t want to be the person anyone feels sorry for, and I don’t want to wear my vulnerability on my sleeve. Few people know. Last night at dinner, with a largish group of co-workers at a business conference (I am away, trying to live my life as normally as I can) we were talking movies and somehow someone brought up Gilda Radnor, and how funny she was, how she died so young, “Ovarian Cancer, wasn’t it?” Yeah, it was. I know because there is a Gilda’s Club at the Cancer Center where I went last week and am going back to next week.
“Gilda’s Club is a FREE cancer support community for people living with all types of cancer and their families and friends. We provide support groups, lectures, workshops, and social activities as a supplement to medical care.”
I am thinking that if I don’t have cancer, I might get involved. Maybe I could offer some help and support. If I do, I will certainly get involved. Me at Gilda’s Club? That feels kind of surreal, but this is changing my life. If I don’t have ovarian cancer, if my current tumors in my uterus are benign, which they likely are, I am learning that I have a significantly increased risk of having breast cancer in the next 30 years or so. If I test positive for the gene, my daughter will need to be tested too.
I have not even told her. Who at 23 needs to hear that? In fact, we have not told our children anything except that I am seeing Dr’s, having surgery, and everything seems fine. It does seem fine. I will most probably not have cancer. They don’t need to know at their young ages that I might.
I had a restless night alone in my hotel room. I did not sleep well. I woke up thinking about wigs. If I must have chemo and my hair falls out, will I be able to get a decent wig or will I opt to wear a turban? I envisioned myself in a nice business suit with a turban. It’ not quite working for me. I am pretty attached to my hair. It’s strange the things we choose to worry about!
My husband would say I am torturing myself and to, “Stop thinking about things you don’t need to worry about!”; “Deal with today and you can deal with tomorrow when it comes.” He’s right, but anxiety doesn’t quite work like that!
Nurses can be amazing people, the right person who’s blessedly there for you at the right time. When I went to the Center to see the Oncologist last week his nurse came to take my paperwork, and introduced herself. She was very kind and warm. She said “Hi! I’m Mary. How are you?” and I said “Hi I’m Sara. I’m fine, thanks. She smiled and said “Liar!”. And then I smiled for real. It was reassuring to know she knew. It’s important to have places where you don’t have to be “fine”.