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Collapse - Cancer stuff

What a horribly busy day - and it isn't even halfway over.

I had to drop mom off at the hospital, drop Michael off at summer camp, Matthew and I had appointments with our 'talking doctor' (that's what Matthew calls our psychiatrist), then I had to take Matthew to summer camp, go join mom at her doctor's appointment, drive her home to McKinney and pick up lunch on the way home. Soon I have to pick the kids up from school and we've got to look at some used sparring equipment.

While at the psychiatrist's office, I broke down on him. We started talking about cancer, the results of my genetic testing, waiting on mom's testing, waiting on my colorectal cancer genetic testing, second opinions, possible plans, all sorts of things. I broke down in tears. He had a good analogy - it's like a sword hanging over my head all of the time. Problem is, I can't live the rest of my life waiting for the sword to fall. I can't just sit around WAITING to get cancer. However, I can't make any rash decisions. I need to get all of this other information, and then a second opinion, before I decide on anything. So I'm in limbo. In two weeks I also have to get the CA125 and an ultrasound to check on Ovarian cancer (for my one, lonely ovary) since that is related to the BRCA2 gene mutations as well.

I think the main problem is that in my mind I have a plan. Problem? My husband doesn't agree with it. He says that they don't know enough about the particular mutation I have to definitively say I will get cancer, and that even with an 85% chance, that is a 15% chance that nothing will happen. Why get such an invasive procedure (prophylactic mastectomy and immediate reconstruction) for only a chance that something will happen. I'm on the other side that the odds are against me, yet I can put the odds back in my favor rather than spending the rest of my days wondering when it will happen and will we catch it in time.

You know what? I don't WANT to go have mammograms every six months and CA125 tests and sonograms every six months and always stress waiting on the results. I don't want to wait and see if I'm the one they catch early or the one they dismiss as dense breast tissue until it is too late. Everyone seems to think that my breasts and my remaining ovary will be some great SHOCK to my system to lose. They just aren't that important in the larger scheme of things.

Seeing my kids graduate and go on to college. Seeing them marry and have kids of their own, or not. Seeing them develop into adults. Growing old with my husband. Not being too sick to enjoy life with my family.

THOSE are the important things to me. This is just non-essential flesh to those goals.

Yes, it's major surgery - but I would do that to make a 15% chance of NOT getting something into a 10% of getting it.



( 13 thoughts — Whatcha' think? )
Jul. 24th, 2006 06:57 pm (UTC)
As someone who has been there... I totally agree with you.

Jul. 24th, 2006 07:04 pm (UTC)
My Two Cents Worth
I whole heartedly agree with you!!!

My desire to be there while my son grows up is the main thing that got me though the hell of the last year - as it did while the Big Guy was going through his treatment. And like you, I want to spend as much healthy time with my husband as possible.

As I saw it, it would be selfish of me not to do this. My son and my husband deserve to have me there for them. We got all the information and then made our own independent decisions.

I support your decision to go ahead with the surgery if that is what the doctors think is the best option.

When it comes down to it, when you are battling health problems and are making decisions which affect your mental status and your quality of life, and which might have an impact on your very survival, those are YOUR decisions.
Jul. 24th, 2006 07:56 pm (UTC)
Re: My Two Cents Worth
Thanks. *hug*

See, we really HAVE to get out of here for a while.

Did the BG say what dates were ok?

Jul. 24th, 2006 08:08 pm (UTC)
Re: My Two Cents Worth
lol. You're not going to believe this. The clerk of the court screwed up, so the dates we thought were okay for me to be gone are the dates he's been rescheduled for Jury Duty. He's going to try to meet with the clerk today to get it all straightened out.

*bang head here*
Jul. 24th, 2006 09:03 pm (UTC)
*bang HIS head here*

He didn't stop by the jury duty office today. I'm ready to strangle him.
Jul. 24th, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC)
Everyone seems to think that my breasts and my remaining ovary will be some great SHOCK to my system to lose. They just aren't that important in the larger scheme of things.

Vogon and I have discussed this. He cited a bunch of anecdotal evidence of women he knows that were depressed after having mastectomies. I rebutted with stories from my family -- my great-grandmother only had minimal reconstruction and kept bags of birdseed in her bra afterwards (which fascinated me as a little kid) and my grandmother asked her surgeon if he could take her remaining breast off so she could work in the garden without a shirt on.

We still butt heads on ovaries, though. I'd gladly give him my reproductive plumbing and see how he likes it. (I have cyst-magnet ovaries and endometriosis.)

Yes, it's major surgery - but I would do that to make a 15% chance of NOT getting something into a 10% of getting it.

That's a really tempting figure. I hope you're able to get your second opinion soon.
Jul. 24th, 2006 07:57 pm (UTC)
I think that your 'female parts' mean more to some women than others. Me, since I have next to no hormones anyway, they just don't define me as a woman. I would have about the same sense of self without natural breasts. It's not like they wouldn't reconstruct them. As for my remaining ovary - we are done having kids, and I don't have any hormones ANYWAY, so it's not like that's a major thing.
Jul. 24th, 2006 10:09 pm (UTC)
Barring a drastic reversal from a second opinion I agree 100% with you that it is better to reduce your risk from 85% to 10%. As your Dr. said, you have this sword hanging over your head...it's a constant worry of waiting for the other shoe to drop...if you can remove just one shoe that's dangling there it's worth it.
Good luck, and best wishes in whatever decision you make.
Jul. 24th, 2006 10:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks :)
Jul. 25th, 2006 12:59 am (UTC)
Yes, it is major surgery, but I like your odds better if you go ahead and do it.

I understand how you feel. My kidneys may or may not carry me through to grow old with my husband or have grandkids. I may be on a transplant list someday, and then again I may not. It's the not knowing for sure that SUCKS!!!!

If I had a guaranteed way to better my chances, I'd go for it.

Good luck in whatever decision you make. {{{hugs}}}}
Jul. 25th, 2006 04:23 am (UTC)
I'm not sure what I would do in your situation. I'd probably want to talk to women who had the surgery and find out what their issues where - then I could make a choice.

Whatever you decide-you have great people around you to support you.

Jul. 25th, 2006 03:57 pm (UTC)
Jul. 25th, 2006 05:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks :)
( 13 thoughts — Whatcha' think? )