Poised and ready. This is how I felt when I went for the hysterectomy on April 24. Pathology led us all to believe that the cancer had been contained inside the uterus and that I should be followed closely, looking for any changes that might crop up. Thank goodness Dr. Steiner ordered a baseline CT scan so that she'd have a starting point for following me closely over the next months and years. That CT scan revealed a 2.3 x 2.1 cm mass next to or part of the lymph nodes in the right pelvic area. She didn't want to wait for two months and do a follow up CT; she recommended a needle biopsy.
I had the needle biopsy on June 17. That test tossed me information that the mass was atypical suspicious for adenocarcinoma. I needed a second surgery which took place on June 25 because there was no point in waiting and watching it.
That second surgery removed the right vaginal pelvic mass which is consistent with metastatic endometrial adenocarcinoma. From the pathology report: Robotic surgery findings: on path report specimen A and C are the same tumor approximately 2 cm. On the right side of the vaginal cuff towards the cul de sac - free floating glandular nodule= metastatic endometrial adenocarcinoma. The right pelvic lymph nodes were not enlarged and were neg for malignancy 0/3. Cancer, you're caught now. A follow up plan of treatment, radiation and chemotherapy, will get you. Period.
I have my radiation oncology appointment on July 21 at 1 p.m. I'll know all about what radiation will do for me and to that cancer after this one-and-half-hour consultation. I will know when I'll have radiation, how it will make me feel, how many times I will have to have, stuff like that. I'm ready to catch it and go right on, kicking cancer outta my life.
Chemotherapy is in my future, too. I don't know the consultation appointment yet--no phone call as I ready this post. I know that they will call soon and set it up. I will then know what chemotherapy will do for me and to the cancer. I asked Dr. Steiner if I would lose my hair. "Yes," her reply. I'm ready.
This photo might make it look like my treatment is out of my control, but it's not. I know that right now I am a novice at dealing with the impact of this treatment on me, physically and mentally. But, I've read what so many of you have written about yourselves or others you love who have been through these treatments, about how they dealt with it. Thank you for sharing and for your encouragement.
You know that I'm bound and determined to handle it the best that I am able. I see myself being ready, being positive, doing all that I can to get this cancer out of me. And I'll have the help that I need from so many people who love me and care for me that I won't let the potential for success get away from me. I need y'all more than ever and thank you so much for being there for me.
Together, we'll carry this cancer off the field, out of my life.
Here's what I found online about the visit with Dr. Steiner today:
In summary, Ms. Hanson is a very lovely 67 yrs old with stage IA grade 1 endometrial adenocarcinoma with minimal invasion with lesions in her adrenal gland and right pelvic sidewall. Discussed the patient and her son Lamont that the adrenal gland is likely benign. However, the right pelvic sidewall lymph node was consistent with metastatic uterine cancer consistent with her primary. It is still well-differentiated. I discussed the case with her surgeon Dr. Barnes and there was no morcellation. I cannot explain why her well-differentiated minimally invasive uterine cancer metastasized to the right of her vaginal cuff within 2 months. We discussed that it is actually not in her lymph nodes but it is to the right of the vaginal cuff. Discussed that it was compressing her ureter but when removed the ureter appeared to normalize in caliber. There are clips to mark the tumor as it is an usual location. (Me, talking: The clips are to let the radiation oncology folks know where she found it which I am particularly pleased that she left those teensy, staple-like pieces of metal in me which will be there forever. I want that radiation point as particularly as possible.)
Discussed referral to medical oncology and radiation oncology
Here's what I put on Facebook after I got home from the doctor's office and the grocery store:
Dr. Steiner gave me the pathology report the mass she removed is consistent with metastatic endometrial adenocarcinoma. There was no malignancy in the three lymph nodes she removed. Neither Dr. Steiner nor anyone she consulted has any idea how that mass came to be in my pelvic area. She checked with the hysterectomy surgeon to find out if any cancer cells could have escaped from the uterus during that procedure; she was assured that nothing in the procedure could have caused this to happen. It does say on the pathology report that this tumor, that mass removed, resembles that seen in the hysterectomy specimen, which means it is the same kind of cancer. What it boils down to is that what is going on with me cancer-wise is unexpected, unexplainable, and rare. Therefore she recommends aggressive treatment with chemotherapy and radiation. I do not know the order of these treatments, when they will begin, or how long I will have to do them. I have already had a call from radiation oncology with an appointment set for Tuesday, July 21, at 1 PM. The consultation appointment and the treatments will be at Kaiser Interstate which is very close to where I live and work. The chemotherapy is done at that building also which is great. I will get a separate phone call from medical oncology for that appointment/consultation. Radiation oncology recommends that you have someone with you to help you listen to everything and remember it. Lamont will see if he can get off work and take me. I asked Dr. Steiner if I would lose my hair and she said yes, The chemotherapy will make that happen. Well, I've always wondered what it would be like to have really short hair at my age, now I know what it is like to have no hair. I am facing this straight on, I'm not breaking down, I'm not giving up. Thank you for every single prayer, for all of your love and concern. It does me a lot of good to read your comments and emails because doing so helps me believe that I am the person you believe me to be.