I follow Brian’s cousin’s wife’s blog closely (mostly because I’m amazed by her healthy transformation and for her marathon training updates). I was recently happy to read that she is just about as proactive about her health as I am. Sometimes, I feel that I’m the only crazy one out there!
I still cannot believe the randomness and luck with which led to my breast cancer diagnosis. I’ve been done with treatments for a little over a year now. And I have to admit, my life rocks! I am just out and about having too much fun (especially this summer). But in the back of my mind, I sometimes have those “what if” moments. Believe it or not, one of my fears is ovarian cancer – the OC. This is not a new fear spawn out of my experience with breast cancer. This is a concern I’ve had for a while since an OC diagnosis is so hard to come by (or is often brushed off as another ailment) and most often gets diagnosed in the late stages of the cancer. I can usually brush those fears/thoughts aside quite easily. I have had a magnet on my desk at work for years from the DE Ovarian Cancer Foundation. It lists several “symptoms” of OC. And it just so happens that I’ve been experiencing yet ignoring some of these “symptoms” for a while. Until about a month ago…
A 38-year-old sort of colleague/peer of mine landed in the hospital because she had ignored symptoms for almost a year. She has had her share of major health issues over the years which further complicate her situation, but it seems that she’s now in the late stages of ovarian and/or uterine cancer. Well, hearing this news brought tears to my eyes and had me in my OB/GYN’s office 2 days later. I explained my “symptoms”: basically getting full fast when eating, feeling bloated, abdominal pain and peeing about once every hour. I also asked the nurse and doc if they thought I was crazy! Thankfully, their answers were “NO” and they praised my decision to call them and set up an appointment.
It is easy to see why OC can often get diagnosed as something else (i.e. irritable bowel, indigestion, UTI’s, etc). However, given my medical history and the fact that I have an awesome doctor who listens to me, we both knew that we should look into my crazy problems a little bit further. I had a urinalysis done that day and then ultrasounds 2 days later. My urinalysis and cultures came back normal. I probably just drink a lot of water and my doc says there’s nothing wrong with being well hydrated.
So, one Friday afternoon in July I found myself gearing up for some more poking and prodding. Note to readers: being well hydrated is technically a good thing, but when you’re like me and your bladder just fills up fast naturally, waiting for that ultrasound can be quite uncomfortable. I didn’t even drink the 32 oz of water that they recommend because I knew I just wouldn’t need to. Unfortunately, having tests done on a Friday also makes for a loooong weekend (and Monday)! However, first thing Tuesday morning, my doc’s nurse called with the results. Things looked okay. I just have about a 3cm cyst on my right ovary. Cysts can burst, go away on their own or just hang out there. From what I read about ovarian cysts, I am not too concerned, but I agree with my doc in that we need to stay on top of this. One of the possible causes of ovarian cysts is Tamoxifen – the drug I take every day to block the estrogen in my body. So, I’ll go back for more ultrasounds the end of August.
Despite the reassurance from my doc, I still sometimes feel like I’m going crazy. Or sometimes, I wonder if I’m imagining these symptoms. Then, I take my mind back to November 2010 and remind myself that I didn’t just imagine the marble in my boob – it was actually there and taking immediate action may have just saved my life! So, as Kristen mentioned in her blog post, be sure to check in with yourself and talk to your doctors! I am really happy that I have so many wonderful and professional doctors that I trust and just generally like!