The Scottish Saltire

The Scottish Saltire

Monday, April 7, 2008

Captain, We Have An Invader!

Knowing that I was headed to Scotland this fall, I made sure that I got all my medical checkups taken care of before I left Tucson. Being a military veteran, I get my medical care at the V.A. hospital. When I went in for my annual *peek and poke*, as a friend of mine calls it, my doctor discovered that my right ovary was enlarged so she sent me for an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed a mass on the ovary that measured 6cm. There are two possibilities. Possibility #1 is a benign cyst. A fairly common occurrence in women, although 6cm is pretty big. Usually a cyst will burst on its own long before it gets to 6cm and the mother ship never even knows it had an uninvited passenger. Possibility #2 is (enter black cloud) ovarian cancer. "Hmm.." says I, "that can't be good." The Dr. wanted to send me for an MRI but there wasn't time to get it done before I left so I promised to see to it as soon as I got to Pittsburgh.

I have to admit that I did freak out in the beginning. I called my friend David, in Phoenix, who had been recently diagnosed with cancer. He listened to me cry and comforted me with words of understanding that only someone in his situation could give. Then he made me laugh. David and his wife Nena have been my very dear friends for over 20 years. I was still concerned after we hung up but I wasn't crying anymore. Besides I still had a lot to do before my impending departure so I just kind of filed it away at the top of my mental to-do list once I got settled in Pittsburgh.

I had my first appointment at the V.A. hospital here a couple of weeks ago and explained the whole thing to the new doctor. She looked at all of my records and scheduled me for another ultrasound and an appt to see a GYN doctor afterward. These both happened this past Friday. After a conference with the GYN doctor and the radiologist who read the ultrasound it was decided that I should have a CT scan done right away. The mass had grown from 6cm to 9cm in about 7 weeks. A "simple" cyst (as opposed to a complex one, I guess) has thin walls, clear fluid and no echo sounds. I struck out on all three counts. So they whisked me over, gave some not-too-bad stuff to drink, stuck an IV in me so they could inject some dye and passed me through the O-ring a couple of times. That big white machine whirring away with me sliding through it always makes me feel like I'm in 2001: A Space Oddessey. Then back I go to see the doctor again who proceeded to do another *peek and poke*. After all was said and done it was decided that I should see a gynecologic oncologist at Magee-Women's Hospital here in Pittsburgh. I should get a phone call today sometime letting me know when my appt at Magee is scheduled for.

I know, for sure, that I have to have surgery. And I suspect it will be very soon. I was hoping they would be able to do a laproscopic procedure but no such luck. My little invader is too large to pull out through a little hole without the risk of rupturing it. They have open me up ("Cut me Mick") to get to it. They will remove both ovaries (take two; they're small) and biopsy a couple of nearby lymph nodes. All of which will then be sent to Pathology.

Sooo....We really won't know anything definitive until then. I am of two minds. One side of me is concerned. Who wouldn't be? But then there is the smart-ass side of me that says, "No, no, no...this will just turn out to be a benign cyst. It can't be ovarian cancer. I don't have time for cancer. I have plans!" May I remind my gentle readers of the title of this humble journal? It says Journey to the Highlands, not Jouney to the Highlands by way of Ovarian Cancer. Hahaha! Sometimes I really crack me up! OK, now I'm just getting silly. It's 5 in the morning and I've been awake since 2 so I guess I'm getting a little slap-happy.

I debated about whether this was an appropriate subject for the blog but my girls have taught me that the blog is for me. It's my journal. If others find it interesting and want to follow along that's great but don't write it for other people. Hence the entries concerning the Irish Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of Arbroath. They are important to me. So if my little invader turns out to be just a benign cyst then I'll use the blog to whine about the inconvenience of it all. If it turns out to be wearing a big C on it's little invader name badge then I will probably have a lot more to say as time goes by.


Anonymous said...

Did they do a CA125

Connie said...

They haven't done a CA125 yet. At first I questioned the need for one since the test can give false negative or even false positive results. But the Dr. said it would be good to have one done just as a baseline to compare to later if the need arises. So I'm sure there's a needle stick lurking on the near horizon!

Anonymous said...

I e-mailed you at a gmail address this morning. I hope to hear from you.

Nikki said...

This little guy obviously lost his way and is standing there looking at a map. He'll realize his error and skidaddle when he finds out you have no room in your schedule to deal with him!