What To Do While Waiting For Cancer Treatment / Part 2
I am still waiting for my surgery.
In the meantime, I do art. I use these beautiful markers that have tips like paint brushes. I have two crochet projects. I catch up on TV show in chunks. Thankfully my husband has a real knack for knowing when I fell asleep during any given episode of any given show. The next night he will pick it back up where I left off. May sound simple, but you have no idea how awesome that is! I never lose a storyline. It’s good for my brain.
In other news, I have a million tests and appointments this week. My job has been so cool about letting me bank my hours and use my days to get to these appointments cared for. I’ll be getting a CT scan of my pelvis, a mammogram, blood work, urology consultation, medical clearance for surgery, and finally, I developed a swollen lymph node this weekend so get to see if that is something horrible or maybe just an infection from the last surgery. WTF? This little body is in peril.
Last week I got to review my pathology and learned I have a genetic syndrome that makes me 80% more likely to have pelvic cancer. Oddly this made me feel better. I was sort of kicking myself about because I was thinking perhaps I did not care for myself well or some such shit. (I know, it’s all bologna. The conversations we have in our head are not always logical.)
I have my brainiac sister doing research on what I can do to better care for myself after the surgical menopause comes on. It’s a little scary. Nature would have allowed my body to go through menopausal stages when the time was right. I mourn the loss of that natural process. I seek to just do the best I can to take good care of myself. Without the option of hormone replacement therapy, my options will become pure holistic means– like exercise, food, and herbs I think. My sister is the most intelligent researcher in my family so having her help is a blessing.
I am also having all sorts of normal but difficult feelings about sex. I have the most amazing partner and the best sex of my life with him. I know I am lucky to have this kind of relationship. We are brutally honest with each other. He lives with chronic pain so our sex is this amazing combination of rough and compassionate. Every time we have sex I have thoughts on how this may be the last time sex will feel like this. My body is going to change and I fear the unknown. I try to recognize these thoughts, acknowledge them, and then shake them off. It’s all speculation and speculation is a horrible waste of my mind right now.
Due to the never-ending wait, It looks like I will have one last cycle before I lose my uterus. I’m very private. It’s awkward writing about it but I feel like I want to tell you everything. I want future and past survivors to know the truth about uterine cancer.
When I was younger I had a true hate for my cycle. It interrupted “my life.” The pain, the products, the expense. In my early 20s I read a book called Cunt: A Declaration of Independence by Inga Mucio. While I did not chime with everything the author had to say, there were some lovely messages about the female body and its cycles that really resonated with me.
Loving, knowing and respecting our bodies is a powerful and invincible act of rebellion. -Inga Mucio
I grew to appreciate my cycle and listen to my body. I became more kind to myself. (Every woman deserves to have that kind of love and care inside herself and for herself.) I grew to understand that my cycle was not interrupting my life, it was simply part of my life. Making peace with my body made my cycle much easier. I had less pain and brighter days.
I think the day my last cycle arrives I want to celebrate. Maybe I will get a velvet red cake, red balloons, and solicit all red images and gifs from all my friends. It will be my chance to celebrate this little uterus while she’s still with me.
(Photo of my inner left arm, with the words “Force of Nature” written in script.)