After a long week of waiting and imagining the worst we finally had our follow up meeting. The biopsy had come back and it was confirmed, stage 3c cancer. The cancer had started in my ovaries, moved to the lining of the abdomen and then on to the liver. It wasn’t until later on when I asked to see my CT scans that I found out I also had a three cm tumour next to my rectum (which explained a lot) and another 2-3 cm tumour near my ribcage. The good news was that none of my other vital organs had been effected and it hadn’t spread to the lungs.
Then we were told that 50% of the people diagnosed with my type of cancer survive for 5 years or longer. I’ve decided not to listen to statistics, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about cancer since my diagnoses it’s that everyone’s story is different. No one is ever the same. You can’t tie these things up into a neat little box.
The next piece of news was a blow and it hit me hard. “I’ve never seen a case such as yours that has ended in fertility” my oncology surgeon said. No babies. My partner and I had spent the last 18 months having organised sex, calculating dates and peeing on sticks. When I fell asleep on the operating table for a keyhole procedure I’d expected to wake up to some answers. They were going to help me conceive, we were going to find out why I hadn’t gotten pregnant and fix the problem. All of the staff and the specialist at the fertility clinic had been so confident that we would succeed but the words from this man’s lips took all of that away in a heartbeat. All that build up just to come to this.
For some reason I found the fact that we couldn’t have kids harder to deal with than the cancer. I think it’s because for so long I had placed all of my energy into the idea of starting a family. I know that my man would have been a fantastic Dad and it still upsets me now that I can’t give him a baby. It’s like the future we’d envisaged is no longer possible and now we have to re-calculate.
After dropping that bomb the conversation moved swiftly onto my treatment plan. 6 rounds of chemotherapy with a full hysterectomy in-between. All so much to take in.
I went home and called my Mum. Then I started to break the news to friends and family. It all became so much more upsetting when I started telling people, more real. I felt like the bearer of bad news wherever I went, whoever I called. I’d enter a room knowing that I was about to ruin someone’s day. The more you love someone the harder it is to tell them, I would cry, they would cry until you suddenly become desensitised and tell people without flinching, like you have a heart of stone. They’re hearing it for the first time inconsolable and I’m seemingly indifferent. I’ll talk about this in a later posts as the love and support I’ve received from my boyfriend, family and friends has been immeasurable and warrants and entire section of its own. One blog wouldn’t do them justice.
I’ve gotten used to the idea of having cancer now although I’m confident that one day my body will be rid of it. Knowing the type and location of my tumours has helped. They think I have a fast moving form of cancer.
The good news is that fast moving cancers respond well to chemo. That said the doctors aren’t 100% sure that it’s not slow moving, apparently there’s some signs of calcium in the tumours which sometimes indicates a slow moving form. This would make sense as I’ve been experiencing pain in my abdomen and pelvis for over a year now. I suppose there are pros and cons to both types. Fast moving has a 25% cure rate (different form the survival rate) whereas slow moving cancer will always be in your body in some form. There’s also a good chance that I have two types of cancer at once which is a bit of a shit. Either way the treatment plans the same. Chemo here I come.