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Friday, January 13, 2017
The Story Continues: Met with Dr. C. (gynaecologist) on January 4. He'd also left me a voicemail on Jan. 3rd, saying that the biopsy had showed cancer, and that he wanted me to know before he saw me, so I could come in with any questions. That's civilized: I imagine a lot of patients, especially me, would be too surprised by the news to think of questions to ask at the time. When I met with him, Dr. C. began by saying "More good news than bad news." The adenocarcinoma in the endometrium hadn't spread to the cervix (the likeliest place), and may be cured by surgery alone. The biopsy was unclear, however, if the cancer was the aggressive type, or the indolent (slow-growing). Because I'd had another cancer, the surgery (hysterectomy/oophorectomy) would also require some harvesting of lymph nodes in order to stage the cancer.
This is where Dr. C. showed his sterling character in full, by saying "This isn't a procedure I'm comfortable doing" -- meaning the lymph harvesting -- "so I'm going to send you to one of two surgeons in Victoria who specialize in gynaecological cancers." More chatting followed, and Dr. C. said I should expect to hear from the surgeon in a week or so, and his guess was that surgery would happen in the next three to six weeks.
Side note: dang dang dang. This meant I couldn't with good conscience accept the long-awaited temp job with the government, because I couldn't honestly commit to being available for four weeks in a row. I know, I know: likely I'll wait more than four weeks for surgery, etc. But I knew I'd feel worse if, in three weeks, I had to say I'd be leaving for medical reasons. Two people, friend and family, I told this to thought I was insane. Possibly. But insane with INTEGRITY, I tell you.
Cutting to the chase: I waited until today, Jan. 13, to call for an update on the surgical referral. Had to leave a voicemail. When my cell phone rang at 4:40, I was gobsmacked to find it was the surgeon's clerk. Their working hours amaze me, but I admire them for knowing how anxious cancer patients get, and for calling past office hours. I meet with another Dr. C. (the surgical oncologist)in the morning of Jan. 24, at the B.C. Cancer Agency, my old chemo stomping grounds.
Now what bets do I make? I say I get surgery in the next month, followed by more chemo, or my first radiation treatments, or both. I can't shake this doomed feeling, but aside from being terribly impatient with normal Victoria life, I'm not too downcast. Tell you what: if either of these cancers had stricken my brothers, I'd have been crushed. I get to go first. This is only sensible.

Sunday, January 01, 2017
Here we go again. So, after the ultrasound and meeting with the gynecologist Dr. C., I went in for a uterine biopsy on Dec. 15. Side note: totally cool experience, including anaesthesia that I came out of like awakening from the best nap, ever. Dr. C. told me he'd follow up with me on Dec. 29, but that the biopsy had gone well.
December 29 came. I was grouchy with a cold I'd picked up on Christmas Day from Lorraine's daughter and son-in-law. Dr. C's clerk phoned to say that the doctor himself had a rotten cold, and could we reschedule one week? I didn't mind, and carried on getting ready to go downtown, as I had an appointment with my beloved GP, Dr. K., and assumed she'd asked me to come in to discuss the biopsy results as well.
Here is why I love Dr. K: she came in, opened my file, and said "I don't have good news." She told me that the biopsy showed endometrial adenocarcinoma. Briefly we talked about me seeing Dr. C. the next week, and I thanked her for telling me. She remarked that it was good I'd mentioned my odd bleeds when I'd seen her for a Pap, and that it was too bad I hadn't brought it up sooner.
"In my defense," I said, "since my regular blood tests didn't show any change in tumour markers, I thought I was just going through a drawn-out menopause -- and I didn't have anything to compare that to." Like the good person she is, Dr. K. agreed. She wished me the best of luck.
So, despite being wrong on just about every occasion I've predicted my own medical outcomes, here goes: I'm betting that Dr. C. will discuss surgery with me, and that this means hysterectomy and oophorectomy, followed by testing of sentinel lymph nodes to determine spread/staging. Then chemo and/or radiation, or (if it's too far advanced) palliative care. I hope I remember to ask him why there was no change in tumour markers if another tumour was setting up house? Perhaps this is an independent cancer, and not a met from The Big Sneaky, or CRC.
Before getting the latest bad news, I'd been feeling rather "end of days," i.e., fleeting thoughts over Christmas that this would be the last one. In keeping with that, I called my dear old Dad and asked if I could come back to hang out with him and Lorraine for New Year's. It has been a lovely visit, complete with storming seas, walks with Dad, and delicious food. If it is indeed my last time hailing a new year, it's been a good one.