Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Procedure........Not the One I Had Planned

Looks like there will be a procedure in my future that is not what I had planned.  My exchange surgery has been pushed to 7/25, but I am not sure at this point if it will actually take place that soon.  First off, I have been having some excessive bleeding (I know, TMI) every 2.5 weeks since the beginning of April.  I will say it has been a very unpleasant experience the last couple of months given the "menopausal" state I have been in since chemo.  During my annual visit to my GYN, and after discussing the symptoms, he decided to do an endometrium biopsy (ouch).  Fortunately, the results came back negative for cancer, but positive for an endometrial polyp in my uterus.  Since I am taking Tamoxifen, the presence of a polyp is of some concern, given one of the side effects of Tamoxifen is uterine cancer.  I will be having a D&C to remove the thickening of my uterus lining and an additional procedure to remove the polyp in a couple weeks.  This is all done outpatient, but I will be put to sleep during the procedures.  If the polyp returns, or this becomes a recurring issue, we will need to discuss other options.

In addition to the polyp, my thyroid was very underactive.  This explained the excessive fatigue and lack of focus/concentration I had been experiencing.  It may even be somewhat related to the bleeding, although the polyp is more likely the cause.  Since one of my sisters also has an under active thyroid, and it had been a few years since I had been tested, my GYN decided we should look into it.  Plus, he noticed my thyroid was larger than normal.  The normal level of TSH is 0.40-4.5 mIU/L.  My levels were at 47.00, and I was feeling pretty lousy by the time I got the blood results on 5/24.  I started taking a low dose of synthroid to help regulate the thyroid, and I can definitely feel a difference.  This will probably take a while to regulate since it is one of the largest glands of the body, and it controls a lot of things including hormones.  It can also affect the white blood counts, which were also a little low during my blood work.  Why all of a sudden I am having a thyroid issue???  Coincidence the timing is shortly after my treatment???  I am meeting with a specialist at Hopkins in August who might be able to shed some light on the issue.  I did have radiation to the lymph nodes in my neck (close to the thyroid gland).  Not sure if that has anything to do with this, but the timing does imply they are related.

I am hoping to have the procedure to remove the polyp in the next couple of weeks and am hopeful the thyroid will get regulated and hopefully stay that way.  Maybe it will jumpstart and kick back in gear on its own.  I will not be cleared for my exchange surgery till the thyroid is completely regulated, so I am not quite sure now when that will actually happen at this point. 

Overall, I am feeling better.  Still not full of energy, but the meds are helping.  I am not looking forward to the D&C, but hopefully it will help.

It's not always the easiest path once you become a breast cancer survivor.  Stories I read or people I talk to can be empowering while at the same time scare me and shatter my optimism.  During the last month (on top of all the other issues I was having), two specific people come to mind.  One bravely fighting an aggressive cancer that at the onset was so similar to mine it seems unreal.  Her cancer began to spread within a year after her original diagnosis.  7 years later, I watched her walk her daughter down the aisle and dance together during the reception.  I will be honest.  I was so happy and incredibly sad all at the same time as I thought about Charlotte growing up.  After we got home from this incredible wedding, I learned of another women who received a terminal diagnosis of breast cancer over ten years after she was originally diagnosed.  She was gone just a few days after learning her diagnosis.  I went to a dark emotional place where thoughts of either situations happening to me clouded my mind.  But, after the tears subsided (Steve was very happy about this) and the fear passed, I realized that although there are times it is difficult to stay positive, good things come from hearing these stories.  It fuels my passion for change and helps me focus on what I can do to stay healthy.  Getting to meet the incredible woman who has been fighting for years, trying chemo after chemo, and seeing how she has stayed positive through it all, was incredible.  I would not take back meeting her for anything.  I have said this before, and I will say it again.  She, and women like her, are the true heroes in the fight against breast cancer.

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