Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Stage 1C

Two and a half weeks ago I had surgery to remove my ovary and tube and Abner, the tumor. At least, that's what I thought they were removing. I mean, they did remove those things. The left ovary, rather than the right, which is weird. And Abner is no more. Flash frozen and sliced, he's been run through a myriad of pathology tests and is now destroyed.

Side note: This is sort of sad, as Abner, the tumor, in a jar (with googly eyes) was destined for a life of adventure if only they had given him to me in a jar.


It turns out that Abner was not just any old tumor, but a granulosa cell tumor. All my research of this type of tumor proves that it is pretty rare, and even more so in a person my age. The tumor is a hormone (usually estrogen) producing tumor, that built up around my ovary, and as a little present, spread to my small intestine. They discovered that during the surgery, and were able to remove all presence of Abner, the ovary, and the tissue of the small intestine, before they closed me up.

From the research, it looks like all granulosa tumors are classified as cancer. This seemed at odds at what we had been told: that it was benign, and so I was pretty confused. However, when I went into my follow up appointment today, I was told that in fact, I am stage 1C. Meaning, stage one, ovarian cancer*.

Lucky for me, all the hard work has been done. The surgery removed all the cancerous cells from my body. The likelihood of it coming back seems to be low enough that the doctor doesn't think I'll have to do chemo, though, he will be presenting my case to a tumor board on Monday, and I'll hear back following that meeting to know how they recommend I be treated. (His nurse believes that the chemotherapist will recommend it.)

The chemo that I would be put through is not the type of chemotherapy you see on the movies where people are puking and hating their lives worse than they are hating the cancer. It's the "good chemo", and so, again, I say, I have been through the worst of it.

Which is why as everyone who so kindly comments for me to "stay positive" and that they are sending thoughts and prayers my way, I wonder if the Cancer Club of people who have really been through the ringer: the ones that have been fighting aggressive cancers for years with the "bad chemo" and surgeries and losing their hair, their strength, their money; the ones that have been through so, so much heartache and pain and misery . . . you know, those guys, are going to show up and say, "Stage 1? STAGE 1?! That's nothing! That's hardly cancer!" I would agree with them. And cower in my boots, and prostrate myself for their forgiveness for every time I intend to use the cancer card (like, such as skipping out on work today... #sorrynotsorry).

It's just a touch of cancer. And it's mostly gone. Chemo or not, I'm fine. The prognosis is about the same as every other healthy person who has to leave their house. So fear not, little ones. I'm still not worried, or nervous and you shouldn't be either. I'm not down in spirits and I don't need too much encouragement to continue being my regular old self. (Everyone likes a bit of flattery now and then, so please, continue to call me beautiful and witty and "a real catch" and all of that, but don't worry about needing to reassure me that I'm strong and I'll beat it--in my eyes, it's been beat already!--Abner, the tumor-foe is no more!)

*I had to Google a little further, and found the following:
Following is a description of the various stages of ovarian cancer:
Stage I - Growth of the cancer is limited to the ovary or ovaries.
Stage IA - Growth is limited to one ovary and the tumor is confined to the inside of the ovary. There is no cancer on the outer surface of the ovary. There are no ascites present containing malignant cells. The capsule is intact.
Stage IB - Growth is limited to both ovaries without any tumor on their outer surfaces. There are no ascites present containing malignant cells. The capsule is intact.
Stage IC - The tumor is classified as either Stage IA or IB and one or more of the following are present: (1) tumor is present on the outer surface of one or both ovaries; (2) the capsule has ruptured; and (3) there are ascites containing malignant cells or with positive peritoneal washings.
http://www.ovarian.org/types_and_stages.php

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