Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Please tell me I'm over-reacting

Not one to really hold back, I've decided to share some rather personal info (as in personally personal) on here...pretty much what I've always done although this features the girls only obliquely, as part of my fear for the future than for anything tangible. I've decided to do this mostly so this blog can continue to do what it has always done for me: provide a place to document our family history, provide a creative outlet, and provide a place to gain valuable feedback and support.

On that note, let me provide a warning about today's topic. It involves the big V. As in, my girly nether regions, which I will henceforth refer to as Vag. On Monday I was having my annual gyno exam with Amy, the midwife who delivered Kate. As she was, um..., doing the digital part of the exam, a funny look crossed her face.

Amy: Does that hurt?

Me: No. Should it?

Amy: You haven't noticed anything during sex or any pain when sitting?

Me: No (I will edit out the sex discussion for Len's sake) and no.

Amy: Well, I'm feeling a hard, bony mass on the left side of your Vag wall. Let me go get Sherri (head of the midwives) to take a look (i.e. cop a feel).

Me: Trying not to panic.

Sherri: You're sure this doesn't hurt? (as she probes deeper and harder).

Me: Well, it's not exactly comfortable but I've not got sharp or stabbing pain.

Sherri: Hmmm. Well, it doesn't feel like a cyst. (Long discussion of Bartholin gland and cysts occurs. Click here to read up on that.) Let me go get an ob/gyn to take a look (i.e. cop a more probing feel).

OB/GYN: (at this point I can't remember her name as I am trying to remain calm...keeping her name in my memory bank is not part of the calmness plan). It appears to be bony, almost calcified, and extends back as far as I can reach. Really doesn't feel like a cyst though.

Me: It's not cervical cancer is it?

Amy, Sherri, OB: No. Your cervix looks fine. This is located right inside and is a solid mass.

OB: I think we need to schedule a vag ultrasound and an MRI to see if it's solid or not.

Amy: I think Lisa would like you to tell her what you are thinking, what you think it might be.

Me: Thanks Amy...(how wonderful is she?)

OB: Like I said, it doesn't present like a cyst so I'm not really sure what it could be....

Then she said a bunch of other stuff that, upon reflection, contained no useful information whatsoever.

I called the radiation department from the waiting room and the first available appointment I could get was for this Friday afternoon, leaving me lots of time to consult with Dr. Google and perform a digital self-exam and OMG, Holy Fuck....where did THAT come from? It's as they described...a large, long bone has grown on the left side of my vag.

Should you be interested, the most fearful thing I've come across is this little gem:

A distinct mass (lump) on either side of the opening to the vagina can be the sign of a Bartholin gland carcinoma.

Which led me down the rabbit hole to these articles:

A woman's diagnosis on a message board.

This article on how it is diagnosed.

And this absolutely horrible little gem.

Ok, so there is a lot more out there that I could include but suffice to say that I am trying very hard not to panic. I have an MRI scheduled (with contrast which means they will be injecting dye into my veins which sounds super fun) for Friday afternoon at 4:30pm.  This means I will have no information until Monday soonest. Do you know how long Easter weekend is going to seem?

In the meantime, I'm trying not to think about how I could have this EXCEEDINGLY RARE cancer resulting in a horrible protracted series of disfiguring surgeries and chemo treatments ultimately leading to two motherless children. I can't fathom not being here to raise them after all I've gone through to finally be their mama.


Smitha Mathew said...

I can feel the panic and fears. While I did not click on the links since I don't even read fiction because I am not made for even that drama, how about an exercise to calm yourself. I found this an effective tool for myself in various contexts.

Imagine yourself in your heart. What? We can imagine everyone else in our heart!! Many a times your might see yourself as a child with emotions like fears, anxiety etc, The picture your visualize will be based on your life. Might be someone who loves dogs might see a puppy.

Whatever the form might be hold that form, and talk to the form and be that form's mama, holding, hugging, and sending love (just like you do to Lucy, Kate or Len). Imagine how you see the bone in that form. Send love, healing and care.

This is like a meditation. Yogis or meditators say that we have answer to all our questions in ourselves. Listen to what you hear in this meditation. For you, it might be fruitful, if you incorporate some form of writing or drawing into this exercise (again I do not enjoy writing and typo check!!)

At the basics, it is an exercise to "Love yourself". Hope it makes sense. If I told my husband the following, he would say, he cannot imagine anything. Probably because he is way too cerebral. Some of this needs lots of practice. Every day you do it, you will get better at it.

Sending peace, and healing.

Carmel said...

Lisa, I have been following your blog for a couple of months and LOVE your honesty and straightforwardness. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers over this long weekend.

Carmel from MT

Jodie said...

Ugh. My words of encouragement for you today are words that you have given me in times past.

Worrying and allowing your mind to run wild will not change what is happening, nor will it make Friday...and ultimately Monday come any sooner. It's normal to be "concerned"...but remind yourself every time that panic feeling starts to well up inside of you...that you're here today, you have both your girls and a magnificent husband...and for today...you will enjoy every single moment. None of us have the promise of tomorrow....but if you woke up this morning (which obviously you did) then you have been given today! Use that gift wisely. Enjoy it. In the meantime? You're in our hearts, thoughts and prayers....and we are your support system for whatever comes your way.

Lots of love and hugs, my friend!!! LOTS OF THEM!!!! <3 xoxoxo

Lynn K said...

I remember being in a similar situation and having to wait. My doctor said, "Whatever you do, don't start googling." I didn't listen. Forget about what you've read online. There could be 500 reasons for whatever you have. You and your doctor will figure out what it is and then deal. For now, deep breaths.

On this end of the country, know that I will be thinking of you and wishing for the best for you and your beautiful family.

You are in my thoughts.

Elizabeth said...

OMG Lisa! I can't believe your post. I don't know what to say! I would do exactly what you did and go to the internet!!! Even though I can't meditate, just not my style I'm too linear, anayltical etc, I think the first comment has great value. In Canada, Good Friday is a holiday and we would have to wait way longer than you for this test. I can't tell you not to worry or fret as I am the biggest worrier and was in a positon 5 years ago where they thought I had cancer (in a different area) but didn't. So I am feeling your anxiety. I just wish I could put my arms around and give you a great big hug. Although we've never met, I feel like I know and my heart is going out to you. I will be thinking of you all weekend. An MRI isn't too bad, take a CD you like with you in case they ask you if you want to listen to music. They will give you headphones to wear when they do the scan. I have had dye for a CT scan and it isn't bad at all. As they inject it and it moves through you you feel like you need to urinate, but you don't. It's just the feeling. They want you to drink lots of water afterwards. Sending lots of love your way, Elizabeth
P.S. Somebody I used to work with had those cysts and although very painful at times, they are not cancerous.

Emily said...

first of all- your description of your exam was hilarious-.. and i've had one of those calls.. as in we found something... something something..cancer.. come in again..

not fun.. very scary.. i will pray for God's peace to be upon you- and that they get all the info they need on Friday. don't live in the what if... that is a horrible, smelly, dark rabbit hole-- live in the now.. i know it's easier said then done though:)

Lisa said...

Thanks everyone! And that is why I write...because of your words of encouragement and soothing calmness. I have been allowing myself to just live in the moment since I really cannot do anything about, well, anything! right now.

Brenda said...

Lisa, prayers for peace and good news. Enjoy your amazing girls and hubbie!
Brenda- blog follower and mom to two China blessings

Heather H. said...


I, too, have been there with a few health/cancer scares. Fortunately, so far, they haven't had any real bite; just been scares. It SUCKS that you have to wait a few days to find anything out. You've already done some research, but now STAY AWAY from Dr. Google! That's an order for your own sanity and mental wellness. And know that we're all rooting/praying/thinking positive healthy thoughts for you!


mommy of 2 said...

My first thought was, "um, I'm reading about my former English teacher's vag?" Next thought, "wtf?? Not this blessed mommy of two little girls!" And then, a deep breath later, "have to wait and see. Sucks!" Keep breathing deeply, hug on those babies, and lean on those who surround you with love. :)

Reg said...

all my thinkings are with you.
I had to wait 4 days of a tumor result last year so I know how difficult it is.
all the best and I hope the result is nothing dangerous.

Samantha said...

Hi, love your virtual twins! Thinking of you lots!


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