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.