So, as y’all may or may not have noticed, I’ve been on an extended hiatus from blogging lately. And by “extended,” I mean three months. Which, in the blogging world, is basically an eternity. (I don’t know if I even have readers anymore. Is anyone out there? Please come back?)
This wasn’t a hiatus that I’d expected or wanted to take; to the contrary, on the day of my last post, I had every intention of blogging merrily along. Life, however, had some other plans.
As you might recall, starting in late May I had some fairly serious, shall we say, lady-troubles. I wound up having a uterine polyp removed in early July, which solved the Flaming Lady-Troubles of Death problem – but as it turns out, the story didn’t end there.
On July 11, my OB/GYN called to give me the results of the pathology report on the polyp. Fact: when your doctor starts the conversation by saying “The results of your path report were really, really surprising,” you know that things are about to go in an unpleasant direction.
As it turned out, the polyp was playing hostess to a party-crashing group of cancer cells. Um, WTF?
The bad news: Multiple pathologists had confirmed the presence of cancer in the polyp.
The good news: The cancer cells were very early-stage, low-grade, and non-aggressive. In other words, it’s highly treatable.
Endometrial cancer usually shows up in post-menopausal women, so the normal course of treatment is a hysterectomy. Being 32 and still wanting to have children, however, is a game-changer. In the interest of preserving my fertility, my OB/GYN and gynecologic oncologist opted for three months of high-dose hormone treatment, followed by another round of tests to see if the hormones had knocked out any remaining cancer cells.
The hormone treatment does the trick 80% of the time – so as you can imagine, my fingers are crossed that I’m part of that 80% and can thus hold off on yanking my baby-making bits (for now, at least, since it’ll all need to go once my child-bearing days have passed).
When I first got the news, though, I was in complete shock. I was at work when I got the call, and I very nearly vomited on my desk. My whole body shook like mad as I wrote down everything my doctor said. My handwriting looked like that of a six-year-old.
I mean, I’m young, I eat well, I exercise – how could my body just go rogue like that? (Side bar for a brief public service announcement: ladies and gents [if the dudes haven’t gotten grossed out and stopped reading, that is], if anything seems off or just generally out of whack with your body, go to the doctor. Get it checked. It’s never, ever a waste of time to make sure that nothing sinister is going on.)
My doctor, luckily, was and is incredibly compassionate. Over and over, she gently told me that I’d done nothing wrong, and that there was nothing I could’ve done differently to keep this from happening. It was a case of a hereditary genetic mutation gone awry and plain bad luck.
I started the hormone treatment that night – endometrial cancer feeds on estrogen, so I take uber-high doses of progesterone twice a day – and began to wrap my head around the fact that this really was happening.
The process of wrapping my head around the situation took a while, and the fact that it took me a long time to feel up to writing about this came as a bit of a surprise. Writing and exercise have always been my go-to forms of DIY therapy. Writing is my catharsis, my release, and my home. And yet, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
A bit part of why I didn’t write until now is the fact that I don’t want to be forever branded as a cancer patient. I was torn between wanting to let people know what’s going on and my deep desire not to be labeled as “Lillian, that chick who has cancer.”
Now, I also want to note that there’s no right or wrong way to deal with the Big C. There are people who take great comfort in being part of a community of current patients and survivors, and those communities are often wonderful sources of support. There are also a lot of people who find tremendous purpose, meaning, and hope through activism and other activities. More power to all these folks! Many of them are doing amazing and inspiring work, and they deserve a ton of credit for what they do.
For me, though, my visceral reaction was – and is – that I want to get through this, get better, and put it all behind me. I don’t want cancer to be the focal point of my life or my writing.
So, while the issue of the rogue elements in my baby-making parts will certainly show up here from time to time (especially since I have my next round of tests coming up next week), it isn’t going to be the sole focus of this little slice of the blogosphere. I continue to love – and will continue to write about – normal things like food and fitness, as well as generally inane things like celeb gossip, cosmetics, and flavored coffee. It’s all good.
And, most of all, it’s good to be back.