Monday, February 6, 2012

Cancer? Really?

Current state of the scar. My stomach is still holding fluid even though I've lost weight overall.
Last month, literally the day before I was suppose to move back on campus for the spring semester, I found out I had a 13 cm mass in my abdomen. I had been dealing with a sudden onset of massive swelling in my stomach. I had convinced myself I was pregnant, despite the fact that this was very unlikely, but the tests came back negative. I was then convinced that I was just really constipated, but without going into too much detail about this, that also was not the problem. I was only able to eat tiny bits of food at a time if I didn't want to deal with being horribly uncomfortable. My trip to the emergency room on the night of January 7th came after an attempt to go out to eat with my mom and eat a normal amount of food. The pain that came after was the final straw.
After blood work and a CAT scan, the last thing I expected the doctor to come in the room and tell me was that I had a large mass in my abdomen. Ok, it's true that I didn't know what to expect at all but hearing that I had a mass was a shock. I ended up seeing a gynecological oncologist that very Monday and being set up for surgery Friday.
I didn't sleep at all the night before surgery and while waiting with my mom, dad, aunt, and grandmother to be wheeled off to get cut open, I began to feel the panic roll over me. I had just been excited to get this mass out of me and hadn't considered the pain that comes with waking up from a major surgery. It seems as though I did wake up in pain but I was so out of it that I don't remember it clearly. I also very vaguely remember the surgeon telling me that the mass was ovarian cancer. He took out the left ovary (along with 3 gallons of fluid buildup) but left my other lady parts. Soon I was wheeled into the nicest hospital room (no, this was a hospital suite) I'd ever been in where all my family members were waiting. I didn't feel so terrible at this point- hooked up to my morphine drip with my catheter there to save me from getting up to use the restroom.
I was in the hospital from the Friday I had the surgery until next Thursday so a lot of it is a blur. I remember the horror of hearing both the catheter and the morphine drip would be taken away. The next time I had to pee, I would have to use my sliced up stomach muscles to get myself out of bed. The first 3 times were simply horrible. After that I developed a system and it became manageable. I remember the surgeon coming back to tell me he thought the type of cancer was germ cell but wouldn't be sure until he got the results from the biopsy back. I remember too many visitors. I just wanted to be alone so I could rest. I remember feeling disgusting because I was told I couldn't shower and then I remember finally getting to take a shower with a bit of help. I remember keeping very close tabs on the clock to remind the nurses when it was type for another pain pill.
Most clearly I remember feeling much worse than I should have because bad medical decisions caused me to go into diabetic ketoacidosis. I have type 1 diabetes. I'm not on the insulin pump so I take two types of insulin, one long acting insulin and one short acting insulin. I need these insulins to keep me alive. Because I was not able to eat after the surgery, the surgeon decided I only needed boluses of my short acting insulin. I raised my concerns over this with him but was promptly dismissed. It's frustrating for me to have to deal with so many doctors that know so little about type 1 diabetes. I would have been out of the hospital quicker had this dangerous mishap not occurred.
I'll stop here for now because I suspect this is all very boring.


  1. No, that was not boring. It was a pretty detailed read actually. That's crazy about the diabetic complications, that has always worried me.
    I'm sorry about all of this upsetting news, it is just another bump in the road.

  2. Hey Mary! I can't believe this news and am so sorry to hear it. I'm glad you're blogging, though. I know CCF will be missing you while you're away. Hang in there girl, and know that I'll be praying for you!