A letter arrived to let me know the appointment time I would be meeting with my surgeon. I rang my Mum to let her know. She said she would fly out the night before. We didn’t know when my operation would be so we made it a one way trip.
On 31st October I went with Rosie to pick my Mum up from Manchester Airport. It was strange seeing her. It made everything very real all of a sudden. The next day Mum and I went for a walk round Digley Reservior. It was good to have a walk and a chat and it calmed me down a bit before the appointment. A beautiful fresh 1st November. I would’ve liked to have been on that plane going anywhere but the hospital.
The drive to the hospital was a very quiet journey. I had grown used to Rosie jabbering away beside me while I was the nervous one… Mum seemed far more nervous than I was, on the outside anyway.
We were reasonably early so we went to the cafe and got a tea… when it was time we headed round to the Macmillan unit. We waited and waited and waited. My heart was in my mouth. I didn’t know what to think. Maybe the results would come back clear and there would be no need for surgery and this was all a big waste of time. Maybe the results would come back and not be clear, maybe I would need more extensive surgery, maybe I would need further treatment. Maybe, maybe, maybe…
I couldn’t concentrate on my book. Over the last few months I’ve found that the Macmillan Unit waiting room is a strange place to be in any hospital. There are such a wide range of people sitting waiting. Different colours, different ages, different sexes, people at different stages of their cancer journey. I have found in most waiting rooms I am usually the youngest person there, who is a patient anyway.
It was after five o’clock before we managed to get seen. It had been a busy afternoon. I can’t imagine being that doctor. The one who has to sit all afternoon and give people bad news/good news/no news. The meeting with my surgeon was all I had been waiting for for two weeks. I had no clue about anything after this appointment. Christmas was coming up and everyone was chatting away about plans. I had no clue. I didn’t know where I’d be, what country I’d be in, how healthy I’d be. Everything was up in the air.
We were led into the appointment room, my key worker was there too. I introduced my mum. My doctor seemed quite stern, he didn’t feel like a warm people person. The news was that the MRI and X-Ray had come back clear!
HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF!
He did an examination. All seemed to be well.
Did you know that doctors always apologise when they are about to put something up your doot? “I’m sorry, this is going to be cold.” “I’m sorry, I’ll be as quick as I can.” “I’m sorry, this is going to hurt.”
I feel like it’s code for “I’m sorry, I really don’t want to be in your vagina.” You know what mate… I don’t particularly want you to be up there either but hey needs must. I hate the apologising because it makes me feel like I have to be the one to make the situation feel comfortable. “That’s fine, don’t worry. I’m used to it by now. Ha ha ha” … boke.
Annnnyway… I digress.
My surgeon wasn’t necessarily an overly friendly people person. He was pretty abrupt and straight to the point but I was hoping that meant he was ace at ridding cancer from people’s bodies and that was a trade off I was willing to take.
He started to tell me my options.
Option 1 – A Radical Hysterectomy
Yes, I balked at this too. This had never been mentioned at my diagnosis. I’d gone from turning 30 and having my life in front of me including the option of having a family to being offered a RADICAL hysterectomy!?!?! This would mean no kids and early menopause. No thanks! Thankfully he kept suggesting options.
Ha ha! I just googled a radical hysterectomy so I could tell you more specifically what it would entail. It states :-
“Radical hysterectomy is an operation done to treat some cancers of the cervix. The surgeon takes out the uterus and the ligaments (tissue fibres) that hold it in place. The cervix and an inch or 2 of the vagina around the cervix are also removed.”
and below that it says…
No shit! Thanks for your insight American Cancer Society. And there’s me thinking that having part of your vagina removed would make you feel really up for it… *eye roll* The worst thing about that article (if anyone is interested in reading it) is the fact they feel happy saying “This has not been studied a great deal.” Yes, that and the majority of stuff connected to and affecting women’s health.
Option 2 : Radical Tracelectomy
“A radical trachelectomy is surgery to remove the cervix, the upper part of the vagina and lymph nodes in the pelvis.”
This would mean I would technically still be able to have children but there is a high risk of miscarriage or early labour and I’d need to have a stitch in place to keep the uterus closed to encourage the baby to stay where it was meant to.
Option 3 : Cold Knife Cone Biopsy and a Laparoscopic Lymphadenectomy
“A cone biopsy is surgery to remove a sample of abnormal tissue from the cervix.”
Well thanks internet, the many descriptions you’ve provided of a cone biopsy make it sound like a piece of piss. I can confirm that it definitely isn’t/wasn’t.
This option would be a cone biopsy done with a scalpel and the removal of my pelvic lymph nodes with key hole surgery. This option would also make giving birth complicated and increase the risk of miscarriage and early labour but it was the least invasive of my three options. Removing my pelvic lymph nodes would mean they could be tested to see if that cancer had spread and would also decrease the possibility of the cancer spreading in the future.
I suppose I should mention Option 4 which was to do nothing. I was keen for that option but it would mean I wouldn’t know whether the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes or not, it would also mean I would not know if there was cancer there that had been missed.