Just wanted to let y’all know the good news: I met with my oncologist yesterday, I got the results of the pathology, and it’s all good news. The cancer did turn out to be Stage 1. It wasn’t in my ovaries or my lymph nodes: just straight-up endometrial cancer, limited in scope to my uterus. And the tumor hadn’t penetrated more than halfway into my uterine wall (it had gone about a third of the way in).
This is more or less what everyone had been expecting. Based on the ultrasound and the biopsy, my oncologist was pretty sure that the cancer was Stage 1, and would be entirely treatable with hysterectomy. So this is not surprising news. But it is a big relief to have it confirmed. This cancer was caught plenty early, and it is now gone. I don’t mean that it’s in remission: I mean that it’s gone. I had cancer, but I don’t anymore. I will not need radiation or chemotherapy. And the incisions and everything are all healing well.
There is, FYI, a strong possibility that I have Lynch syndrome: a genetic marker that makes you more likely to get both endometrial and colon cancer. This probability estimate is based on my own endometrial cancer, the fact that my mother had colon cancer at age 45, and some other things from my own health history. I’ll know about this for sure in a couple of weeks, when they’ve had a chance to do further pathology on the tissue that was removed. But if I do have Lynch syndrome, it would not actually be that big a deal. I’ve been assuming for a while now that I have an elevated likelihood of colon cancer (see above re: family and health history), and my doctors have already recommended that I get a colonoscopy every two years. A diagnosis of Lynch syndrome wouldn’t mean anything more than what I already know: I’m more vulnerable to colon cancer than the average bear, and will have to get screened for it more often than most people. Since colon cancer grows slowly and can be snipped out easily if it’s caught early, this isn’t really scary: more just annoying.
I still feel pretty crappy. Sore from the surgery, groggy and slow from the pain meds, exhausted from the physical and emotional trauma, sleeping a lot, limited in both my physical and mental functioning. I will need to spend the next few weeks resting and healing and gradually getting back to normal (or what passes for normal for me). But I am hugely relieved. Once the next few weeks of rest and healing are done, this cancer thing really will be behind me.
Thanks again hugely to my readers for all your support. The fundraiser took an enormous weight off my shoulders, obviously: as I said a few days ago, I hadn’t realized how much of my stress and anxiety about this situation was focused on my financial worries, until I didn’t have those worries anymore. Maybe even more importantly than the money itself, the fundraiser made me feel tremendously loved and valued by this community. So big heartfelt thanks once again to everyone who donated money and/or spread the word about it. Thanks, also, to folks who provided financial support by buying my book, and/or encouraging other folks to buy it. The suggestions for books and DVDS and other entertainments during my recovery have been sweet and thoughtful and big fun as well, and will continue to be big fun in the coming weeks as I continue to recover. And the outpouring of encouragement, kind words, emotional support, stories about your aunt who had endometrial cancer 12 years ago and came through her hysterectomy with flying colors and just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro last year… all of this has helped enormously. I’m more grateful than I can say.
I’m going to take the advice many of you gave me, and give myself some time to really rest and heal. Thanks to the fundraiser, I’m not feeling panicked about getting back to work right away, and I really do want to recover properly. But I am feeling excited about getting into writing again once my health has returned. I may ease into it gradually, with a post or two here and there until I’m up to speed; I may just wait a while until I’m feeling all better and then come back into it full speed ahead. I’ll see what makes sense with my recovery. But I will definitely be back. Once again, thanks so much to everyone for your patience and your support.