I’ve had an absolutely horrible few weeks. I’ve been self-medicating with carbs and candy. Gaining back some the of the weight I’ve lost.
Why, you ask? Here is a bit of back-story. ALL my relatives on my mom’s side of the family died of cancer of one sort or the other. Except for her brother who cigar smoked his way into COPD. My brother and sister died of different cancers. My remaining brother has dealt with Melanoma. Successfully, I might add ! 🙂
I’ve always been hyper-aware of the possibility/probability for myself to have cancer of one type or the other and that it will take my life in the most painful and drawn-out way. All this because of my hereditary tendency to not being able to fight it off.
Three weeks ago, my gynecologist told me the persistent itching on my vulva that I had been experiencing for some months was a symptom of vulvar cancer…but that it could be any number of things. She then motioned her nurse over and showed her the white area.
I resisted looking online until the 7th. I went to the American Cancer Society’s website and checked it out. http://www.cancer.org/
It seems there are several different types of cancer that can affect that area. The major symptom being the prolonged itching, and the other the white area. One of the types is a skin cancer that is very curable. (Except for my MOTHER, who died from metastasized skin cancer!).
The other types are more of a problem. It all depends on the ‘staging’ of the cancer at the time of diagnosis. Staging the cancer relies on so many different variables, including removing ‘sentinel’ lymph nodes, that it doesn’t apply to ‘Stage one’ or ‘Stage four’, I have to shake my head. I didn’t understand it all. I went to the 5 year survival tables and discovered it ranked from 86% to 16%, depending, on the staging at diagnosis.
Then, I really freaked. I knew I would.
So, the biopsy was done on Thursday last week. She found three other dark spot that she removed ‘in case they’re melanoma’. Melanoma…it’s a baddie.
I should get the results tomorrow or Friday. If it’s positive and not just pre-cancerous, I have to go through several other invasive procedures, up to and including removing ‘sentinel’ lymph nodes, to get the final staging results.
The treatments go all the way from (pre-cancerous) applying a special ‘sloughing’ chemotherapy cream, to cutting it out, including about a half inch border of healthy skin, to removing a lip, or two and possibly the clitoris. More drastic measures, if staged as metastasized, include taking the affected lymph nodes, (which will probably result in cellulitis in the affected legs), the vagina, the ureters and possibly bladder, and the colon. It all depends on where and how far it has spread.
My gynecologist keeps telling me (with a bit of a worried look on her face…of course, this could be my paranoia that I’m seeing the worried-ness) that she’s pretty sure it’s ‘just’ precancerous.
The spectre has risen its ugly head.
I’m just not in a very good place right now.