Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Making a decision

Well, I've decided to have risk lowering surgery. I am 53 years old.  It has been a weird decision to make.  I'm nervous but feel that this is the right thing to do. 

It has also been a strange but affirming decision to put this information out there for the world to read.  As a therapist, our own personal information is second and sometimes invisible to our clients.  I may share more in the days to come, but I am hoping that my information can help others make their own decisions and come to their own conclusions if they are faced with this possibility.

My mother died of ovarian cancer at age 61.  She first developed breast cancer at 56, but was sick at pretty much the onset of menopause with various anxieties and depression, physical symptoms like hot flashes, new allergies, fatigue, irritability, and a host of other symptoms.  She gained weight, got frustrated, and tried to find medical assistance to help her figure out was going on.  She found an allergist who flew under the radar and put her on what amounted to an anorexic diet.  She dropped a lot of weight, but still felt lousy.

She then became bloated and once again went to her doctor to check it out.  She asked for a CA125 test (a simple blood test that determines if there might be the possibility of ovarian cancer) but was told that the test is notoriously unreliable (it is) and did not do it.  Instead, my mom sought out and found treatment using HRT (hormone replacement therapy) which alleviated her symptoms.  However, we now believe, as do many research physicians, that this may have exacerbated or stimulated the growth of cancer cells.

Breast cancer was the first cancer detected when she was 56.  It was treated with a lumpectomy and radiation.  On the heels of that treatment, about 6 months later, the ovarian cancer was discovered.  She fought hard and diligently until she died at age 61. 

I did hospice work for 2 years and found that all of the families of our clients had one thing in common.  When their loved one died, they wanted to share the experience of the dying and death with someone.  I was often the person that they spoke with.  I call it their testimony.

This is my testimony.

I am lucky enough to be able to learn from my Mom's experience.  I feel that this is her legacy to us, her family.  My sisters and I do regular screening.  I feel that surgery, for me, will be the best and least invasive option.  Maybe by the time my younger sisters are faced with a decision, there will be better options available to them.

1 comment:

  1. What your'e doing is so brave and admirable. I know it was a big decision but it sounds like you're making it for all the right reasons. Thank you so much for sharing. Love you!