Susanne’s Story

It happened so quickly that most days I still get scared of the diagnosis and procedure. I have to remind myself that I went through it and am doing okay. I only say okay right now because honestly, I’m still processing.

I went to the doctor in July with horrific pain and bleeding. My hemoglobin was so low that she immediately started me on iron supplements and scheduled me for a vaginal ultrasound. While waiting for the ultrasound we learned that I cannot tolerate iron pills. I ended up having iron transfusions in the hospital. The ultrasound was on July 31st and the results came in with a diagnosis of uterine polyps and a possible fibroid.

I was referred to a new OBGYN and we did an in-office biopsy in September. The results of those 3 samples were non-cancerous and the OBGYN scheduled me for a D&C, polypectomy, and Mirena IUD insertion for October 10th. I made it through the procedure fine and was feeling great physically with the hormone therapy, but deep down I still felt like something was wrong. Weeks went by and I thought everything was good, and then I got a call on October 28th. My OBGYN stated that the D&C sample came back as grade 1 Endometrial cancer. My world stopped at that point.

My OB/GYN had already sent my referral to the obgyn/oncologist over the weekend. I called the new office and got my first appointment. I was stressed and had a miserable few days waiting for that appointment. I saw the Oncologist on November 8th and was scheduled for a total hysterectomy on November 19th. He told me that they would do lymph node mapping and take the sentinel lymph nodes to see if the cancer had spread. Family and friends tried to help during this time in limbo but I don’t know if anything or anyone could have helped.

I went in for surgery Tuesday morning and was home Wednesday night. UC Health in Colorado Springs is amazing and Dr. Pikaart is the best doctor I’ve ever met. No complications with surgery.  I had to wait 7 days for pathology results.

I had pain Wednesday night into Thursday but after Thursday, no prescription pain meds were needed. Gas pain was helped with Phazyme and walking. Soft, baggy clothes were a need! Car rides were uncomfortable (even with a pillow) so I avoided that until my post op appointment. Drinking water and prune juice helped (Dr. Pikaart scared me straight about not getting constipated!) Fast forward to the post op appointment, and the pathology came back clean. In fact there was no cancer in the uterus. The cancer was all scraped out with the D&C. No chemo or radiation!! I did have to go back for genetic testing to see about Lynch syndrome but that was negative as well. I will need checkups every 3 months for 3 years and then every 6 months for the next 2 years.

The rest of the hysterectomy recovery was a cake walk. I only bled one day after overdoing it. My stitches passed a few weeks later. I had some pain in my back probably from the hospital bed or positioning during surgery. I’m not going to sugar coat it- the cancer fear is with me every day. I’m seeing a therapist, but it lives in my brain now. Not a day goes by that I don’t think “is this the day it comes back”.

The first Oncologist checkup in March was so scary and I’m sure it’ll be that way in June also. My skin has changed, my hair, and even the way food tastes. I have hot flashes and achy restless legs. After the hysterectomy, I honestly feel like I’m living in a totally different body. I cannot do hormone therapy because of the nature of the cancer and me being overweight and already over estrogenized. I’m still losing weight and the doctor hopes that will ease some of the surgical menopause symptoms. I knew I had cancer for 29 days, and cannot imagine how people can persevere through a long drawn out cancer recovery. I’m grateful for the outcome and wish the best for other people who are still fighting that fight!

Submitted by Susanne