A year ago today, I had my ovaries removed. I had hoped this would be the end of my battle against a recurrence of cancer and the beginning of life anew.
I knew better, of course. Medication was forever in my future. I just didn’t have any desire to be a cancer patient one day longer – not that I ever wanted to start. I wanted a clean break, a place to mark treatment as “done.” I wanted it over.
It was the saddest of all of my surgeries – after a long line of surgeries that brought forth more emotional pain than I had previously considered possible. The recurrence after five years of constant treatment with a cancer-fighting drug had severed my last thread of hope of having another baby. Rather than incubating a child inside of me, my body chose to be hospitable to cancer instead. The hormone stew of pregnancy would be far too risky for me to try ever again.
The oophrectomy was necessary to cut off the primary source of estrogen in me. While I was already taking shots to suppress my ovaries, I’d had time to process the news of the recurrence and understood the expensive shots were pointless when a permanent option was available.
I knew the surgery wouldn’t be the last of it, but I just wanted to move on. I felt this so much more desperately than after my first diagnosis. The first time was tough, of course, yet I felt then like i was on a mission to plan, attack and defeat. But last year, from my diagnosis in June to this surgery in November, all I could feel is, “I don’t have time for this.”
If that was the refrain in my head while I was in treatment last year, the year since my last surgery has been, “I want to feel better.”
I am in pain every day. I am tired. I live life on a simmer. It sucks. I want to feel better.
Of course, I’m grateful for the life I have, yet that doesn’t erase the worry that my days are likely numbered. I just want those days (which are hopefully counted in years and, God, I hope, decades) to be as awesome as possible.
I’ve spent the last six or seven months trying to get to better health, making it a priority on par with caring for my child. I’ve made progress, but at a frighteningly slow pace and without the medical input I’d prefer. In fact, the two biggest leaps forward I had were the equivalent of a medical break-through where I used myself as a guinea pig.
The answers are slow in coming. Meanwhile, my days tick away and I wonder if I will ever get to mark one as “the end,” while looking forward to a new beginning.