Amazing Grace -- and a Humbling Experience: TAH/BSO for cancer
Being interested in good nutrition, preventive health, and longevity, I have worked long and hard to take good care of myself and others. Or so I thought! In fact, I was overdoing it, not resting and relaxing enough, not understanding things about my past that "drove" me to seek meaning through harder and harder work, more and more caring for others, not saying "no" enough, and not saying "yes" to my body's need for rest and nurturing.
I even looked "down" at those who got sick as having done something wrong, not taking care of themselves properly, not taking the "right" supplements or following the "healthy" diet, or whatever.
Did I get a wake-up call!!
Recently I experienced at least two difficult years of broken-down thyroid functioning -- my immune system attacked the thyroid, caused inflammation and overproduction -- during which my hair started to come out faster, my heart went into scary fibrillation (irregularities), I got too thin -- and the doctors wanted me to have immune suppressant or thyroid-destroying treatments.
I got through that with holistic/alternative treatment, finally returning to normal after some significant lifestyle changes and much research and experimentation -- only to start experiencing persistent "spotting". I had several months of a tiny bit of nuisance uterine bleeding (and I had stopped menstruating 2 years before at age 53).
Finally, I took the conventional medical advice and had an endometrial biopsy. The diagnosis of endometrial cancer was a shock! I went through anger, denial, grief, and acceptance -- with the help of Hyster Sisters.
I checked out the H.Sisters link to the National Cancer Institute and went to the link, also, on yoursurgery.com where, for $5, I was able to download photos and text about hysterectomies that was helpful.
My good doctors (family doctor, gynecologist/surgeon specialist, pathologists, and holistic doctor -- plus my dad, a retired physician) were unanimous that it made sense to get the cancer out of there while it was still likely contained in the uterus.
I consented to a TAH/BSO and possibly a lymph node dissection, and was ready for the surgery which was scheduled within 3 weeks.
I continued my regular exercise program of walking, working-out, and yoga until the last week when I strained my back and caught a bad cold! Those last few pre-op days were a challenge!
Consulting the Hyster Sisters PreOp Hints was very helpful, especially #27 and #28 about what to take to the hospital and "What I Did Right".
I also found it very important and helpful to let everyone know what was going on and why. I needed the support from my friends and family so I wanted them to know the details! I loved hearing from everyone, and had just the right amount of attention and help -- not too much, not too little.
My underlying belief in the wisdom and intelligence of the body to balance and heal itself with the right support has sustained me throughout. I have great confidence in my body, and know that it does the best it can, given the conditions and materials presented to it!
Being a nurse with hospital experience also was helpful, because I knew what to expect, what nurses have to go through, and how some of the systems work there.
One thing that seemed to make sense was to lighten my diet before surgery. No sense going into the procedure with lots of junk in the system! A few days before surgery I found that my appetite started to naturally diminish. At that time I omitted dairy, meat, sugar and breads, emphasizing vegetables, fruits, broths/soups and vegetable juice (fresh). I drank plenty of water.
I had very little trouble with digestive issues after surgery, even having a couple of small, soft bowel movements within a day or two.
Having a private room at the hospital helped me a lot -- good rest, time to be left alone to "digest" what was happening, to listen to the affirmations of the audiotape (see my post in Pre-Op Hints), and to be grateful to be alive!
My pain must have been less than average, the body apparently responded well: as I walked around the ward in those days after surgery the nurses said. "There goes the Wonder Woman of the Ward"!
At my two-week follow-up visit with my surgeon yesterday, he was delighted with the good healing of the incision. We are so happy that no more treatment will be necessary: although the endometrial cancer had invaded about 1/2 of the uterine muscle, there was no evidence of any cancer cells in the cervix, the lymph nodes, or the pelvic cavity.
Everything has meaning, all experiences can be learned from and ultimately seem to bring me closer to myself and to the realization that I am part of something much bigger, more intelligent, and more compassionate than my small self. I am trying to understand that better, and to relax and "let go" -- to be carried.