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Abdominal Hysterectomy - Cancer: Ovarian - TAH/BSO - Maria951's Story

From the Princess Stories Articles List

My Story:

Diagnosis – Ovarian Cancer
Strain – Germ Cell Dysgerminoma
Stage- II

Before I begin I would like to state that this is my story and not everyone will experience the same side effects as I did. Chemotherapy affects everyone differently, and no two people will necessarily experience the same symptoms.

In September 2000 I saw my doctor for severe abdominal pain and diarrhea. An ultrasound and CT scan confirmed a tumor on my left ovary. At that time all my vital organs were checked as well, and thankfully they were all fine.

Two weeks later, I had a complete abdominal hysterectomy. TAH/BSO. Cancer was suspected, and I was very prepared to hear whatever my gynecologist had to tell me. I had a great deal of trust in their competency. A gynecological oncologist was to be in the operating room during my surgery, which was very re-assuring to me.
The tumor was indeed cancerous and although mostly confined to the ovary, there was some spread to the surrounding tissue. Chemotherapy was recommended

My state of mind at this time was that of sadness, fear, confusion and even anger. All very normal when faced with a cancer diagnosis. However I was told by my gynecologist and gyn/oncologist that this strain was very curable even when chemotherapy is required. I was very lucky it was found when it was. They suspected the tumor was pressing on my bowel and that is what caused the pain and diarrhea.

Just 10 days after surgery I began the first of four 5-day rounds of chemotherapy consisting of 3 drugs. Cisplatin, Etoposide, and Bleomycin. I would have 2 weeks off in between except for Tuesdays when I would receive my Bleomycin, as I had to have that every week.
My sessions were Monday to Friday and ranged in time between 4 to 5 hours each day.
Luckily I had lots of medical leave built up at work, and I was able to remain away from my job for the entire 4 months of surgery recovery and chemo treatments.

My treatments were administered intravenously through my hand. Luckily I have been blessed with good raised veins so getting the IV started each morning wasn’t a problem.
My oncologist warned me that this was a tough chemo regime with multiple side effects, and I think I had most of them. They have wonderful anti-nausea drugs and for most people they work well, I was the exception. The anti-nausea drugs were administered intravenously as well in my case, although some people take them in pill form.

I began to lose my hair within 2 weeks after my first round. That of course was very hard to take but it was an easy trade off to save my life indeed. I found it easier to have my hair shaved off and go with a wig right away at that time.

My treatments made me quite ill in the evenings and to try and combat that I was given stronger doses of anti-nausea drugs. Well…. this created another problem. I would become very constipated from them.

After my second round of chemo I was admitted to the hospital with severe dehydration from vomiting and very bad constipation. Basically I was a mess. I remained there for 4 days after going to the ER 3 nights in a row. I was so relieved they admitted me. While there I was constantly hooked up to an IV to replenish my fluids and I received 4 enemas (Ugh…). But I left feeling a great deal better than when I arrived.

After each 5-day session, I would find myself very lightheaded for about 4 or 5 days, and my appetite was not great. Eventually I lost all sense of taste as the chemo affects your taste buds. Nothing tasted good to me at all during that time except milk and ice cream. And the milk did not help the constipation so I had to watch that as well. Thankfully the taste buds do come back completely.

My oncologist checked me every 3 weeks with a physical exam as well as extensive blood tests.
I was lucky in the sense that my ovarian strain has markers in the blood, which were elevated, and after each chemo session the numbers would drop until finally they were in normal range. Yay!!!! This meant the chemo worked and all the remaining cancer cells were destroyed.

So this was my reality from October 10th until December 22nd when I completed my fourth and final treatment. That was a happy day indeed. I was able to return to work on January 8th, just 2 weeks after completing my last round of chemo. I was starting 2001 in a very good way!!

I have had 2 checkups since completing chemo and I am doing just fine. My hair is back and the only lasting side effect I suffer is a bit of neuropathy (numbness in the fingers and toes), a result of the strength and combination of the chemo drugs. But that may improve completely, or some may remain indefinitely.
I can live with this little annoyance. I am very grateful for the wonderful team of medical professionals whose care I was in, and continue to be in. I will be having checkups every 3 months as well as blood tests, for a long time to come, but that’s ok. It’s all very reassuring to be sure I remain cancer free.

This wonderful site has been a Godsend to me. I didn’t find it until January of this year after my treatments had finished, but its wonderful to have such a support group as we have here. I am sure in years gone by women suffered alone with a diagnosis of cancer, and that is very sad to me. I am sure the bulk of their information came from books alone. How wonderful that with the help of technology and a wonderful caring, compassionate lady named Kathy, we no longer have to suffer alone.
With this wonderful site, strong family support, and prayers from many, many people, I have come through this, and I am much stronger because of it.

Thank you for reading my story. If you are facing a similar diagnosis and treatment regime, I wish you the very best, and if you suffer similar side effects as I did, please know that the day will come when you will feel better again, although when in the midst of chemo, I truly never thought I would feel as good as I do now, ever again! Cancer can indeed be beaten and there are more success stories now than there have ever been!! As hard as it is sometimes, always try to keep a positive attitude, and believe in your heart that you will get through this. We are stronger than we know!!

08-13-2001 - 06:51 PM


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