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News on Surgery - Need Advice News on Surgery - Need Advice

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Unread 05-17-2004, 02:55 PM
News on Surgery - Need Advice

I saw the gyn-onc today to schedule my surgery.

It will be an exploratory laparotomy. There is the possibility of a bowel resection if there is any involvement from the mass. I am going to consult with a uro-gyn to see about having a bladder suspension at the same time.

My best news today is that this is not emergency surgery, so I am able to schedule it for June. My only daughter (Melissa) is graduating from 8th grade on June 5th, and I so desparately wanted to be there. This is the culmination of 10 years at the same school. Also, she is one of 3 finalists for a $10,000 scholarship to a Catholic high school. We are very hopeful. We are extremely proud of our dear daughter!

I am hoping that being at the kids' end-of-the-school-year activities will help them finish up the school year in a good way. It is so difficult for them when I am "under the weather" that I would hate to jeopardize their grades.

Melissa is having a difficult time emotionally with this possible recurrance. The other night, she broke down sobbing...she is afraid that she will have cancer too. After all, Mom and Grandma both do (did). Has anyone had any experience with a situation like this?

Thanks, sisters, for all of your prayers and support!

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Unread 05-17-2004, 02:58 PM

Sounds as if you have the plan and the best possible surgeons. I'm glad you were able to postpone until aftre the graduation.

Do you live near a Gilda's Club? I know Gilda's has programs for children whose parents have cancer. Also, if you are near a Comprehensive or Clinical Cancer Center, they will have social workers available to help.

Now let's hope for that scholarship!!!!
Unread 05-17-2004, 04:44 PM
News on Surgery - Need Advice

I guess I can speak as a grown up daughter who has feared death for as long as I can remember. My grandmother died suddenly (stage 4 ovca) at 50(i was only about 4, but I remember it!), then my mother was dx with a rare lung disease at 48 , had a double lung transplant and subsequently died three years later at 53 (i was 28). So I have always felt genetically DOOMED to die at an early age.

However, recently I have begun the journey of genetic testing. My aunt (my mother's siter - dx with brca at 49-50) has already gone for testing as it is most beneficial if they can identify a mutation in the genes of a known cancer relative. After her results are complete, I will have mine done.

I guess that although I am nervous about all of this and the implications (removing normal healthy tissue at age 34 - albeit quite possible only temporarily healthy!), BUT the empowerment I feel at not sitting around waiting for it (ovarian cancer/breast cancer) to arrive so I can die (I realize that is a bit extreme, but it's always how I felt) and being proactive about my health has done worlds for my psyche.

I no longer feel like a victim, which is how I felt before. A victim of my genes. Now I am a warrior, and I am going to do everything in my power to be here with my children and my husband for a LONG time.

My genetic counselor was the FIRST and I emphasize FIRST person to ever take my family history seriously. It felt good to have someone tell me I was indeed not just being paranoid, but that the danger was real and there is something I can do about it.

Perhaps if you discuss some of this with your daighter it would help? I'm sure it's difficult with her age and all. Have you ever had any genetic counseling?

I wish you good luck and hope this has given you some insight into how your daughter may be feeling.

Kep us posted!

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Unread 05-17-2004, 06:35 PM
News on Surgery - Need Advice

s Linda

Just make sure you get a firm date from the surgeon now and don't wait until June to be fitted into his schedule.
I'm glad it has worked out the way you had hoped.
Enjoy the next three weeks. It sounds like a very special time for your family. My fingers are crossed for your daughter getting the scholarship. I can't imagine anyone more deserving.

Unread 05-17-2004, 06:58 PM
News on Surgery - Need Advice

Well, Linda --

I've been in your daughter's shoes - my mom was dxed with ovca just 5 months before my own hyst, and died before my 6 week recovery was finished. And since I have my own 8 year old daughter, I will eventually be in your situation too.

I don't think there is a magic answer here. I would though suggest that you and your daughter be jointly proactive. My mom was not educated and not able to guide me, but one of the best things she did was suggest I get my own onc cosult and she signed all sorts of waivers to put her tissue in storage so that my daughter and I could have genetic testing done after she died and have her tissue as a case.

Unread 05-17-2004, 11:18 PM
News on Surgery - Need Advice

I am glad that you was able to schedule your surgery in June after the school lets out. When I had my two surgeries in August and October, I don't know if my ds took advantage of me or weither he was so worked up about mommy having to have surgery, but his grades suffered alot. I was sick most of November that is partially the reason his grades fell.

I am so glad for you that your dd has a chance for a scholoarship. I will that she gets it.

And like the others I would seek some counceling for the family. Cancer is a disease that while it affects only one person physically it affects the whole family emotionally.

God Bless & Take Care
Unread 05-18-2004, 04:08 AM
News on Surgery - Need Advice

I'm glad you are able to finish school year activities before your surgery. It sounds like you have a good battle plan started.

Good Luck to your daughter. What an honor and how proud you must be. The advice from the other hystersisters about counseling is a good one. That nasty cancer does affect the whole family.

You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

Ruth S
Unread 05-18-2004, 12:11 PM
News on Surgery - Need Advice

Hi Linda -

I underwent genetic testing last December and it was inconclusive. My Dr's feel I have HNPCC - but they only tested for two of the six known genes responsible for HNPCC and feel strongly I have it.
My cancer gene pool is sad. My dad and six of his seven brothers died from cancer (the other was killed in WWII) - my maternal grandmother died from OVCA, and her siblings all had either OVCA, breast or colon ca. My maternal grandfathers siblings all died from cancer.
The thing that makes it different for me is that I have screening available to me, and also have the choice to eat healthy foods, and use house-hold products that are not laden with chemicals. In a sense it's a gift that I know about my genetic history so I can take steps to make sure I stay healthy.
At your daughter's age it is natural for her to experience the feelings she is - not to mention how scary it is for her to have her mother go through what she has. You can only reassure her that strides are being made in medical research. I know how stressed my son was and he is older - 22 now - although he was 21 when I was diagnosed. We are very close. His grades really dropped that quarter I had the diagnosis and surgery.
My ONC told me they hope to be able to actually correct DNA responsible for causing genetic cancers at some point in the future. How cool would that be?
I am keeping you in my prayers. Stay positive - I know it must be a challenge at times. Know that we are always here for you.
Unread 05-18-2004, 01:13 PM
News on Surgery - Need Advice

Hi Linda,

That is wonderful that you can be there for Melissa's graduation. Youi have a right to be proud and i hope she gets the scholarship. My daughter is 15 and seems more worried about getting a pimple than cancer, but I think having a mother with cancer helps our daughters be aware of the symptom so it can be caught early and also to stay up on the latest things that reduce the risk. I also tell my daughter that by the time she is in her 40's there will be bettee treatment and maybe even a cure.
I think the faith and strength you show as you fight this disease is giving your children a valuable lessons on how to handke the hard things life throws at us,
Unread 05-18-2004, 10:55 PM
News on Surgery - Need Advice

Dear Linda,

I'm so glad that a plan is now in place. A plan is always better than uncertainty, even though there is still some uncertainty around what might be going on. I hope you can enjoy the weeks leading up to your surgery. Try to do something special with your daughter. She clearly loves you and is worried for you.

I recently read that Patsy Ramsey has lived with Stage IV ovarian cancer since 1993, and that while she has had recurrences, she is still going strong.

I believe that we can all survive more than we think we can, and I know that you will pull through this next challenge with your loving spirit intact. Have faith in God and know that He will see you through. I will be thinking about you and praying that the situation inside is something that can be easily dealt with.

Jads --

Thanks for the reminder about chemical-free household products. I need to be better about using those types of products.


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