Hello ladies, my apologies for being silent for a week…. Yes, a week ago I had my lady bits removed and although this blog is dedicated to the subject of fashion while being one breasted, life continues to happen and this journey is all encompassing.
My upcoming article on wearing white is nearly complete and will indeed come out (I know, I know! Summer’s begging for white). But it’ll have to wait for my body to recover a little. I’m sure you understand.
Are you BRCA positive?
In the meantime, lets talk about the subject of lady parts and cancer and if those lady parts should be removed – a decision a lot of women will never have the joy of contemplating. If you are BRCA positive, then you know that your chances of beating out cancer are best when you remove everything.
I don’t happen to fall into this category. However, I do happen to have a gene mutation called CHEK2 which leaves me susceptible to breast and colon cancer (most likely coming from my mother who is a survivor of colon).
Still, I didn’t take choosing to remove my ovaries and tubes lightly. Unlike my breast, I was much more hesitant to plunge downward to remove my nether regions. In fact, I do wonder why it seemed so easy a decision to take away my breast, yet the removal of my lady bits was such a struggle.
It all started with the Tamoxifen.
Because I had estrogen positive breast cancer, I was prescribed Tamoxifen. At my six-month appointment with my oncologist, I happened to mention the bothersome side effects I’d been experiencing. I seemed to be more tired, I was getting thinner hair, and I was bleeding and had been for over a month.
The thing is, I have not had much period activity since I was around 37. That’s about 10 long (and lovely) years ago. I guess I figured that I had, in fact, already gone through menopause early since I also suffered through 2 years of night sweats before turning 40. This was one of the reasons that I hadn’t owned long sleeved shirts or sweaters for so long, preferring cardigans that were easier to remove when I got too hot instead.
Also, as a single mother, I never went to a doctor and only had check ups at Planned Parenthood. Health care wasn’t really something that made it on the list of important items. Putting food on the table and paying rent were much more urgent needs.
Fast forward to marriage and insurance.
And so now, sitting in my oncologist’s office, I mentioned the bleeding. My oncologist looked at me in a panic and said ”Stop taking it right now!” and after composing himself, he continued. “For some women, taking Tamoxifen can cause uterine cancer.”
Of course, they don’t usually mention this to you because most of us never end up being one of “those women.” But here I was, after only an random occasional day visit in the last 10 years of my life, Auntie Flo had not only stayed for a week, she had unpacked her bags and moved in for good. I wasn’t prepared for the amount of laundry this was creating, never mind the price of lady products!
A gynecologist you can trust leads to a healthy life.
My oncologist referred me to my gynecologist. During this time it occurred to me that having a gynecologist you can trust is essential to having a healthy life. I luckily stumbled upon my own when I first found the lump in my breast. He was the doctor that had to tell me… the NEWS:
“You have cancer.”
I think back on this now and realize, for someone who didn’t know me too well, this must have been a shitty day for him.
So, I went in for the check up and a uterine biopsy only to find that I my gynecologist couldn’t get a clear biopsy because I had a very thin lining of my uterine wall to get tissue from. More importantly, there was a growth on my ovary. This lead to a sit-down-and-hash-out- your-choices talk with both of my doctors with the main agreement being:
“If we take your ovaries out, you won’t need to be on the Tamoxifen.”
So I did what I do best….I went to my groups and asked the women who had already had this procedure what their experiences were. I was flooded with a long list of pros and cons, which made me a bit crazy. What would be the right choice?
Pros: No more Tamoxifen. I won’t have to worry about cancer coming back in my ovaries.
Cons: What if I lost my mind? What if my ovaries regulated my mind? What if my seasonal depression turned my whole life into a recurring I-want-to-cry-and-hide-in-bed-all-day-long day? It could be my “Groundhog Day” only without the slapstick and happy ending.
Another con seemed more terrifying. A lot of women had warned me about…
This scenario is similar to the theory of how the dinosaurs became extinct. Only this time, the apocalypse of my vagina would occur. With the removal of my ovaries, a vast desert land would take over.
Tumbleweeds would roll down my vagina.
I imagined my husband, preparing to enter me, when suddenly Clint Eastwood steps out pointing his gun and says, “Stop right there!” as he spits tobacco from the side of his mouth and it sizzles in the dry dusty desert of this once fertile land…
As you can see, if I take too much time thinking about anything, my mind’s favorite game to play is “worst case scenarios.”
In the end, I threw caution to the wind and had my ovaries and tubes removed anyway. Because… ain’t nobody got time to worry about this stuff!
I can’t worry about the potential side affects because there are ways to counter them. Most importantly, I can’t spend another minute worrying about getting cancer down there.
Life is short… Even so, my hubby and I want to extend my stay.
And in all honesty….I just happen to feel dang sexy in my mesh post-surgery panties…
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