You may wonder what lead me to this surgery in the first place? I was trying to get pregnant and I was charting down the road of infertility treatments when my doctor found my ovary was enlarged. It was the size of a 3D brick. A normal ovary is the size of a walnut. I had no symptoms, but frequent urination because my ovary was resting on my bladder. My infertility treatments were aborted and I was sent to a gyn oncologist. Scans showed my ovary was cystic, but I was reassured these were probably fibroids as they are very common in black women. A biopsy would be needed to confirm this. When I woke up from my surgery, I learned three things I was not prepared for. My ovary had been REMOVED, I had cancer and the cancer I had was granulose cell tumor (GCT) a cancer germane to post-menopausal white women (I was neither). My dear husband had the pleasure of delivering this news to me.
In it all, I was somewhat relieved it has been discovered knowing that you can’t solve a problem you know nothing about. My cancer had been “sacked” and removed from my otherwise healthy body. My body returned to its new normal. I became pregnant naturally. With the cancer association, my pregnancy was “high risk” and required monthly sonograms. I got to watch my son thrive and grow inside me (literally) for 38 weeks. I was under the careful watch of both my obstetrician and my gyn oncologist who both agreed they did not want me to go into labor naturally and I would deliver via a C-section at which point both sets of doctors would be in the operating room. After I delivered my healthy 9lb 2oz son, I heard, I saw a glimpse of him, but I wouldn’t hold him until hours later as the “cancer thing” had to be tended to AGAIN. This is when the other shoe of cancer dropped for me. It had returned. It was something I was NOT prepared for. You see I had naively locked the thought of cancer out of my life. I had beat it, right? I was hormonal from being pregnant and I was a train wreck sobbing uncontrollably and clutching my newborn baby. What I learned that instant was that if you have cancerous cells in your body, you ALWAYS have to be mentally prepared for it to return. It is a fact. It is the black cloud you carry with you for the rest of your life. It is what makes us different. It is what changes our outlook on life. It was what makes us savor every day and every moment.
I write this so that if you know someone whom has dealt with cancer, handle them with a little extra TLC, respect the fact they have a different outlook on life than you and that cancer-free now does not always mean cancer –free forever. Don’t roll your eyes, if your cancer friend brings up cancer when they look healthy TODAY. This is a REAL battle that cancer survivors fight everyday. A friend of mine was cancer free for 20+ years and recently she found out her breast cancer had returned. She was forced to have a double mastectomy.
Folks, cancer is not patient and cancer is not kind. Please be patient and kind to those you know dealing with cancer in whatever capacity!