Female Troubles

Foreword: I wrote this post shortly after the first ultrasound, but delayed publishing, not wanting to worry anyone, nor dwell on it too much myself. 

I had my second scan this morning, and was released into the wild without having any nasty little invasive procedures – everything seems to be ticking along normally again; no polyps, no thickened lining. My mad genius plan worked! I’m still looking into the possibility of having a progesterone bearing IUD placed at some point – it would, IMHO, reduce systemic exposure (as compared to oral progesterone). I’ll meet with my doctor on the 2nd to check in and will discuss that possibility with her then, though I wouldn’t have it placed until after Armenia (ie, November sometime). O, and my new oncologist seems fine…. *phew*

Let’s start with the positive – I had an amazing excellent time away. Ate great food, hung out with wonderful people, went to the *bestest* music festival ever, scampered over Scotland’s rugged coast, and generally ignored unpleasant realities. It was lovely. I wish I could have stayed longer – though due to a misreading of my ticket*, I did get an extra week I wasn’t expecting – and the weather was brilliant throughout.

And my little patches of happiness did their thing, and all was well and all was well, and all manner of thing was well.

photo credit: Lesley Robertson

And the not-so-fun stuff?

Female troubles – I had a little spotting before going, which I blamed on the bobble in my ERT and didn’t worry about – it had resolved, or so I thought.

It hadn’t resolved – I started having heavier spotting and then frank bleeding while I was away (and completely unprepared for the eventuality, I might add), and that went on for two weeks or so. Not a Good Thing.

I came home – to a rather amazingly dirty house, a cat with fleas, the gardens overgrown, and the lawn all unmown, which I was Not Best Pleased about – and called my doctor, as one should. That was a Monday, and I was scheduled for an ultrasound Wednesday. I’ve had these before, pretty much nothing to get too excited about if not exactly *fun* and I went in expecting nothing but a normal report back – estrogen causes the uterine lining to grow, I’m scheduled to take a 12 day course of progesterone every three to four months (any woman with an intact uterus *must* take progesterone if they’re taking estrogen in order to prevent endometrial overgrowth and Serious Bad Things), and the withdrawal from the progesterone causes the uterine lining to shed – no big deal.

Alas.

The ultrasound showed that not only was the endometrial lining abnormally thick, but I have several endometrial polyps. The standard of care is an immediate D&C – being that I was all unprepared for bad news, I was really unprepared for a D&C, and I didn’t even get the basic information (how many polyps? how big? what type – sessile or pedunculated? etc?) I normally would have. Instead, I persuaded the doctor to go with a ‘wait and see’ approach – I started the progesterone early, last little pill today, everything should flush out over the next week or so, and then we’ll rescan on the 12th and see whether or not there’s still a problem.

The irony of having spent my fertile years being very very very careful to avoid this outcome, and being faced with it now that I’m decidedly infertile is not lost on me.

Right now, I’m bracing myself for a possible D&C on the 12th – I’m not sure if the doctor was humoring me or not in my hopes of resolving everything without invasive procedures; since it’s *very* unlikely that a four month course of estrogen would lead to uterine cancer, and waiting a few weeks longer wouldn’t make much of a difference, he may well have been – and lining up the usual roster of questions and possible alternate solutions *if* this is likely to be an ongoing problem. Cutting down on the estrogen dose is not an option for me – I’ve already seen where that leads, and it’s not pretty.

Bollocks.

In the midst of all that, I’m working on refinancing my house, and dealing with a neighbor who doesn’t quite get property lines (which may yet resolve, though it seems unlikely, and may turn into a total nightmare – neighbors being like partners who you can’t easily divorce. I’d like it to resolve, and I’m not willing to give up my rights, either – I’ve bent about as far as I can there).

And I’ve started bleeding again, in the most unpleasant way possible, about a week ahead of schedule. I’m hoping it means everything is working towards resolution, but it’s a long way from pleasant in the meantime.

O, and I get to meet my new oncologist on the 5th – I fired the old one. All else being equal – there’s not much involved at this point, unless I have a recurrence – I’m going to harbor a grudge against her (the old oncologist) forever for not properly informing me (and for not leaving the room when she wanted me to strip for an exam – *such* bad form! and a dismissal of me as a human), and I don’t need to be putting either of us through that a couple of times a year.

For now, I’m mostly just keeping my head down and plowing forward with what needs to be done. There’s a lot of it. I’m also planning on going to Armenia in October, seeing my family again – it’s been ten years, and it’s time and past.

Onward!

*I’m blaming chemo-brain, rather than innate stupidity. I’d prefer you do the same.

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2 Responses to Female Troubles

  1. Beverly says:

    Beautiful photo, Meg. * And what beautiful news. * Not the bits about serious worry, and discomfort, mind you. I’m sorry you’ve been carrying around that worry for so many days. But wonderful, wonderful that all looks good. Ahhhhhhhh. The Mad Genius is vindicated once again.

  2. dropjohn says:

    Mad Genius! Thanks, you. Why it pays to be an informed medical consumer, no matter how much dreary mind numbing work it is sorting through studies and so on.

    The other bit I learned on the 12th is that they can’t really tell if I did have polyps – the ultrasound doesn’t distinguish between polyps and blood clots. So, it’s utterly possible that there never were any polyps, just a thickened uterine lining beginning to shed – whatever it was, it’s gone now.

    The progesterone bearing IUD is looking better and better to me – lower dosage, less systemic exposure, and hopefully fewer “side” effects than the 12 day oral course. I’ll be bringing it up at my next appointment, by all means – the doctor I saw on the 12th was in favor of it (my doctor was in the OR), so I may get less pushback than I’ve been anticipating.

    Still, I’m waiting until after Armenia – I’d rather be trying out a new med where I have easy access to follow-up care if Things Go Awry.

    (and it *is* a beautiful photo, innit? All credit to Lesley Robertson, who was our host and tour guide, as well as photographer!)

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