Finally! A diagnosis!
I am NOT a patient person at all. I am even worse at not knowing what is going on-especially with my body! Needless to say, I fought hard for my diagnosis and my fight paid off! To start, during the 2010-2011 school year, I was working on my Master of Education, taught full time in middle school, taught teachers during workshops a couple of times throughout the year, was team leader for my grade level, was in charge of the ESL program in my school, am a complete type A perfectionist, and my parents rekindled their relationship after being divorced for 25 years (WEIRD)! I also was working hard on losing weight which meant I had to deal with stress differently than I was used to (by eating!) I was succeeding in all of these things, but noticed that it was more difficult than I expected—usually, I do my best work when I am under the gun. That seemed to be proving more difficult this time around. New Years 2011, I came home from a trip to Quebec with a urinary tract infection. I had been complaining for several years about painful periods and also had a history of UTIs so didn’t think much of it when I took antibiotics for the UTI and symptoms eased up. Antiinflammatories and rest or massage helped with the painful periods in the past, but it seemed that things were getting worse. Pain that I had been having in my right shoulder was getting worse and no amount of massage was helping. I went to the doctor later in January complaining of increased bleeding, right side abdominal pain, shoulder pain, indigestion, and pain and swelling in my lower back going into the buttocks and down my leg. I was given exercises for the back and told that I needed to de-stress (this only stressed me more!) I continued to complain about feeling badly until March…finally someone listened! Kind of…I was diagnosed with gallbladder disease, thought to have been exacerbated by losing 50lbs over a period of 9 months. (I lost weight in spite of my new desire to eat sweets…which I was never a big fan of in the past.) I had my gallbladder removed and the pain in my shoulder IMMEDIATELY went away; however, my other symptoms seemed to get worse quickly. Within weeks of my GB removal, I went back to the dr. complaining of increased pain under the right ribs radiating around to the back. I was told that this was just a strain after the surgery and not to worry. OK, sounds reasonable. I return to work and notice that I am just tired all of the time. Blood tests for anemia – normal. “Maybe you are depressed, try this RX.” Sure, I had surgery, my schedule was messed up, I am having a hell of a year with school, work, and family (I only missed 3 weeks of work by the way and aced all of my university classes through this whole mess! Told you…type A). I don’t feel sad, but I trust the dr. I decide to take the RX which is said to help with pain, too. Hell, that is great, I’ll take it! OK, seriously, tired and feeling crappy. I demand tests at the dr. office. I want any test related to female issues. Everything comes back ok except increase sed rate (shows inflammation) and low ferritin (signals anemia). I start taking iron and will redo the sed rate later if needed. Bleeding continues and is getting worse. I have an ultrasound which shows a cyst on the ovary. Doc says, “Oh, that must be where the pain is coming from in the pelvis. That also explains the bleeding. Irritable Bowel Syndrome and depression explain everything else.” Done…WHAT? No, I disagree! I want to see a specialist. I go to a gyno. He does an internal ultrasound to check the ovary, then agrees with general practitioner. He doesn’t even LOOK inside or do a pap since my last one was normal (October 2010). This is May and June of 2011. I do not agree. I just KNOW that there is more. I continue having pain and GP orders a CT scan. They don’t call me back by the time I leave for vacation. That summer, my family and I go on vacation to the US East Coast and then Quebec. It’s just great being in pain, exhausted, grouchy, and constantly on your period when you go to the beach and visit the in-laws. Good news, I looked great! Although I had some weight gain after the GB removal, it was minimal and everyone told me how great I looked! I wish I felt as good as I looked! It has been over a week since my CT scan. I call the GP ofc. to get results. “Inflammed lymph nodes on the right side. Have you had a cold or anything lately?” Well, I wasn’t feeling great the day I went in for my CT. “OK, well that is what caused the swelling. Normal inflammatory process.” Keep taking your iron pills and antidepressants. UGH! This keeps going on for several months. I continue to feel worse and worse. The doctor tells me that I am depressed. Take your iron and your anti-depressants. Exercise. Quit worrying about gaining weight. You are obsessing and it is making you sick. See a counselor (who agreed that I don’t seem depressed at all…only pissed off about being sick!). I do all of this. At the same time, everyone is noticing that I am sick. “Why is your skin gray?” “Man, your hands are blue.” “Miss, are you okay?” “Mom, are you okay? Mom?” I say to my husband, “I am so tired of this! I can’t think! I am only working on average 4 days a week as I am SO exhausted by Thursday night that I just can’t get out of bed Friday mornings. I sleep all weekend. I am a crappy wife, a crappy teacher, a crappy friend, and worst of all, a crappy mom! I am NOT okay with this.” I say to the dr. “I want another opinion.” She says, “Where do you want to go, I will approve your choice.” Done. Dr. #3 2nd week of October. He sees a growth on the cervix. It is large and he is surprised that the other 2 didn’t notice it. I told him that they didn’t look. He thinks that is irresponsible. I agree! October 18th – biopsy. October 24th—“You have cancer. It is a rare form. A combination of the 2 – adenosquamous.” “I am so sorry, I really thought that this would come back negative, but now we have to fight.” “You will see the Gyn/Onc on the 27th.” October 27th—Gyn/Onc says need PET scan and then will decide if will do radical hysterectomy only or will need radiation and chemo first. PET scan done, stage 1B1 – only need Radical Hysterectomy. Will do this November 21st (just before Thanksgiving break and hopefully will be able to return to work for the new year…not because I need the money, teachers don’t make much! I don’t like leaving my kids with anyone else. Also, the more normal life is, the easier it is on my son at home. I want to keep the normality if at all possible!) Surgery, November 21st. A BREEZE! I feel great immediately. Of course, I am tired, but the doctor says that the lymph nodes that were removed were all negative. Margins were clear. WOOHOO! My persistence was worth it :) Now, I am waiting for that 3 month check and hope that I never am told again that I have cancer!