July 19, 2009

I am almost at a weight milestone.  The scale has shown numbers all over a 5 pound range this week, but I’ll live with what show up tomorrow as my ‘official’ number.  We were out of town for this week’s weigh in and I didn’t weigh the day we got back, so this will be the last official weigh in before summer vacation (unless Friday, the day of our departure, I happen to hit Onederland, in which case I will record it, because damn, I want to be there & it would be great to have that as my mindset on vacation.

I am almost at a decision for the treatment for my endometrial cancer, at least short term.  I’ve had more medical appointments in the past 2 months than anything else, and have researched the topic throroughly.  I’ve not managed to get the exact same opinion twice, which is a bit disconcerting.  I had the pathology re-read by an expert pathologist in the US who actually downgraded the diagnosis (less scary), although doing so changes nothing in the longer-term treatment (hysterectomy) it does reassure me with respect to timing (can be more confident that several months of hormonal treatment is safe).  I’m lucky to have access to so many top experts, but on the other hand when they contradict each other it just gets more confusing.  Each comes from their own perspective and expertise and therefore biases.  The challenge is negotiating what they think vs what I want, at least insofar as the disease progression issues can be dealt with.

The good news in all of this is that all of the doctors agree that this is not life-threatening, and the risk of it progressing to a more advanced, agressive & scary cancer is pretty small.  Exactly how small a risk does vary by who I talk to, but in general everyone says how ‘lucky’ I am this was found so early.  I am very aware I am indeed fortunate to be able to twist myself into knots thinking about the treatment options where I preserve some degree of fertility, since 6 weeks ago I was petrified my life was on the line, which today I know it’s not.

Somehow, knowing that I’m ‘fortunate’ to have the choice doesn’t seem to make it any easier.  And what makes it even harder is that my husband and I don’t have the same assessment of all the fertility options.  This has created enormous stress – both for our couple and for each of us individually, especially as we started to get expert opinions saying that from a cancer point of view the hormonal treatment and an eventual pregnancy are possibiliites.  From my point of view the next issue then becomes SUCCESSFUL pregnancy.  As I’ve said to my husband, I’ve been on this infertility ride long enough that I’m really clear about one thing : I do not want to get pregnant, what I want is a HEALTHY BABY.  So then the questions come up as : if my body is able to crank out a few viable eggs next year (older! and I haven’t had successful ones yet, so this is a big IF), if I do get the eggs, will they be more likely to grow to healthy babies in MY uterus or in that of a surrogate?  I suspect that between my age, my miscarriage, my clotting factor, my ectopic and now my cancer (even after treatment), the answer is that there will be a better chance of success with a surrogate.  My husband’s ears and mind stopped listening when the cancer doctors said I could carry a baby after the treatment, whereas my mind was wanting the answer to the above question from a fertility expert (not a cancer one, who does not know infertitlity).

So we’re at an impasse of sorts, although I think my husband will come around, and I am not decided – just wanting more info.

I also am keeping myself quite guarded in terms of getting up hope.  I’ve been through quite a lot in the past few years trying to have a baby and have had just about every complication that you can have – and now cancer on top of it.  While I would love to believe that the answer is as simple as a few months of treatment and then magically being pregnant, I know that for me it won’t be that easy, and that even a successful IVF (not a given at my age and with my history), a successful pregnancy test doesn’t mean a successful pregnancy — a baby.

so ALMOST decided on a lot of things also means NOT decided, still in turmoil, still preoccupied by this, still a huge stress in my life.

But I’m also ALMOST at a weight milestone, and definitely holding the course of keeping to a healthy eating program and getting a small amount of exercise, and doing a number of things to manage my stress.

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