Saturday, June 20, 2015

The red flag.

That's it. You may have to look very very closely before you see it.
A tiny dot.
A tiny RED dot.

This is not a subject I would choose to address in a blog post. But it might be important to someone else so here it is:

If you are a woman who's past menopause for a few years, and you see that tiny red dot in your panties, and if there is no known reason for it - see your doctor. NOW. Put everything else aside, because nothing is as important as getting to your doctor. 

Post-menopausal female plumbing should not bleed. Not at all. Not even such a tiny amount as that itty bitty red dot like the one above. That tiny red dot is your body doing the best it can to wave a gigantic red flag in your face: get help now.

I did, last week, and Thursday I heard those words you never expect to hear: "It's cancer."

So everything else gets set aside and I go to a succession of medical pros, and at this point we know it's Stage Grade 1 endometrial adenosarcoma. ["Grade" and "Stage" are two different things, describing different things. Grade I means it's the least aggressive form, it takes the longest to spread. Until the post-surgical analysis, we won't know what "Stage" it is - this is the familiar "Stage I, II, III, and IV" which tells us how far it has or has not spread]*.  I'm going to get a CAT scan in 3 days that will tell the surgeon more. We know I'm going in for a complete hysterectomy July 13th, and after that they will be able to tell whether it has spread, whether I'll need chemo and/or radiation, exactly what that nasty bugger is doing/has done. 

I was scared until I could see the oncologist yesterday, who would relate to me everything they know so far. I'd have moments of existential dread and despair, alternating with long periods of not thinking about it, going about my usual daily business. 

But the dread is gone now; I know what it is. I know what we're going to do about it. I don't know what will come after that, but I will, as time passes. I have a lot of hope that catching it "so early" (as every one of the medical people I've been to see said) means they can get it all with surgery. I have a lot of hope that even if that's not so, it hasn't gone so far that we can't still kill it with medical science. I even have a lot of hope that if it eventually kills me, I will still be able to remember what an incredibly lucky life I have enjoyed, and what dear, loving and loyal family and friends I have. 

But if you see a tiny red dot, and you know it shouldn't be there - see your doctor NOW.

This isn't going to become a Cancer Blog. I might mention it now and again but I hope to have other more interesting and fun things to post.

My kids gave me a tee shirt before I got the diagnosis. It says, under the atomic symbol:

"Keep Calm and Trust Science."

That's my motto these days.

*I edited this Monday, June 22nd to make it more accurate.

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