Disclaimer: This is some highly personal stuff here, so bear with, please. There’s “language”.
So far, finding fifty has been rather uneventful.
That is, until I received a call from my GYN’s office the other day, telling me that my test results showed atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS). They want me to come in for a colposcopy next Tuesday.
My world as I know it stopped when I heard those words. “Undetermined” means “cancer” to me, and who the hell knows what torturous experience this colposcopy thing will turn out to be?
Let’s go back a bit, shall we?
A year ago, I decided to return to see the GYN who performed my hysterectomy back in 2005. I felt like I wasn’t getting any relief from the numerous practitioners I had seen since experiencing the onset of “the change”. Surely she’d look at my file and recall the angry uterus and whatever-the-hell-else-was-lurking-in-there that she’d helped exorcise from my body. Maybe not. After all, it had been almost 11 years.
She ended up recommending that I begin using a low-dose estradiol patch. At first, I was scared because of the stories I had heard, linking estrogen therapy to breast and possibly other cancers. I even told her that breast cancer ran in my mother’s side of the family. Her feeling was that there was a “low risk window” for me for the next 5-7 years, and that such a low dose would be okay. So I started using them. My panic and hot flashes and (some) fits of rage all but subsided in about two weeks. Life was improving.
Then, this past February, a call-back on my mammogram for a second scan of something that wasn’t in my right breast last year. Inconclusive. Sit in the little closet with my tie-front shirt and wait for the doctor to bring me in for an immediate ultrasound. I feel like throwing up. I tell him about being on the estrogen patch. He says “Hmmm”. Still inconclusive. Come back in six months and let’s make sure it was just a fluke. So now, I wait until August.
When I went in for my annual GYN last month, I told her that they had a six-month callback on my mammogram screen. Immediately, she told me to go off the patch. I felt sick – like my one source of stability as I knew it was starting to crumble. She wanted to make sure that everything was okay with the call-back in August and then we’d see what to do.
So, a few minutes after that consultation came the test that eventually resulted in the phone call about the colposcopy.
Now, I’m sitting here writing because I need to share this with someone, anyone, who might have been in my shoes, or close to it. I don’t need criticism or a pat on the shoulder.
I feel so fucking alone right now.
In the past week, I have spent lots of time, deep in my own head, going back over all of the decisions I made as a young adult – some cautious, others not so much. Some just plain stupid. Regretting opportunities on which I passed and wondering if I may receive news soon that gives me a very short amount of time left to consider ever pursuing them again.
That “bucket list” shit just got real.
I don’t realize that people have been talking to me because I’m “somewhere else”. Right now, there are so many things I regret having done or not done. Most of all, I regret that I didn’t love myself more. Appreciate myself more. Realize that I was worth more than what others thought I was.
I’m a consummate worrier. And this, friends, is perhaps the proverbial icing on my many-layered worry cake. It goes way back to my childhood.
Holding my breath until Tuesday afternoon and hoping that all will be well. Thanks for letting me share this. Will be back in touch soon – hopefully with good news.