News from Clusterfook

February 27, 2009

A year ago, I introduced some of you to my blogfriend Lisa, from Clusterfook.  We’ve never met in person, but we’ve been writing together for months over at the Mothers With Cancer site.  She has always been upfront and honest, hardworking and persistent, and dedicated to preparing her children for life, both with good memories of this time and lessons that they will take with them forever.  Her time is near, now, and she has posted her last tweet, email, and full blog post.  A friend is updating her blog this week at least and will keep the site up as an archive of her.  Of her life.  But today, I want to send this message out into the ether, where maybe she can feel it reverberate, just a bit, since she is mostly overwhelmed by the pain and drugs at the last, waiting, for the last minute of her life.

Lisa, we love you.  Go in peace.

Edited to add: Lisa’s gone.

Not as fun as water balloons

August 19, 2008

Hi.  I’ve been kinda quiet lately, because there’s something on the horizon, and I (as usual) don’t really want to talk about it.

Except (as usual), really I do.

You see, I have these two rather large cysts stretching out my right ovary and causing me some trouble.  Not cancer — thank goodness! — but trouble and pain and grouchiness nonetheless.  One is 5 cm across, and one is 6 cm.  Or at least that’s what they were when the ultrasound tech measured them in July.  That’s kinda big, and, well, some days they hurt.

A lot.

The normal ovary is the size of an almond.  Mine?  Stretched to 11 cm across.  If you could see inside my abdomen (why not?), the cysts would look like water balloons, stretched out as wide as their circular membranes can reach.  They don’t feel like water balloons, though.  They feel like, well, like something heavy is in there that shouldn’t be.  And some days they feel like terrible cramping pain, and some days they don’t feel like much at all.

They’re totally not as fun as water balloons.

It turns out that nearly all premenopausal women have a cyst or two, they just don’t usually swell this big.  When a cyst reaches 5 cm, I’m told, the fluid needs to come out, one way or another.

So, because of the pain, and the higher risk for me for developing ovarian cancer (which has vague symptoms and is difficult to catch early), and because one of the cysts is not a simple cyst like the other, but segmented and divided into its own little structure, we’re going to have these puppies taken out.

One day soon, I’ll go in for surgery.  The surgeon will cut and sauter my fallopian tubes, seal the pathway to my uterus, and pull each ovary out through a tiny slit.  He’ll sew me back up and I’ll wake up a little later, a little lighter, and a whole lot happier because of my reduced risk for developing ovarian cancer.

It might even take away the pain, which I think is just the ovary stretching and bumping into other things down there (like my bladder), but there’s no guarantee.

In fact, I’ve read that there are pretty much even odds for all three outcomes: pain gets better, pain gets worse, pain stays the same.

But the CANCER RISK goes down significantly.

Goodbye, ovaries!