Friday, December 10, 2010

Ovary Twist (apologies to Charles Dickens.)

Ovaries. Kevin doesn't have any, but I do and apparently they're rubbish.

I never thought I'd get to a point in my life, before I was over 60 anyway, that I could say "my husband is dying" and not be melodramatic in the slightest. Right now, my husband is dying of end stage renal disease. He gets out of breath walking from the bedroom to the living room. He gets out of breath getting dressed. The other day he was standing in the kitchen eating pringles and literally got out of breath chewing. Kevin also has edema in his feet and ankles. Edema is a fancy word for swelling. His kidneys are just sitting around being useless, so it's not filtering out salt and water the way it should. If this is left long term, people develop congestive heart failure.

I might have been ignoring any potential health problems I may have, but I am generally healthy. I have high cholesterol, tooth decay and weight gain (there is a direct correlation between those). I just had routine lab work last week and everything came back completely normal. At my appointment last week I mentioned to my DR that I noticed a hard lump in my abdomen, mostly on the right side.

The DR did an exam and felt around and seemed surprised at the size of the lump, which is apparently more of a massive growth than a lump. She said I'd have to go for a CT scan to see what it's attached to. She said it's fast growing and likely benign since I don't have any other symptoms. She also said that it would have to come out.

CT scan came and went, and the radiologist reported back that I have a 17 cm growth that appears to be growing upward from my right ovary. (17 cm is about 7 inches). It's also several inches wide. My DR called and said that it's large enough that it's pushing against my right kidney, but the good news is that there are no other lumps anywhere which again points to benign, and she's sending me to a gynecologist who will check it out and do the surgery to remove it.

The gynecologist was much less optimistic than my PCP. She said that she needs to test and see if it might be cancerous and that she will call a gynecological oncologist and consult with them.  She explained that although it seems like it's benign you don't know until you test. She wants to have an oncologist on standby even if the blood work comes back normal. She explained that she'll perform the surgery if it looks benign, but if any test comes back with funny results, the oncologist will be doing the surgery. She said to expect a 6 week recovery time from surgery and that only if I felt really fantastic could I go back to work in 4 weeks. She sent me for blood work to test for tumour markers as soon as we left her appointment, and by the time we walked out of the appointment room we were told that she was already on the phone with the oncologist.

We'll have the results back by mid next week. I am trying to be optimistic that this is benign. She told us that I will likely lose this ovary. She broached this subject carefully, probably being used to women who dream of having children. She looked quite relieved that I had no such dreams and told her to just yank it out. The DR said that the CT scan shows it to be mostly fluid filled, so it's more like a cyst. I was under the impression that it was solid tissue. I'm not sure where I got that from. We were hoping that I was spontaneously growing a kidney for Kevin. Apparently not. Bummer.

This news comes at what I can, again without being melodramatic, call THE WORST TIME. Kevin is about to have another transplant surgery, right now he's feeling ill all the time and will probably start dialysis next week. Ideally, I'd want to delay me having a surgery until Kevin is done and all better, but this thing is fast growing and need to come out as soon as possible.

It felt odd to have places switched today, with me on the exam table and Kevin in the normal chair. I told him "now you know what it feels like to be the concerned spouse". Kevin replied that he does not like it.


1 comment:

  1. We are in this with you - and praying for both of you to get through this and recover completely xxxxx Ina