As you read this I'll be I surgery. I have a tumor, growth, mass -- call it what you want, I'll call it Fred-- on one of my ovaries. Last time they checked, Fred was a solid mass the size of an orange. Fred is big enough that I can feel him and he's starting to protrude from my belly. He's causing me all sorts of issues -- horrible and painful gas, groin pain, enlarged lymph nodes ... the list goes on and on and I'll spare you the details.
I've known about Fred for almost a month, but I knew something was wrong back in January. That's when I first went to see my doctor. Having lost 30+ pounds in the last 7 months, I'm in better touch with my body. I could feel the enlarged lymph node in my groin and I could feel the growing mass in my belly. I knew something was wrong. It took two doctors, multiple visits, ultra sounds and a ton of insisting on my part (my concerns were dismissed multiple times) before Fred was officially discovered and given his eviction notice. A solid mass of this size will not go away on its own. And it's been growing and would continue to grow if not removed.
My mother's family has a history of cancer. Two of her sisters died of cancer very young. While some types of cancer like mesothelioma explained by exposures from outside, I have it in my genes. Paying attention to my body and knowing my risks is so vital. When my size 6 jeans started feeling loose, I was so happy ... so proud. But nothing compares to the feeling of being able to look your doctor in the eye and demand they look deeper, because you KNOW your body and you KNOW something is wrong. Had I not loss the weight, I would not have know. My belly was too flabby to show the mass protruding. I wouldn't have felt it or the bulging nodes in my groin. This is why being at a healthy weight is so important and this is why I'll never gain the weight back.
My doctor is pretty confident the tumor is benign. We'll know more after my surgery is complete and in the week to come. If it is cancer, my doctor believes we caught it early. Either way, I'm am grateful for a relatively healthy body that can withstand surgery. I'm grateful for medical care and insurance. I never, ever hesitate to go see my doctor if I'm not well. And most of all I'm thankful for my family and the handful of close friends who have supported me thus far ... I am blessed. I am loved. And I am surround by strength and hope.
On a funny note … at least it was funny to me. When I found out I was going to have surgery my first response was “Well maybe if they take this tumor out, I’ll lose a few more pounds. Maybe they can just take my whole uterus.” Mike’s response? “Leave it to my wife to ask to have internal organs removed so she can lose weight.”