This is the secret:
|I am comforted by thinking that maybe one day we'll look back and realize that we have the most amazing love story...|
So, shortly before we were to be married, at my annual appointment, my family doctor asked whether we were planning to have children, etc. I confided in her that our hopes were to get pregnant in about a year (which, spoiler alert, ended up being the case!), and that before we do so, I'd really like something to be done about the abnormal cells so I can put that worry to bed.
She referred me to an OBGYN, who months after our wedding and after running more tests including the most excruciating pap test of my life (they took a biopsy sample from inside my cervix as well as my uterus- yyyyyyyeeeeeeeouch!) told me that my samples had tested positive for Adenocarcinoma- a cancer which develops from the mucus-producing cells of the cervix. <-- Longest run-on sentence ever. Forgive me?
I'm inserting this diagram here, so you can see what I'm talking about:
Got it? Good! :)
I had none of the usual symptoms: bleeding, bleeding after sex, spotting between periods, unusually long or heavy periods, pain during sex, etc. None. All I had was this history of off & on again abnormal cells. Yikes.
I was referred for a second opinion after being told the risk factors for the necessary surgery would put me at a higher risk for incompetent cervix. I remember BAWLING my eyes out, worried about the wee babies I had yet to conceive. In November 2009 I met with a Gynecological Oncologist (I think that's his title?) who, while confirming I would need a cone biopsy to make sure the cancerous cells were removed, alleviated my fears by telling me he had numerous patients who went on to birth babies with no complications.
I went in for my surgery, the cone biopsy, on January 5, 2010. It was cancelled and rescheduled that day while I had an IV in my hand, due to a nursing shortage. (I'd curse our healthcare system, but to be honest I think I've had my fair whack). The surgery was rescheduled and performed January 13, 2010. The surgery, performed under general anesthesia, removes a cone-shaped (hence the name) portion of the end of the cervix, which provides more details of the disease, and also removes early-stage cancers and pre-cancerous cells.
The surgery was a success, and I was very lucky. I later found our that I did indeed have cervical cancer cells trying to migrate from the original site ::shudder::.
By the end of March or Early April 2010 I went for my follow-up examination with the Oncologist. He told me everything looked great, took a swab, and then we talked babies. I let him know if he told me I should wait, I would follow his wishes. I didn't want to risk IC, nor did I want to risk my own health. He gave me to go ahead that very day, and wished me luck.
By the time I was in there in July, I was already a few months pregnant- we were extremely fortunate to conceive Jack on our very first month trying just weeks after getting the go ahead to start trying. It was even more special to us, as the Oncologist actually told me that once I was done with having my babies, he would like me to consider further surgery (possibly a hysterectomy) down the line as to prevent any cancer recurrence or spreading. Apparently this stuff can come back- sweet... This is obviously something we would need to delve deeper into later down the road, but it certainly made us appreciate our pregnancy even more than we had.
And back to the PostSecret. I remember, after finding out I had this somewhat rare cancer for my age group (it tends to appear in women in their later thirties, apparently), thinking Scott and I would have a difficult road ahead of us. I knew that if we could get through something like that (while turning out to be quite minor as far as Cancers go, ::knocks on wood::), we could get through anything... Turns out, we can.
I knew that one day, we would look back and realize we have the most amazing love story.
I think it's even more true now. One day, when we're old and grey and in rocking chairs in a retirement community somewhere, people will find out our "story" together, and be amazed we persevered, that we lost, and that we continued to love each other so very much.
Amazing love story? Indeed.