Sunday, April 13, 2008

I've been away for a while. Seems I have/had ovarian cancer. I had been complaining of tiredness since October (Doc: "Could it be psychological?") and then a number of other things happened to my body. I was in for a partial thyroidectomy on March 27 when I finally convinced yet another doc to take a look at my abdomen. "Hmmm, this is not right." After reporting to my surgeon (who had told me that it was a violation of Einsteins law of conservation of matter and energy that I could have gained 10 pounds in a month eating nothing but yoghurt, cottage cheese and cereal) what the "this is not right" doc had said, the surgeon ordered a CT scan. Mass in my abdomen that measured 25 cm (that's 10 inches). Went home on March 28, back in the hospital on March 31 for more surgery. The 7.5 pound tumor was malignant, but the surgeon thinks I won't need chemo.

I had none of the risk factors for ovarian cancer (except my Dad had colon cancer late in life) and I had every one of the factors that mitigate against having ovarian cancer. I did have every one of the symptoms (such that they are) of ovarian cancer, but no one seemed to pick up on it.

I think I was very lucky that it was found early. My frustration is that it took so long to get a doctor to take me seriously. I had four different doctors examine my abdomen and no one of them thought it unusual, even though it was hard and I looked seven months pregnant.

And so, now, almost two weeks after the surgery, I am beginning to come to terms with it.

I had always imagined that I would live into my 90s. I am very healthy. My great health fear is stroke and so I have been exercising (part of my symptoms was my inability to exercise) for years and trying to eat relatively well. I have no family history of cancer before the onset of old age, so this was well off my radar screen.

Now, I am old enough to know that I am finite. I preach on the finitude of humanity a lot. But, I don't believe it, not deep in my gut. I can do anything.

Life is short. I hope that I can begin to live more intentionally, savoring each moment.