Oh the joys of getting older. I have always been a surprisingly private person, when I am fearful or stressed out, I rarely go public with my concerns. Even during the worst period of my life, when John (my husband) committed suicide and left me to deal with life on my own, as a single parent, I shared my real fears only with Danielle and my therapist, and on rare occasions with my bff Susan. Keeping it to myself has been a way of life. When Mom had her stroke, when Mom died, most of my fears stay inside or sometimes creep out in a private journal. With all of that said - I have a new concern and I want to shout out about my fear, but my long held 'privacy rule' is keeping me from reaching out. Fear, it creeps up and grows.
Getting older means all of that messy menopause stuff, no one wants to talk about it, and believe me its not pretty. Being a generally organized individual ( at least about some things) I noticed a disturbing pattern, my menstrual cycle going wacky, shortening to almost 10 days apart - seriously annoying, so I went to the Dr. and asked about it. "Its probably nothing, just your hormones fluctuating as you get nearer to menopause". She suggested we do an ultra sound "just to be sure'. Well with school almost ending and lots going on, it got put into the back burner, but literally the last day of school my period starts, but never stops.......20 straight days of spotting and I am very frustrated, so I find my ultra sound referral and make my appointment. Now I have already done some research, its what I do when I face something new and potentially scary. Knowledge is power, my first line of defence has always been to research and learn what I am facing. That gut feeling, women's intuition, whatever 'it' is, I have it,always have - just sometimes I ignore it. That feeling says, there is something going on, and sure enough I get a call from the doctor's office, we need you to come in. It sounds pretty scary, "a thickening of the uterine lining" and I need something called an endometrial biopsy. It isn't as scary as it sounds, but it can be serious. Now I get to just sit and wait for this procedure and see what kind of cells they find. Now for the scary part, if they find atypical cells, it could be endometrial cancer. Yup, I said the C word. Everyone's biggest fear. I could see the fear in Peter's eyes. I can't imagine how he feels, having lost his whole family basically to cancer, this is not something he remotely wants to think about. I do know that if there is a problem, I could not be taken care of better by anyone. He is so kind and caring and surprisingly patient with me. So the waiting for the next week or two will be the hardest part, because once I know if there is an issue I can deal with my fear and face it head on -because that's what I do. If it is bad news, there is still lots of reason to be optimistic, even though endometrial cancer is the most common gynecologic malignancy in the United States, and the fourth most common female malignancy, the Overall survival is excellent since 75% of patients have disease confined to the uterus.