Friday, October 12, 2012

Werdyab vs Cervical Cancer

I've been a little spacey and emotional this week.  I guess it was pretty obvious when I didn't know the difference between Bert and Ernie in this post.  And now, Elmo says that he won't invite me to Mr. Noodle's party.  Some things you just can't un-do.

I've written about not feeling well lately.  I've felt "off" for months, like I was fighting off the flu all the time.

A routine pap smear revealed the likely problem.  A biopsy confirmed that I have cervical pre-cancer at it's most advanced and aggressive stage.

First, let's check out those pretty little letters p-r-e.  As in, n-o-t cancer.  Yay!!!

But there's still some bad news.

My last pap smear was a-year-and-a-half ago and it was perfect.  I have never had one single abnormal pap in my life.  But now, my pap result is as bad as the test can indicate.

It typically takes 6-10 years to progress to what I did in a little over a year, so it's very aggressive. It has already contaminated the entire organ.  I am too late to freeze or remove the infected portion.

In addition to being a pre-cancer overachiever, I have also confused my doctor because I have never tested positive for HPV, a virus which is the leading cause of cervical cancer.

The fact that I don't even do cervical cancer like normal people should validate everything that you know to be true from reading this blog.  But in this case, I don't want to be the only one dancing at Starbucks (so to speak), and it concerns me that my body isn't following a predicted pattern.

I will be having surgery on Thursday, October 18th.  I'll be laying low for the next few weeks and kicking cancer's ass.

It is possible/ slightly likely that based on the aggressive nature and the level of contamination, they will find cancer in the removed cervix.  The biopsy only tests a snip, so some of those Stage 3 pre-cancer cells could have already flipped over to cancer cells in an untested area.  I'll have the pathology report 4-5 days after surgery.

If this is the case, I will see an oncologist for more surgery and possibly radiation.   They are preparing me for the worst, but I'm hoping for the best.

As far as cancers go, this is a good one to have.  It's easily curable and a lot more common than I realized. It seems like many woman have had cervical pre-cancer or cancer scares on some level.  It good to know that I'm not alone.

To complicate matters, I'm also having some digestion issues as well, so my gastroenterologist wants to rule out colon or intestinal cancer.

I hate to sound picky here, but, uh, could people PLEASE quit using the word cancer around me?  Thanks for your corporation.

So the first place that I'll go after surgery is to have a colonoscopy.  Hey, do I know how to party or do I know how to party?

In related news, the gastro performing my colonoscopy is young and handsome.  Shouldn't that be illegal?  Listen, if at least three people on this earth don't refer to you as "Paw Paw", you are too young to perform my colonoscopy.  He looks exactly like Aladdin, so on a scale of 1 to me singing "A Whole New World" while I'm doped up on anesthesia, I'm going with an 11.

In the past week, I've cried a lot and I've felt scared.  I've faced my own mortality and my insecurity about sharing that with others.  I've sobbed over not being able to have any more babies.  I've looked at my husband and children like I was saying goodbye.  It's been rough.

One of my best friends encouraged me to share this experience on my blog and remind women about the importance of preventive care.

The funny thing is that I wasn't going to blog about it.  In fact, I wasn't going to tell a soul.

When I first got the news, Brian and I talked, and I decided that I didn't want to tell anyone.

I guess because of where it's located and/or the fact that it's often tied to a virus, many women don't want to talk about it.  I know because I didn't either.

But then I thought about how if you are monogamous, you have never had an abnormal pap, and you  have never tested positive for HPV (like me), then the doctors say that you can safely go 2-3 years between paps. 

If I had waited another year or two, we'd be having a completely different conversation right now.  

I owe it to you to put my own awkwardness aside and remind you to take care of yourself.   

If it's been more than a year since your last gynecology exam, please pick up the phone and schedule that appointment right now.  And if you are having any other health issues, please don't delay in going to the doctor.  Anything caught early is best.


Please pray for a successful surgery, negative margins, no cancer pathology reports, good colonoscopy biopsy results, and for my stubborn gut to start working the way it's supposed to.

So, uh... heard any good jokes lately?




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Please like this blog on Facebook to spread preventive awareness and cancer prevention.  I might even post a funny e-card or two.



50 comments:

  1. I love you and we will fight this with you. Excuse my French, but F--K cancer!

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  2. How do you manage to be so clever and light and funny and... real when handling this very difficult topic? Because you rock. I can sense your optimism and strength through every word of this, though I know it's also probably been kicking your ass emotionally. Will be thinking of you and praying for a successful surgery my dear!

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  3. Sending thoughts and prayers to you over the next several weeks. You will beat this. You have an amazing attitude that will help you heal. Laughter is the best medicine. I'm glad you shared. You probably saved someone!

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  4. i am in tears from your post. pretty funny i must say but also very serious. i will be praying for you. you and your family is blessed...you will be a-ok. as for the funny joke, i'll facebook message it to you....amy chandler

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  5. Amanda, wow I'm speechless. First of all, I'm so impressed with your ability to keep cracking jokes. It is said that a positive attitude is one of the best medicines. So, I think you've got that covered. Secondly, thank you so much for sharing this. It is so important. I'm old school, and I have a pap every year. I had bad cells once, so my doctor used that as the "excuse" to the insurance company, which is sad that there has to be one. Thirdly, I will definitely send so many prayers for a positive result for you and a major cancer butt-kicking!! xoxo

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  6. Sending positiv thoughts all the way from Germany to you.You can do this :-)

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  7. Best wishes for a best case scenario.

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  8. Praying for you and your family!

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  9. Sending prayers and positive vibes.

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  10. I'm sorry. I know you must be scared. I've only followed your blog for a few months but just wanted to say that I will be praying for you!

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  11. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

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  12. Although I do not know you personally, your blog has made me feel like I do (a little :)) and you seem like such a strong person. You will get through this! And thank you for sharing your experience. Years ago I had an abnormal pap and they said I had HPV, checked my cervix and it was fine at the time. The next pap came back normal so I guess it can go dormant? I hope it stays that way, but it is nice to know that we are not alone. I too did not want to tell anyone. Heck, my husband is still the only one that knows! Please let us know how you're doing! Praying for you :)

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  13. God's got this! Keep the faith, and the humor :)

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  14. Thanks for sharing your story. Sending prayers for you and your family.

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  15. Awareness is key. Thanks for sharing!

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  16. I'm praying. I'm sorry you have to walk this road.

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  17. Sounds like you are going through something very similar that I went through the first of this year, minus the gastro issues.

    Went in for a regular pap (it had been almost 3 years for me, since baby #3). Came back abnormal. They then did another test that required a very large light and more aggressive scraping. They still weren't sure, but it wasn't looking good. Next, they scheduled a surgery, similar to what it sounds like you are having. It was there the results came back that I had cancer and pre-cancer cells in my cervix. For me, the cells weren't collecting as a tumor, they were all over the place. So, there was no way to know if they could or would get it all short of removing everything down there. These kinds of cancer cells just pop up wherever they feel like it. Ray and I talked and prayed about it and decided there was no other option. About 6 weeks later, I had a hysterectomy, removing everything except my ovaries.

    I don't say all that to scare you. I'm telling you because I want you to know that I know how you're feeling. And fortunately for me, and hopefully you (IF they find anything), there won't be any need for radiation or chemo. You can just removed the affected areas and make you good as new.

    It was scary hearing the words and admitting that was where I was at. But, the surgery made sense for us. If you want to talk, I am a FB friend of your mom's and I would be happy to talk, cry or whatever you need.

    Praying for you and your family!
    Valerie

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  18. I love you more than life itself. I would gladly take a bullet for you. So, I am putting on the armor of GOD, will stay right with you, and believe in the healing power of the blood of Jesus. You, in your humorous way, may have saved lives with your open and honest post about the importance of a pap EACH year! NO C WORD ALLOWED IN THIS FAMILY anymore! The soft voice of God was speaking to your heart, saying "something is wrong...keep going to doctors until you find what is wrong." On the lighter side...I do agree about the good looking doctor...weird!! Then at my age, I keep wanting to tell the doctors when the walk into my room, "you are cute son..dressed up like a doctor...but would you send in your Dad...the REAL doctor!"

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    1. Mom, I love you. Christ is the big "c", not cancer. Your words are wise. I was daignosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer November 29, 2004, my 50th birthday. They still can't figure out why I'm not dead. My "numbers" are still not normal. I don't do normal, just like Amanda. On days like today, that's a good thing. Praying for you all, trusting in His faithfulness! PS May 16, 2005 they told me I was incurable. Good thing the letters after their names are "MD" not G-O-D" - He is faithful.

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  19. Praying for you!

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  20. Amanda, please please please, research Essiac Tea, to go along with your treatments. I am NOT advocating natural remedy over medical treatment. I'm saying in conjunction. The way I look at cancer is this: It's basically cells that instead of reproducing into the type of organ they're a part of, they go haywire and grow into a lump that infects the other healthy cells. An element that seems to be common in cancer is the amount of free radicals running around in your body. Essiac Tea is basically a super cleanser that rids your body of free radicals. To me, cancer happens when those free radicals attack and find weakness in whatever tissues it can. Obviously there are several other factors, but the types of food we have in our country, just don't give our bodies the proper nutrition for it to function the way God designed us to. Cancer is so rampant nowadays, where as, 100 years ago it wasn't that common.

    All that to say, there are natural products that help our bodies heal itself, the way God designed it. My aunt had breast cancer. Removed the tumor plus some lymph nodes, had radiation AND chemo and was clear. 5 years later she was told she had cancer in her bones. She drank the Essiac Tea and the cancer disappeared. When she saw the doctor again, he said he must have been mistaken and it was something else because the cancer was gone.

    Just research it, and pray about it. To go ALONG with your medical treatments.

    You're an amazingly witty and upbeat woman. Your blog will no doubt affect many women. Way to go sister!! I will be praying the blood of Jesus over you. HE can accomplish anything.

    In Christ, Terri Kiggans

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  21. Disney girl from yesterday here....same person who shares your planning for birthday parties....

    Anyway, I just wanted to add a thanks for sharing comment, and a real life example of how "you never know how a random blog post can affect someone." My example is not tied to health or cancer, but one of "no matter what the topic, you still could make a post that sticks with a person."

    last January I was reading a popular home improvement/DIY blog when the authors of the blog allowed a guest post by a fan/reader. The guest blogger posted about fire prevention/safety after losing her home to a fire. Later the guest blogger would learn that it was the dishwasher where the fire started.

    Okay, call me dumb, but I never thought of a dishwasher catching fire -- maybe because it was connected to water, I DK -- something in my brain just seemed to think that if there was a fire, it would put itself out -- you know, being connected to a pipe and all.....

    Anyway, President's Day weekend of last year, my husband and I were planning to go out of town, but in the week's prior something just didn't feel right to me and in the end we decided to stay at home. Monday, a lazy day off, we woke up to a horrid smell coming from somewhere in our house. We made breakfast, spent time searching for the source, and came up with nothing. Later as the hubs was washing the breakfast dishes, I walked in the kitchen to see smoke coming from the sink. I thought it was weird and upon closer examination, discovered that smoke was coming from the control panel of THE DISHWASHER. We found that our dishwasher was hard wired in so we turned off the breaker, and when the repairman came a few days later, he showed where some switch/circuit did not switch off in the panel and was left on, hence overheating and melting the plastic inside. We ended up buying a new dishwasher.

    However, I am so grateful that a guest blogger posted a blog about how her dishwasher started a fire that lost her house, and it stuck with me that yes, even fires can start with dishwashers. My husband and I did think about doing a short 3 day cruise over that weekend, and had we taken the cruise, we would not have arrived home until late Monday night, and who knows what would have happened.

    Anyway, thank you for being brave and posting your story. You may never know when it might click for someone "hey, I've been feeling under the weather....."

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  22. Thinking of you! Wishing you all the best

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  23. Thoughts and prayers are with you for sure. And thanks for the ever so important reminder to take care of ourselves!

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  24. Hugs and many prayers coming your way! Gods has this. Rest in his arms. If it feels overwhelming trying giving yourself 10 minutes every hour to stress over it. That helped me when my dad was so sick with bladder cancer and I was pregnant. Then for the remaining hour I had to focus on the good around me.

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  25. I admire your bravery in this post and I will sending prayer and good thoughts your way!

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  26. I know this was difficult for you to post, but you did an awesome thing by speaking out about it. I strongly encourage you to get armed with the Word of God and when you start to feel anxiety and fear, use the Word of God to shut down those things. For example, "God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of Power, Love and a Sound Mind." or "No weapon formed against me shall prosper." Amanda, you are a child of GOD! God has been using you in His kingdom. This is not from God and I am here to pray for you and with you. Also, you have a church full of folks that love you and are mighty prayer warriors. We are here for you and are ready to go to war in the spirit to deal with this. You are more than a conquerer through Jesus! Love you!

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  27. You are always inspiring! thank you- I will be praying for all your great results! much love.

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  28. I am so sorry that you are going through this, My heart aches for you and your family. I literally cried while reading your blog only imagining what you are going through and feeling. Sending love your way. :)

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  29. Thinking about you and thank you so much for writing this! There was an episode a few days ago on Dr. Oz all about Cervical C-word and HPV and I have already had it on my mind to go and get testing done and keep it on my radar. This was a very important and inspiring post. Hugs and thanks for being so brave. I am really into natural food and health and I bet there are so many foods and teas out there that can help the body fight this:). I will share if I come across anything helpful.

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  30. I love reading your funny blog - it gets my through work sometimes - don't be scared!! You're soo lucky you caught it....I'm 26 years old and at age 22 I was diagnosed with CIN III and had 70% of my cervix removed...everything else came back clear but I'm still completely terrified every time I go for pap tests...I was great about getting checked yearly and even got checked twice the year before the abnormal test. A PAP smear isn't always accurate and a lot of times it may take a few years to catch it if something is abnormal. You will do absolutely great and don't worry!!! Hug your kids a little closer and be so glad you have such a great support group. You're in my prayers!!

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  31. You're my hero - for finding humor at a dark time, and most of all for sharing. I know it must've taken a lot of strength to click publish on this one, but you're going to help a lot of people. Maybe save lives. You're not alone in your fight, and you're right that it's very treatable at this stage. Lots of people have had this diagnosis and beaten it, myself included. I can't believe everything piling on you at once, up to and including having Aladdin poking around - jeez. My thoughts are with you - praying for happy, healthy outcomes all around.

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  32. I think it is wonderful that you decided to share what you are experiencing. In addition to your many talents that amuse, entertain and uplift....now you have given us life saving info from one who is 'in the know'!! I thank God for you Amanda and pray for nothing but good news for you these next few weeks and always!

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  33. AMANDA! My oh my, I'm so glad that you posted this. I will be keeping you in my prayers, and please do keep us posted! Thinking of you, praying for you, and sending a hug your way.

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  34. I'm very sorry you are dealing with this. I've had HPV for years now and always dread that phone call from the OBGYN after each pap. Like you said though, it's very treatable. I'll be thinking of you and your family and pulling for you!! Stay positive and don't let this get you down.

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  35. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Sending good vibes to you today.

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  36. Your sense of humor and this post are to be applauded. I have never felt comfortable with the 2-3 year spacing of the pap smear. You are one strong lady and you are using your platform for good. But goodness gracious, it takes a whole lot of talent to win yourself a post-op colonoscopy. Stop overachieving.

    Praying for you.

    Ellen

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  37. Bless your heart. I know this post will help many and I hope the writing of it helped you a little. We're all pulling for you.

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