A Recap One Year On
Today marks 1 year since I had a total hysterectomy with salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of my ovary and tube) and 1 year of living with estrogen deficiency (aka surgical menopause)
Some of you will know my back story but many won’t and whilst I try to live my life looking forward, rather than back, I feel it’s important to share my story up to this point so you can follow the journey ahead.
So hi, I’m Deb, I’m 36, married with 2 young children (my son was born in Oct 2012 and my daughter Apr 2014). In January 2015 I went to my GP terrified that I had Ovarian Cancer (OC) having seen this posted on Facebook by a friend who had lost her sister to OC. What are the symptoms of Ovarian cancer?
Following blood tests, scans, gynaecology appointments and surgery in June 2015, it turned out I had a grapefruit sized Borderline Ovarian Tumour (BOT) on my left ovary – both the BOT and ovary were removed. This basically means that although it wasn’t Cancer (Hoorah!!) it was a low malignant potential tumour and they couldn’t 100% say that there was no malignant cells in there as they can’t test every single cell.
I was told that BOTs are basically a bit of an unknown as in they don’t know why they occur nor if/when they would turn malignant. So basically there was a chance that I could develop another tumour on my right ovary, that could possibly become malignant, therefore life limiting but there was also the chance that nothing would happen again.
The consultants advice was that I should have a total hysterectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy to reduce the risks all together (this treatment wasn’t even on my radar so it hit me like a ton of bricks when she said this!)
Anyway, I was given 2 options –
- Have 3 monthly scans to keep an eye on everything and wait to do the surgery until I am closer to natural menopause age, with the added option that we could try for one last baby if we wanted to. Although this was something I really wanted and not having no. 3 will always leave a little sadness in my heart, I am grateful that I have 2 amazing, if not sometimes annoying, children. There are many young women who don’t get this option and go through gynealogical cancers/conditions and treatments before they get to have a child (if they had wish to do so)
- Recover from the first surgery and then get booked in as soon as possible for the next so that the risk would be eliminated but in the knowledge that I would be put into Surgical Menopause.
I felt like I had been put between a rock and a hard place! The thought of going through 3 monthly scans paralysed me with fear! I wouldn’t forgive myself if I developed another tumour, especially if the outcome was worse, knowing that I could have done something to take it all away. The risk just felt too great to me.
BUT my other option… surgical MENOPAUSE… well, that came with a whole new level of worry and unknowns. I could potentially still be 20 years away from natural menopause and there are lots of health risks associated with menopause and having no estrogen at such a young age. Menopause at any age can increase your risks of heart problems and osteoporosis but going through this risk at a young age can be life shortening. You then have the hot flashes, foggy mind, mood swings, depression, anxiety, lack of sex drive, vaginal dryness, skin dryness, etc to contend with! Add into the mix that there is no one size fits all treatment or management plan for these symptoms but instead a plethora of approaches – Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), natural remedies, holistic therapies, going without anything, and even wearing a magnet in your knickers. You can hopefully see that this was not been an easy decision to make!
However, I feel I made the only decision that I could and that is to do what I needed to do to ensure that I can enjoy a full life with my husband, children, family and friends. So, on Tuesday 10th January 2017, I had the op!
It’s be a hell of a year with the surgery, bereavement (sad loss of my dad in May), surgical menopause, changes in direction with business and all the other worries and stresses of life. It’s felt like quite a dark, lonely path at times but I have fortunately had many beautiful stars shining around me, gently illuminating the way and now my flame is burning bright once more.
Ironically is has taken for me to lose my womb to be able to really connect with the energy we as women hold in that space and through the guidance and support of people like Tania, I am awakening!
Over time, I hope to share the wisdom and ramblings that come with embracing my path as a young crone so I invite you to join me and be inspired to connect with your own sacred female wisdom
Love and light
For more information about surgical menopause please visit www.thesurmenoconnection.com