The day before yesterday I joined Leslie, Rob, Olivia, Jack, Joe and Arlene and Joe... for a walk to Tennessee Beach. Leslie's parents are out here again from Pittsburgh, you see Leslie will be doing what I did many years ago... she is having a hysterectomy on Monday.
Leslie has already fought and beaten Breast Cancer (3 years can I hear a WOO WOO?!) But ovarian cancer runs in her family. She decided to get ahead of Cancer this time and remove that chance of Cancer. I did the same thing.
After my chemotherapy was completed, the doctors had told me that basically, I would be in early menopause. I was taking Tamoxifen a drug that interferes with your estrogen basically stopping the estrogen from being a receptor for Cancer cells. A side effect of this drug is an increase risk of uterine Cancer.
One week, I had some bleeding that couldn't easily be explained. I high tailed it over to my OBGYN and suggested I might like to have a hysterectomy because if I could avoid ever hearing the word CANCER again that would be my choice. The Dr. complied. I had my surgery. Now here I was, a 44 year old woman with one breast, no uterus, no ovaries or the assorted other accouterments. There was no doubt I was flung past peri-menopause and directly into menopause. I had my night sweats. I had little mood swings. But by God I was Cancer free and still am.
While I was long past those days and night of tropical heat.... (night sweats etc) I have watched as my friends later approached this "change of life". Many opted for hormone replacement to handle those nasty side effects of menopause. I always cringe when I hear that is their decision. There is no guarantee these hormones would increase their personal risk for Breast Cancer, but we know they increase many people's risk (like mine!)
I didn't have a choice. I couldn't consider ever taking hormones again. And my quick flash method of menopause got be to the other side quicker than most folks. So all this is to say I understand what Leslie is going through today. It is a way to get ahead of Cancer but it is another bite of reality. A Cancer patient understands there is a lot to life that is not black or white, good or bad. There is a lot of gray that we all have to maneuver. I am hoping my walking buddy will be back in walking shape soon, because I need more days like the day before yesterday!
Take a look at some of the pictures of our sunny morning walk.