Monday, August 30, 2010

Just a little note between friends...

Lately, instead of journaling, I have taken to writing letters. I find it extremely helpful in helping me keep my internal dialogue realistic. I also find that it helps me sort out my boundaries with different individuals in my life because in my letters I can say whatever I want and assess how I would feel if they read that letter. It is so very beneficial. I had never thought of doing that before, but the idea came to me a few weeks ago, when I heard that my dear friend Bryce was moving away. I started a letter to him, which I intended to keep writing every day until he left. However, after I found out that he was pulling a prank on me and not actually leaving Seattle, I stopped the letter. Upon reflection, I found that the method was very helpful in processing what I had to say and what I didn’t want to say. Therefore, now I am writing letters.

The letter writing itself is even fun. I write on stationary, and keep each person’s letters in their own envelopes. I think eventually I will have to buy bigger envelopes for some people. I like this. A lot.

Today was also the woman’s doctor extravaganza. Let me just tell you that old man doctors are the best. They are very sweet and very kind and there really isn’t anything you can do or say that will shock them. This does not mean that I don’t still hate them for being doctors. I do, but I put up with them because they’re likeable even though they are doctors. Anywho, outside of all of the normal crazy stories that come from gyno appointments, let me fill you in a bit on the disease and how that is progressing. Gentlemen, be warned. I will be covering a lot of female material.

For those who don’t know, I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (aka PCOS or hitherto, “the disease”). This little disease affects between 5 and 10 percent of all women, and is a real little bugger. Basically my body produces too many androgens (a classically male hormone, not unlike testosterone, which is also produced in small amounts in women). This over production of androgens, causes my body to gain weight, which in turn affects my ability to absorb my own production of estrogen, because estrogen is hidden in fat cells. So when I weigh too much, my ovaries don’t get enough estrogen to ovulate properly and I form new cysts on my ovaries. These cysts are really harmless, unless they become cancerous. However, not being able to ovulate properly would also affect my future ability to bear my own children. I was diagnosed two years ago, at which point I opted not to use any form of treatment but rather to lose some weight and see if that helped – thinking maybe if there were less fat cells, I would get more estrogen and the problem would resolve itself.

My plan worked to a certain extent. I did lose enough weight to make my body have normal periods. Hurray! I have been “normal” for a little over a year now. However, my ovaries are continuing to grow and new cysts are still forming. The good news is that I shouldn’t have any problem bearing my own children. The bad news is, that because of my family history with cancer, the doctor is now concerned that these cysts may be presenting a whole new problem… cancer. So, the plan now is that I am on the pill (which is not my favorite solution, but one I was prepared for). I will also undergo some genetic testing, which will show whether or not I have the RNR-R1 gene, which causes cancer, and more specifically for me, increases my chances of breast and uterine cancer. That one scares me a little. If I do have that gene, we will start discussing the possibility of biopsying the larger of my two ovaries to ensure that those little cysts have not become little tumors. It is very unlikely that I have cancer. It is more likely that we need to keep a careful eye on my precious little flowers to ensure that they do not turn into angry little Venus fly traps that slowly eat away at my insides.

So for now I wait for my genetics test. I also have another appointment in December (two days after Christmas… Jesus, I asked for Javier Bardem for my present, not a gyno appointment…). I have to lose 25 lbs by then and quit the carcinogens. If all that, combined with the pill, doesn’t help, then the doctor will put me on Metformin, which is a diabetes pill that also happens to help with the disease. I do not have diabetes. Thank goodness.

I am feeling okay about everything. I came close to the tears a couple of times (because I still feel like Quasimodo, because I am almost like you, but just not quite), but really I’m not so worried. I do not in any way believe I have cancer. I just think I might someday. But someday is not today. Not at all.

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