The hysterectomy story: An adventure in two parts

Page 3: The story continues…

And here it is — the star of the show — Ms Uterus! Before surgery, I asked the surgeon to take a photo for me, and she remembered to do it!

uterus after surgery
Seen above is my uterus (with fibroid intact inside) and fallopian tubes. It’s heavily pixelated to (hopefully) avoid triggering any fainting spells. The ruler at the bottom shows that the center mass is about five inches across.
Nancy on Wednesday, September 24 8:01pm (Facebook)

Since many of you have asked, here’s a (long) health update:

As you’d imagine, I hoped to put an exclamation point after my whole hysterectomy experience — over and done! But it seems that I will instead get to use an ellipsis and a question mark: Over and done…?

That’s because I finally got my pathology report back. It took awhile because they had to send the fibroid tumor off to Cleveland for further study because the people here couldn’t quite figure out what I’d made. In keeping with my desire to do things a little bit differently, it turns out I created a STUMP.

From Dr Internet: Uterine smooth muscle tumors of uncertain malignant potential (STUMP) are uncommon tumors. They are unclassifiable by current criteria as unequivocally benign or malignant.”

and

“STUMPs represent a heterogeneous group of rare tumors that have been the subject of only a few published studies, some of which lack detailed clinicopathologic details and/or follow-up data.”

and



“…considering the unpredictable clinical behavior of ‘STUMP’ and the fact that the malignant potential of some of them is substantial, patients should receive close and long-term follow-up.”

So it’s not cancer, but it’s not 1000% definitively NOT cancer… so I will apparently need to be checked out several times a year by a gynecologic oncologist just to be safe. I’m not going to worry (too much), as it could be so much worse, and there’s nothing that is definitely bad about it. Still, any healthy vibes are more than welcome.

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October 7 at 6:12am (Facebook)

It’s Dawncology day! Leaving now for a 7am appointment with the oncologist in downtown Phoenix. Healthy vibes welcome.

a hysterectomy story - myria gyn oncology
Not someplace anyone ever wants to be.
October 7 at 1:59pm (Facebook)

Entering into another wait-and-see period as they get another specialist to review the slides. Another surgery is possible (to remove the cervix), but if not, will have ultrasounds every six months or so to stay on top of any possible problems.

November 13 at 5:55pm (Facebook)

Medical update: Because the doctors just love me SO MUCH, I’m headed back into the OR on December 1 to get another part removed.

Several more oncologists and pathologists reviewed my case, and everyone seems to agree that, because of the risk of malignancy from my weird tumor, removing my cervix [the remainder of my uterus] is the best approach.

stump tumor pathology

In-thread reply from Nancy at 8:56pm (Facebook)

THANK YOU everyone! So grateful for all of you. This is so much better than what so many of my friends have been through, and I know I can handle this.

November 13
hysterectomy-xray
November 24 at 3:15pm: The X-ray room at the hospital

To reduce my risk as much as possible from the possibility of uterine cancer, the oncologist recommended removing the rest of my uterus. Though only the cervical portion had been left behind, in the event that we were dealing with a malignant tumor, allowing a home for even a single cancer cell could end up putting my life at risk.

She suggested doing a robotic laparoscopic (minimally invasive) hysterectomy, which would allow for much smaller incisions and afford a great deal of precision.

It all sounded good to me… even if the equipment looked like a prop from a movie about alien abduction and human experimentation. (Check out the photo of it in the section below.)

The only thing I knew I wanted to avoid was the dreaded morcellator (which she told me she didn’t use, anyway).

November 24

As previously mentioned, there’s very little data on STUMP cases — but there’s at least one reported instance where the tumor did turn out to be malignant and metastasized to the patient’s lungs. That woman died within four years of her hysterectomy.

So to be on the safe side, and to have something to compare against in the future, she sent me for a baseline chest X-ray the week before surgery.

November 30 at 12:06pm (Facebook)

Surgery tomorrow, so only clear liquids (and you don’t wanna know what else) today.

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I’m trying to control my whining, but it’s not working.

November 30

The liquid diet and, especially, the horrendous bowel prep before surgery, was just miserable.

Someone pointed out that I could handle the big stressors — but, for some reason, the small stuff nearly derailed me.

See, I had come to terms with the idea of being rendered unconscious and sliced open, had made peace with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to work for a week… but the reality of slamming laxatives and starving myself nearly sent me over the edge. On the bright side, I will never, ever, ever want to drink Gatorade again. That has to mean some future cost savings, right?



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