Hellooooooo After a Hiatus & Hysterectomy

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Hiatus & Hysterectomy

Hello! Hello! Hello! Where to begin? My oh my. I thought that sitting down to my beloved blog again after a six week hiatus would be a bit like getting on a bicycle again.* You know, where you hop on and are just able to ride. Not sure why I thought that. The truth is that sitting down to write was/is HARD. Why, I wondered, after writing so much for so many years was it so difficult? Maybe because my daily writing habit is dusty and needs to reignited? Maybe because I have so much to say? Maybe because all of my brain cells aren’t quite yet functional? Maybe I still don’t feel good? Maybe all of the above. The truth of the matter is that I have started and stopped this post about a bagillion times this week.

Please allow me to just jump right in with both feet (that was the best prescription that I could give myself after having such a hard time writing!). I hope that you will bear with me as I fumble through a description of my whereabouts (though the above photo does give a bit of clue!).

At the end of July, I found myself to be exhausted beyond belief (you know that kind where no matter what you eat, do or drink; no matter where you go, nothing in the world gives you energy?). Clearly I was in desperate need of a reboot. As August was approaching, all I heard from companies was, “We are on vacation” and “The business is closing for the month” and “I’m not really doing too much in August.” When Excitedly Eight’s (our daughter) piano teacher said that she was taking the month of August off, I thought, Why the heck not? After all, I am the CEO, Secretary, Filer and overall Silver Pen Factotum.

The first couple of days were way weird and way wonderful. I actually came to find myself enjoying the free time. I read, swam, exercised and organized drawers and closets. The time felt quite nest-y.

Then, it came time to deal with what I had been putting off (with the blessing of my doctors) for months. The long and short of it is that earlier this year (of course right about the time that The Silver Lining was published!), I started getting PMS-ie and even had periods again. My skin cleared and I even felt – dare I say it – feminine and sexy. This may not sound weird to you, but it was a shocker to me. You see, these feelings were new to me and I had not had a period since before my FBC (f-bomb breast cancer for new readers) treatment.

As many of you may recall, my FBC was hormone positive. Stated simply, my cancer fed off of hormones (estrogen, specifically) in my body. So, my type of chemo eliminated all estrogen in my body and put me into full menopause. That was SO.FLIPPING.FUN. Remember those days of the hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, etc.? Well the Silver Lining of not having any estrogen in my body…and those resulting symptoms was that I eliminated all cancer from my body. That’s a seriously whopping amazing Silver Lining, if I do say so myself.

As these symptoms started, I reached out to my oncologist and internist. We did blood work (multiple times). The tests were inconclusive – in other words, despite the fact that I was having periods, my blood results said that I was still menopausal. This posed a bit of a conundrum.

The reality is that blood tests are NOT the end-all-be-all (they NEVER ARE!) and we (as a team, of course) paid more attention to what I was feeling than what the numbers showed. …and what I was feeling reflected an “awakening” of my estrogen-producing ovaries.

By all accounts, I am cancer free (YIPPPEEE!!!!); HOWEVER, if by any wild chance there were any microscopic disease (all it takes is one little cell) lurking in my body, I needed to remove the fuel (estrogen) that would allow it to grow. There were three options:

  1. Pharmaceutical shut-down of my ovaries with a drug called Lupron.
  2. Oophrectomy (removal of ovaries).
  3. Complete hysterectomy (removal of uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes). BY THE WAY: A complete hysterectomy is not the same procedure as a total hysterectomy, although many people use the terms interchangeably. The uterus, cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes are removed during a complete hysterectomy. Only the uterus and the cervix are taken out in a total hysterectomy. This is super important to know if you ever have to have this conversation – which I hope that you don’t, of course.

After lots of research, discussion, debate and consultation, I decided to have a complete hysterectomy.

In another post, I will be happy to outline the reasons for my decision-making, but for the time being, I am tired. It turns out that a complete hysterectomy is a BIG surgery (don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!). Recovery has been lonnnnnng & challenging. Because I am going back to work in a big way next week, resting & healing is my top priority.

I am so very very happy to be writing again. Writing and re-engaging with you, dear readers, brings me great joy and fulfillment. Thank you for your love and support over the past month (years, actually!). I am eternally grateful!

* For the record, I haven’t ridden a bicycle in YEARS

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Comments

  1. Sara Umali says

    Hi Holly,
    Thanks for sharing! Your blog has helped me thorugh my own breast cancer diagnosis/treatment/healing. I’m 3 years out and at at crossroads.
    I’m currently on Tamoxifen but like you I still get my periods. I have shared this information with my onoclogist (who is wonderful) and was given the option to switch to an Aromatase Inhibitor to medically shut down my ovaries. I’m thinking complete hysterectomy. Would you mind sharing with me your decision-making process before deciding on complete hysterectomy.
    Thank you in advance for your time and insights.
    Peace and Light,
    Sara

  2. adriane adams says

    Are paths just keep taking the same road. Around the same time last year I had a lap assisted vaginal hysterectomy. They took my tubes and left my ovaries. Hope you are back to good health!
    Adriane

  3. says

    Yes, I feel happier now that I had my hysterectomy and as you pointed out it is painful. I also was shocked to get a very rare and aggressive breast cancer. I felt like I missed something or did something wrong for a very long time. I had lots of cyst in this breast and the doctor and scanners always told me for years they are nothing but fiber cyst and you will not get cancer In this breast. I went for a check up and no problems in February and then bam in my primary office and said this thing needs drained as it is red and itchy. She thought it was a breast infection. I was on antibiotics for two rounds before the ER trip and the female doctor said lets check this out in the cancer center. I was still clueless at that time until they started telling me the biopsy will be confirmed. I was admitted and confirmed with the results of IBC not only did I get the shock of knowing I had cancer but the fact of getting IBC it already jumps up the staging scale to 3 and depending on the rest of the results if in nodes and if my red and itchy skin is anything. Why it was all cancer and we moved it to stage 4. I thought it was time for me to plan for the end of my life. I had some talks with doctors and my family and decided to fight it. 7 chemo’s later, hospital stays, home care, surgery as we removed both breast, 33 radiation, set backs with fluid building in chest wall, now 8 out 13 more chemo’s to finish yet. I am still cancer free as believe it or not the new drug that is out made me extremely sick but each time I could feel it attacking the cancer cells in my breast. Surgery was a success and I came back with no cancer. I think we always have a chance and positive thinking will get you a long ways too.

    • silverpen says

      Dear Vicki,
      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am thrilled to hear that you are CANCER FREE!
      This is the BEST news!
      Please take good care and stay in touch.
      All my best,
      Hollye

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