Got your attention yet? You know, and the pain that I write this with, and the tears that burst out at times when I’m writing this, doesn’t compare to when I was living it. It’s such a horrible hurt that you just can’t explain. No words can fully describe it enough to the point that you feel the same hurt and pain as when you lived it. But here I am now. Telling my journey to you. I’ve obviously survived this far. But not without scars. I have invisible and visible scars all over my body and each one tells this journey that I’m sharing with you.
Noticed the date? February 22nd. Today, 3 years ago, I was or had been in surgery. The day I felt my life had changed so much, and still, little did I know there was more to come.
I specifically remember waking up ever so lightly, as my eyes twirled and my mind was all wacky. I remember seeing very blurry and I caught a glimpse from the corner of my eye of a figure that seemed to be a nurse checking. I assumed I was in the recovery room, but not yet a regular hospital room. I barely was able to make out the words I asked her. “How was my surgery? Did they take out my ovary?” And as I was about to listen to her answer, a huge pain came in and I’m assuming she injected me with pain killers because it knocked me out without ever hearing the answer.
I woke up screaming in pain and trying to move. I could hear my mom and the nurse telling me to hold on that they were going to get medication. I didn’t know what had hit me but all I did know was that I had NEVER felt so much pain in my life. EVER! I open my eyes and there was a lot of blurriness. The sunlight of a beginning sunset was coming through a window. I can see my beautiful mom next to me, but I couldn’t make out if she was crying or not. Something didn’t feel right. What happened to only a few small incisions laproscopicelly? Why is my entire abdomen all bandaged up? Is this how laparoscopic surgeries feel like? I feel like my insides have been torn out! Ahhhhhhhhh! Why is it so f*&$ing painful???????. My mom tells me, “you had a C-section like surgery; they took out your ovary. Everything is fine now.” Within seconds I fell back asleep due to the nurse injecting me with some pain medication. I knew it! I knew this would happen!
I finally wake up. Still in pain, but bearable pain. I look around and my husband is sitting next to the hospital bed and my mom and dad are sitting by my feet. They asked me how the pain was and I told them ok, but that I felt tired. They started telling me that the surgery lasted an hour more than expected and that my OBGYN came out to tell them that the surgery was a success, but they had to remove the ovary. He had mentioned that the mass (now being called a Tumor) was 7 INCHES IN DIAMETER!!! Yes, you read it right! 7 inches!!! And that the ovary had been dead for a while and there was nothing that can be done to save it. He said that due to the large tumor, he had no other choice than to open me up with an incision a little larger than a C-section as well as 5 laparoscopic incisions around my abdomen, one of which was long ways by my belly button. Great! That’s why I was in so much pain. They removed my right ovary and fallopian tube and I had a 7 inch TUMOR on my ovary.
The good news was that the Doctor did check the uterus and the left ovary and those seemed absolutely fine without any news of it being affected by this massive tumor.
I stilled cried though. I couldn’t believe I had only one ovary left. What makes doctors think I can get pregnant with one ovary if I couldn’t get pregnant with two? Cry Cry Cry! Frustration! Emotional! Depressed. All of the above. But nothing can be done now. The ovary was dead and it had to be done.
I spent the next two nights in the hospital, being visited by my family and friends and giving me a nice feeling of love during my emotional internal fight. My husband would come to the hospital as soon as he got off of work and would bring me flowers and remind me how much he loved me throughout the day with texts. Maybe this is what I needed? Maybe because the ovary was dead it was confusing the other ovary and I wasn’t ovulating which in turn prevented me from getting pregnant. I still had time to get pregnant by 2011. I mean what the heck? 2011 can still be our year, maybe not to be parents but to at least be pregnant and become parents in 2012! My mood changed. I was ready to conquer the world once again.
I was discharged from the hospital on Thursday, February 24th by my OBGYN. He told me to come see him in a week, March 3rd and that he had already scheduled it for 10am. Awesome. That was exciting because that means it was a post op appointment, he was going to release me and say that I would be able to go back on my Clomid and nothing will stop me now because I have a great ovary and uterus and I’ll be pregnant in no time! 2011, you will be my year! Totally!!!
My mom took me home from the hospital, kept me in bed (because with a C-section like incision the last thing I needed to do is run up and down the stairs) and just took care of me, while my wonderful husband worked. It was a smooth recovery, and I couldn’t wait for the post op appointment that was coming up. I think I only had cried one day, just because of the thought that I didn’t have my right ovary anymore, and that little smudge of doubt was in my mind still… but overall I was ok.
Thursday, March 3rd came. I couldn’t sleep. I was SO excited! I woke up at 5am that day and woke up my husband before his alarm to talk to him about how excited I was with this appointment. He was semi-excited too, but he also told me to not be heartbroken if he tells me I have to wait a little longer to get on the meds again. I said I would be ok with that, but that this is the road that will finally be taking us to baby Tristan. He smiled and started getting ready for work. He helped me get my pajama pants (the best ones we could find, since I still couldn’t wear regular pants because of the incisions) and a nice shirt to match the pants with my jean jacket since it was a little breezy out. My hair the morning was cooperating really well with me. Everything was. I just KNEW this was going to be a great day! My mom had planned to come home and make me my favorite broccoli soup and I was just happy! I hadn’t felt like this in a while. Plus, my parents had bought me my new Michael Kors purse and I was going to take it with me to the doctor’s appointment. Ha! Pajama pants and a Michael Kors purse! Funny! Oh well!
My mom arrives at the house, she helps me down the stairs and we get into the car. I’m all smiles. We have the stereo on and we even sang a song together with the radio that we both liked.
Before I continue, let me tell you something about my OBGYN. The little that I had met with him, he was ALWAYS smiling, making jokes, and just making you feel comfortable. Very easy going doctor and just good to be around.
As we arrive to the doctor’s office, I can’t help to almost want to run, but obviously that wasn’t going to happen. We start walking up the first flight of stairs that lead to the entrance of the building, as we arrive to the top there is a woman with her husband and toddler. The husband was carrying the toddler and the woman was throwing up in the trashcan. I hear her husband say, “yup you are pregnant, honey!” Geez, I hope that’s me one day (ok, maybe not throwing up in public, but being able to be told by my husband that I’m pregnant as he’s hold one of our toddlers). We continue to walk into the building and head on to the elevator, LONGEST TRIP OF MY LIFE! I just wanted to be in the consultation room already! I wanted him to check me and say ok, you can start your meds in a couple of weeks…. AHHH! Hurry up, Nati!
We finally arrive into the lobby of the doctor’s office and they check me in. Within a couple of minutes they call me in and we are finally in the consultation room. My mom and I are just waiting for my happy-go-lucky OBGYN that always has a smile on his face to come in the door. We wait. We wait. We wait. Finally! The door opens, he comes in…. why does he look so serious? Hmm… maybe he’s just having a bad day.
He sits down in front of my mom and me (we are sitting next to each other in the chairs that were in the consultation room) using the step stool to get on to the medical examination bench as a chair.
I remember the conversation well. At least to some point.
“How are you feeling?”
“I’m feeling good, Doctor. In some pain, but getting through it.”
“So as you know we took out your ovary, and the tumor attached to it. We got the result back.”
Oh god. Oh god. This was just supposed to be a F*$&ing PRE OP APPOINTMENT!!!!!
“It was a malignant tumor. You are diagnosed with Cancer.”
It didn’t hit me. It put me in a trance… his voice was muffled after that… All I could hear was “you have cancer, you have cancer.”
The doctor left the consultation room to get what I could barely remember being the paperwork to refer me out to UCSF Gynecological Oncology Department. My mom was in tears. But I was still in a trance. Everything was a blur. Did he really just say I had cancer? I remember pinching myself a little. I hadn’t even noticed tears coming down my eyes…. Until I felt something wet on my shirt. Apparently I had a blank stare with just tears coming out.
The doctor handed me the paperwork and said some more things that I couldn’t remember and still to this day can’t remember. I got up; my mom helped me out of the consultation room, out to the lobby, out towards the parking lot and got me into the car. As soon as I sat in the car, but before my mom could go around the car to sit in the driver’s seat, I absolutely bursted in to what felt an uncontrollable cry. I was crying like if my mother had just died as well as my dad and my husband and everyone. I felt death inside me. My mom hugged me from across the seat, but I didn’t want to cry with her. I wanted to cry and scream and run. I wanted to run away and never comeback to this reality. This horrible reality that…. I might die? Oh god! I have cancer. Oh my god! Why did you do this to me? Why do you hate me!? Why God??????????????????????? WHY???????? What did I do to deserve this God? What have I done that is so horrible that you poisoned me with cancer? Why god?!?!?!
As I write this, I can help but cry. The memories from that day are still unbearable to this day. Yet, they are so burned into my brain that I will never forget them. I remember how it felt, the pain, the hurt, and the terror I felt inside was unexplainable….
As we are driving down Scenic Drive, my dad calls. (He always calls after a doctor’s appointment to see how it went), my mom freaked out. She didn’t want to tell him. He was at work and she didn’t want to worry him. But as I had already composed myself, I told her to answer and tell him the truth calmly. My dad’s voice paused from the speaker phone when my mom mentioned the word cancer. I could tell it had stabbed him hard. He said he was going to work until 2pm and then head home. My mom said ok, and hung up. As my mom continued to drive, with tears in her eyes, I look down on my phone. I didn’t want to call my husband. I had been dreading it since we left the parking lot. I don’t want to tell him that his wife has cancer and that she thinks she’s going to die and that she loves him so much that she couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him behind. F*&^ YOU MARCH 3rd!!! I F*&$CkING HATE YOU!!!!!!!!!
I pick up the phone and tell my mom I was going to call my husband. She starts to cry some more. My heart is dead. Or so it felt like it. It rings a few times (which felt like it was 100 times) and he answers the phone. I went into a trance again. I don’t remember even talking to him, I just remember the pain of saying it out loud that I had cancer. I remember hanging up with him and just crying all the way home! My husband didn’t deserve this!!! He didn’t deserve to be put through this s#$t!! Why GOD!!!!! YOU, YOU DID THIS! WHY!?
I had to get a hold of myself. I needed to calm down. God didn’t do this…….. Right? Of course not! We pull up to my drive way, we noticed my uncle was there with his family to see how I was doing. Oh god! They can’t see me cry. I have to be strong. Alright, Nati. Get it together.
We get off the car, open the door and said hi to them without direct eye contact. We go and sit on our sofas. And my uncle said, “Where were you?” My mom bursts into tears, I respond with, “We were at the doctor.” And he asked what had happened. And my mom comes and sits next to me and says to them, “The tumor had cancer, and she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The doctor referred us to UCSF.” I remember my uncle and aunt’s face have a little shock that they were trying to hide. But it was inevitable. I mean, how could it not be shocking? Nobody expected this. For crying out loud, I didn’t even know Ovarian Cancer existed!!!!!!!
Family came throughout the day, and I was able to put some of the pain in the back of my mind. I had texted some family to let them know as well. My husband wouldn’t leave my side. I know it was hard for him, since my parents were there, family was there. I think he would have wanted a little alone time with me in order to mourn the news. Being the amazing husband that he was, he also knew this family distraction was good for me.
It was 10:45pm. Everyone was gone. March 3rd. Oh March 3rd. You will forever be remembered. You will forever be a stain in my memory.
We arrive to our bed, my husband helps me get on the bed (since my C-section was also opened a little and had to be re-shut during the doctor’s visit). As I lay there I start crying like a little baby. It hit me. It finally hit me and it hit me hard! I kept screaming, “I don’t want to DIE!! I DON’T WANT TO DIE! Why me? I don’t want to die, babe! I don’t want to die!!!!!!!”
I cried for about an hour… silently for the last 15 minutes. We were lying in bed, and my husband’s undershirt was all wet. He was hugging me so tight during this entire time. I didn’t want to look up. I didn’t want to see if he was crying. I know he was though. I could feel him.
I fell asleep hugging the love of my life, while the thought of these nights being counted, roamed through my head. I didn’t know about a future anymore. I didn’t know about life anymore. I did know March 3rd and 2011... I f&$*CKING HATE YOU!-To be continued-