Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ovarian Cancer Screening

So I had my first ovarian cancer screening on thursday.  It consisted of a blood draw and pelvic ultrasound.

I think it's sign that I've spent way too much time at the hospital when the phlebotomist passes me in the hall and says "Hey, haven't seen you in awhile".  Then when I'm back getting my blood drawn he says "I know you from somewhere other than here don't I?"..... No.  This is it.  I've just had my blood drawn by YOU like 10 time times in the last 6 months.  The last time I was in, he asked me if I worked that the hospital, because he was just sure he saw me regularly outside of drawing my blood.

So the blood draw this time is for a CA-125 test.  Which from my understanding CA stands for Cancer Antigen and this particular one is found in higher concentrations when ovarian cancer is present..  So a low number is good here.  When/If I found out the number I'll post again on that.

The ultrasound was pretty much torture.  They told me I had to drink 32 oz of water between 10 and 1030.  So I did, and at 10:30 I didn't think that was too bad, but then at 11:30 when I showed up for my appointment, and had to wait for the phlebotomist and then had to wait for the ultrasound, I was very anxious to get to go to the bathroom.  Then I was called back for ultrasound, and she started with the external which was pushing on my stomach for about 30 minutes.  She had a hard time finding my left ovary, so she was pushing really hard!  it was not pleasant.

Finally she finished with the external and then told me for the internal one I needed my bladder as empty as possible.  (must it really be so extreme??) so she said I should go to the bathroom, then walk around a few minutes, then go again.  SO I did as she suggested and she insisted on a quick external  ultrasound again to ensure I was empty enough.  I did a "good job", so we proceded with the internal ultrasound.

I'm not going to go into alot of detail on the internal ultrasound.  It is what it is.  It just went on alot longer than I anticipated.  Not looking forward to do this again in 6 months.

As she was going along and I assumed she was close to being done (which she was not) I asked if she could show me what my ovaries looked like before she finished.  And she said "okay... well let me just tell you then, you do have a large cyst on your right ovary... it's about 3 1/2 cm.. so I'll show you that and then I'll show you your left one when I get there"  (yes she hadn't even made it to the left at the time I thought she should be finished).  So atleast from the angle she showed me, we couldn't even see the ovary.  It was blocked by the cyst.  Which on the screen looked just like a big black filled circle.

She didn't go into detail about why my left ovary was so difficult to find.  I got confused and asked if it was because of the cyst, and she clarified, no it was the right that had the cyst, and it was EASY to find because of the cyst.  She showed me a picture of my left ovary and commented how they usually look like a chocolate chip cookie, and that mine is a shaped a little different than normal.  Rather than being round, mine is shaped kind of like a peanut shell.  Which I don't know.. seems like from looking at pictures online anyway it's pretty normal to not be exactly round...

She couldn't really tell me anything because she's not the expert.  I'll just have to wait for the report from the radiologist to get to my doctor and if they feel the need to call me, they will.  I didn't get a call Friday, so I'm kind of thinking I'm in the clear.  We'll see Monday, I guess.  But I'm really thinking that a strangely shaped ovary, and even a 3 1/2 cm cyst is somewhere in the realm of normal... So I'm not really expecting a call from doctor, unless they just call to say it looks okay, or even "hey you have a cyst that we'll just see whether its still there or not in 6 months when you go through this again".

Annual mammogram is NOTHING compared to this!  I'd rather have a mammogram 4 times a year than this twice a year.  But this isn't something I get to negotiate on.  No fair trades here.   Well, oh well.. it is what it is.  I'm screening for cancer.  Hopefully it will never be an issue, and if it is, hopefully I'm doing what it takes to save my life.  Thats what this is all about.  That makes it worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Ohh I feel for you. I've experienced the fun of the internal ultrasound...which I described in a very colorful way :) Hang in there!