Freaky Friday! In Which I Announce to the World, “I DO NOT HAVE CANCER!!! YAAAAAAAAY!!!!”

“Sad Robot Encounters Too Much Laundry” by Helen E. H. Madden

For those of you wondering about the title of this blog post, yes that was actually a concern I was dealing with the past couple of months. In addition to the cookie coordinator stuff, in addition to the deluge of work, in addition to my father-in-law’s death, I have been dealing with various health issues all along.

But it’s all over now.

Let us breathe a collective sigh of relief over my cancer-free status and current state of good health (unless, of course, you are someone who hates me and wishes me dead, in which case I say, “Eh, fuck you.”). And now let me explain.

Some weeks ago, I had my annual pelvic exam and pap smear. My weight was good, my blood pressure was good, everything looked fine and I left the office a happy camper, or at least as happy as I could be after having a sun lamp shown up my nether regions whilst the doctor conducted the exam. Then a week later I got a phone call telling me my pap smear had come back abnormal. This is not something a woman ever wants to hear. Abnormal pap smears can mean just about anything, but one of the things they can mean is cancer. I took a deep breath after the phone call and made the follow up appointment like I was told and then did the best to put it from my mind.

A week later, I had a pelvic ultrasound. Not a fun procedure, but not the worst thing to happen to me. The doc said things looked good, except… The lining of my uterus was too thick. He didn’t like that and wanted to do a hysteroscopy and a D&C. So I took another deep breath and made another follow up appointment.

I had to reschedule that appointment since it fell during the week my father-in-law died. I did my best to put any worries about cancer from my mind, since the doctor hadn’t mentioned cancer yet, but since my father-in-law had suffered from cancer prior to his death, it was kind of hard to not to think about that possibility. A week after his memorial service, I went back into the doctor’s office, had the hysteroscopy and D&C (which was unpleasant, since I don’t normally like having a camera shoved up inside me to look around for anything, and then have the lining of my uterus scraped out). During the hysteroscopy, the doc found polyps and an unusually lumpy lining in my uterus. Definitely abnormal. At this point he said it might be hyperplasia. He took biopsies and did the D&C and said he’d have everything tested and he’d get back to me in two weeks. Depending on the results I was looking at either having to do nothing, having to start hormone treatments, having to get the lining of my uterus burned out, or having to get a complete hysterectomy. The last two options really made me nervous, especially when he mentioned that the lab would be checking for precancerous cells.

I just knew when I went home that day that whatever was wrong, it had to be cancer. So much else had gone wrong in the last few months, and things were not getting better. I had a day of hysterics, during which the Hubster worked to keep me calm. Then the next day someone in Princess’ Girl Scout troop needed more cookies, and there was a podcast I needed to work on, and more work came pouring in and I quickly buried myself in everything that was going on to distract me from imagining the worst possible scenario that kept hovering in the back of my mind.

Today I went back for the follow up appointment with the doctor. Everything checked out just fine. The polyps were benign. I’m simply getting older and producing less progesterone and that means more estrogen in my system which is what caused the excess tissue production in my uterus. The doctor doesn’t even want to bother with hormone therapy. He’ll keep an eye on me, you can be sure. But he says I’m in good health and will stay that way for some time to come.

Right now, I’m more relaxed than I’ve been in weeks. My uterus is cancer-free. The cyst that had been plaguing my back for the last couple of weeks was removed yesterday after an hour of the doctor digging around in my back. Cookie stuff is D-O-N-E, all the money turned in and all the paperwork filled out. I have to get my taxes done this weekend, but that won’t be too bad, and then on Monday, I can finally resume my normal life.

I have had a lousy six months, but I’ve survived. And let’s face it, my situation could be a lot worse. There are people all over the world who do not have the advantages or privileges I have, who don’t have enough to eat or homes to live in or spouses who love them and take care of them no matter what. I am very grateful my life is good. But I’ve had a wakeup call. Thinking I might possibly have cancer led me to reconsider a lot of the things I do. I’m stepping back from commissioned work, drastically. I’ve quit one job entirely. I’ve explained to the Hubster I’d much rather focus on my own projects rather than work for someone else, regardless of the money. And I’m obviously making the shift from writer to artist. I will still write, of course. I love writing. But that dream of being an artist, of creating my own comics and posters and such, has a much stronger hold on me now.

Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to celebrate my good health by drawing more Sad Robot pictures. Have a good weekend, ya’ll.

About Cynical Woman

Cartoonist, Artist, Geek, Evil Crafter, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Writer. Also, a zombie. I haven't slept in I don't know how long.
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  1. Blog post up! I DO NOT HAVE CANCER! YAAAAAAY!!!!

  2. @Cynical_Woman oh I’m very pleased! congratulations!

  3. @Cynical_Woman oh yay!!!!!!!

  4. @Erastes @onezumi Danke! Today has been such a relief to me.

  5. @Cynical_Woman Woo Hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Wow, Helen, you’ve been through hell. I’m so glad to hear that you’re well and that the big, scary stuff is mostly behind you.

    “…I’ve explained to the Hubster I’d much rather focus on my own projects rather than work for someone else…” –I recently said something similar to my husband about being tired of selling my creativity to other people and wanting it back for myself.

    Really glad you are doing well and hope the balance of 2011 is good to you.

  7. @LeighEllwood Thank you! Now I can go collapse in peace for a bit.

  8. @Cynical_Woman Break out the champagne! The relief one feels in that moment is like suddenly losing 10 lbs.

  9. @Cynical_Woman Definitely good to hear!

  10. @NekoMich Now taking time to enjoy gardening and wine. My backyard is a disaster!

  11. @Cynical_Woman Heh, ours isn’t as bad as it was given I got to spend most of last week out there!

  12. That is good to hear Helen. Please consider yourself hugged and/or spanked, whichever you prefer! 😉

  13. Alice,

    It’s been very eye-opening, the last six months. I’ve never enjoyed working for others. I’m just anti-social that way. I do enjoy some of the freelance work I do, but the clients are in another state/country, which gives me space. But I’ve reached the point where I’d rather work to my own time line and not others. It’s selfish, in a way, but I honestly think I might get more accomplished creatively and even financially if I had more time back to myself.

    Here’s hoping the rest of the year is good for all of us!

  14. Mark,

    I’ll ask Hubster which is more appropriate 😉 And thank you for the kind thoughts!

  15. Gah what a horrible thing to go through, but I’m so thankful you are cancer free. That must have been scarier then we can know.

  16. Nuchtchas,

    I did my best to ignore the whole “I might have cancer” thing. I knew, logically, it was only a minor possibility, so I didn’t want it to take over my life. Plus I had so much else going on. But even so, that sat in the back of my mind for a couple of weeks. I fee much better now that I know I’m fine!

  17. So glad to hear you are relieved and well! I know my msg got stuck in your email spam filter, and that you are up to your eyeballs right now. Much love and hugs

  18. That is great news! Being in a sculpting *frenzy* yesterday, i wasn’t able to read your post til today, but i’m sure that’s a huge relief.

    And, YAY for being an artist! i’ve been encouraged to sculpt more as a result of this project, and i discovered that i WANT to sculpt more. So i hear ya there too.

  19. Some scary shit, Chica. So glad you weathered the storm and came out triumphant. Bedraggled, perhaps, but triumphant. : )

  20. Lisa,

    It was scary, but I didn’t really realize how much it was all bothering me until it was over. I knew I was stressed, but didn’t have a clue as to how much until they took my blood pressure at the final appointment. It was way up from normal. Now I’m working on getting it back down. No more caffeine for me for a while! But I will be getting lots and lots of exercise now 😉

  21. Ravyn,

    I am very relieved, and obviously now working to catch up on all the things I wasn’t able to do while dealing with this mess, like answering blog comments (yikes, I am behind!). And yes, I definitely have started heading more into the “art-zone.” My drawing output is way up, much of that due to my being able to use my iPad as a portable digital sketch pad. I’m surprised at how many drawings I’ve done in the last few months, many while waiting in the doctor’s office. Funny how that worked 😉

  22. Dear friend,

    Thank you. You’re email wasn’t lost in my spam filter so much as buried under all the other email that’s been coming in. I’m slowly starting to sort through all that now. It’s just been crazy here, and hard to keep up. Hopefully things will slow down now and I’ll be able to reply to you and many others soon 🙂

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