Browsing Category

HEALTH

Cancer Journey/ HEALTH

My Oophorectomy Surgery Story | How To Prepare for Surgery

pillows on a bed for surgery

I’m going to write my Oophorectomy story in a couple different posts, to remember it as part of my cancer survivor story, and also to help anyone else that may be facing this surgery.

Having organs removed (especially ones that affect the entire endocrine system) is not a light or easy decision, and knowing what to expect or the story of someone who has been through it might be helpful.

I did a lot of googling and research before my decision to have an oophorectomy and really desired to read more personal stories of those who had been through the surgery and their experience. They were hard to find.

An oophorectomy is the removal of the ovaries. A Salpingo-oophorectomy removes both the ovaries and the fallopian tubes. This was the surgery I had and it was done laparoscopically.

Read this post for more details as to how and why we decided that an oophorectomy was for me.

This first post will be the story of surgery day, and I will end it with some tips for someone who will be undergoing an oophorectomy, too. I’ve learned a few things along the way!

There will be future posts to come on my healing journey, too. You can subscribe to New Nostalgia to have future posts delivered right to your inbox so you won’t miss them if you are interested.

surgery center

My Oophorectomy Surgery Story

December 2018 6:00am

We check in to our local brand-spankin’ new outpatient surgery center. It is just a 5-minute drive from our home and I was surprised at how happy I was that it was a new, modern and ‘pretty’ facility.

If you know me, you know that atmosphere matters to me.  I appreciate and notice how my surroundings make me feel. I loved the newness and esthetic of the building.

The parking lot was empty and dark, except for a few lingering piles of snow. My 18-year-old Teagan and my husband Todd woke early and came with me.

It touched my heart that my Teagan wanted to come. She is a first-year college student who wants to go into the medical field either as a nurse or a PA.

She was so grown up and supportive through all of this and I felt like I had my own little personal nurse, not just at the surgical center, but also the days of healing at home.

She often checked on me all throughout this past week, asking if I needed anything and how I felt. Be still my heart!

There was no one else in the waiting room that early, and they called me back within minutes.

Continue Reading…

Cancer Journey/ HEALTH

Oophorectomy Surgery Next Week {Cancer Prevention Update}

oophorectomy surgery

It has been a long time since I have written a post with ‘surgery’ in the title. I’m very grateful for that. My last surgery was in 2015, and I have always brought you along for the journey, so I am writing to fill you all in.

You have been so supportive and kind in this cancer story of mine, and it does my heart good.

I also write about it to bring a sense of purpose out of all of this. I’ve always said if my posts can help someone feel less alone or help cancer fighters make decisions with ongoing cancer prevention, then I will keep writing.

 

Getting Used to the Idea of Surgery

I remember a settled confidence about surgeries from 2010-2015. I was in warrior mode (especially the first 2 years) and just did what needed to be done.

I feel that confidence is missing now and frankly, it is frustrating.

Shouldn’t I be more grounded as I get older? I did just have a birthday (43 years!) and I’m so thankful for the years, but yet I feel a little nervous.

Why my apprehension?

 

Maybe because I was younger then.

Maybe because I had 6 surgeries in 5 years and all that practice brought an almost ‘normal’ to it.

Maybe because I am a 2 on the Enneagram and it is in me to be a helper to others, less in me to be the one being helped.

Maybe because back then anxiety was not as much in the picture…I think this one is the main reason.

Maybe because I hate adding to our medical bills and feel guilt over this, even though my sweet husband says we do what is necessary and is so gentle about this.

 

I think it is all of the above.

Not only was I younger then, but so were my girls. Now that I am thinking about it (processing while writing) I think this is also why this surgery feels different.

When they were young I could protect and hide pain from them to an extent.  I put on a brave face when they got home from school and tried my best to keep things normal.

Now they are old and smart and there is no hiding realities of cancer from them. They have been in this cancer world, and have loved the same people I do who have experienced great loss due to cancer. They know.

My oldest is studying to be a nurse and is learning how the body works. She will probably read all about the details of my surgery and maybe even watch a YouTube video of the surgery…eek!

She definitely has a medical brain that can handle this…but as her Mom it is my instinct to protect.

Really I just don’t want them to experience worry or pain because of me, but I know that is not realistic. That would make me a perfect Mom and this life a perfect life and we all know that is not the case!

I know a good God who loves them more than I even do and who has promised to use pain in their life for good so I will choose to believe Him in this!

As far as being out of practice and my anxiety…yes, these are two very real things contributing to my apprehension of surgery.

My oncology nurse asked me about depression and anxiety a few months back and told me that it is a very real struggle and that I can blame her and the very thing she held in her hand…a Zoladex injection.

These injections have shut down ovaries chemically for almost 4 years now, which shut down hormones that can feed my type of cancer. Shutting them down enables me to take a cancer medication that can only be taken if you are in menopause.

She said they shut down happy endorphins and make anxiety and depression a struggle in her patients. Her words help me feel less alone but very sad for others who are getting them too.

I struggled with these things before the shots, but not to the extent that I have (with anxiety) the last few years.

These monthly Zoladex injections are very, very expensive, (almost $2,000 per injection!) and the grant we received to pay for them ran out, so I had to quit them. I’ve had a 3-month break from injections and cancer medications and I have so enjoyed it!

It has brought some relief from joint pain, hot flashes and several other fun side effects that I will spare you from the details of.

But, it is time to become protective again. I always knew it was only a break. I have 3 more years of treatment.

Now, instead of shutting my ovaries down chemically, we are going to remove the ovaries instead, hence surgery.

 

Breast Cancer patient collage{2010 & 2011}

 

Cancer Prevention Surgery – Oophorectomy

There are several ways this surgery helps with cancer prevention. Like I said before, my cancer is fed by estrogen, so suppressing estrogen is important. Ovaries are a key player in estrogen production, so they gotta go. 

Also, in order to continue taking the aromatase inhibitor which is a cancer prevention medication I’m on (I take it for 10 years, and I am in year 7), one must be in menopause, so this surgery (Oophorectomy) will make this happen immediately.

Lastly, my ovaries have misbehaved over the years, causing us to try on different cancer medications and switch from Tamoxifen to Aromatase Inhibitors.

I constantly grew painful cysts on my ovaries while taking Tamoxifen and had to have regular ultrasounds to make sure the cysts were not cancer. We switched up my meds after 3 years of that.

I’ve recently had pain since being on my 3-month medication break, an indicator that my ovaries are misbehaving again, or trying to switch back on, which we do not want.

Stubborn little suckers! Makes me kinda proud…not really but sorta. 🙂

After much debate with my Oncologist and time in prayer, I’ve decided to submit to her strong opinion of just getting them out for good. I’ve always done what she has suggested and trust her completely, even despite my anxiety about it all.

 

basket of items used while healing from surgery

{remember this ‘by the bed’ basket post I wrote? To keep things within arms reach while healing.}

The Forced Slow of Surgery

One thing I am pretty used to is having surgery during the winter months. I had my mastectomy the week between Christmas and New Years in 2010, and have vivid memories of arriving back home on New Year’s Eve.

I had one of my reconstructive surgeries on Halloween—I remember being in and out of sleep when my girls kept coming in my room to show me their costumes and candy stash. Such precious memories…they were so young!

Another reconstructive surgery was in December before Christmas…my “special” implants got stuck on a plane in Texas because they got snow there and all of Texas shuts down when snow comes! Lol.

You..my readers, made jokes about where they were stuck because everything gets “bigger” in Texas. Ha!

I used that postponed surgery to do all my Christmas shopping in one day (online shopping was not the norm back then) and have precious memories of my sweet sister-in-law Tanya helping me wrap them all so I wouldn’t have to worry about it after surgery. 

It really was a God-kiss and perfect timing to have surgery postponed and get all my Christmas stuff done before surgery!

 

God’s Hand in the Midst of Surgery

Here is the thing. As I look back, I see God’s hand clearly on me and he has always guided my path. I know he will do the same this time, even if it takes my emotions some time to catch up to what my brain and heart knows. God’s got this.

I will be ok and I know I will find the strength within to be brave…because He is in me! I know I will use the “forced- still” of healing (4-8 weeks of healing they say) to really lean into the meaning of the Christmas season.

I will choose to see the gifts!  I will find my thankful and list the gifts…healthcare! A doctor I trust! Sisters who create meal trains and friends/family who bring meals! No surgeries in 3 years! No cancer for 8 years! So, so many gifts.

And yes, you better believe I will use surgery as an excuse to hygge!

Prayer Requests

Are you are one who prays for others? If so may I ask you to lift these things up?

  • That surgery would go smoothly, healing would happen quickly, and God would protect my people from worry.
  • Pray specifically for the protection of my literal heart. There are studies that show an increase of heart attacks in women down the road who have had this surgery. I already have a chance of increase due to chemo and radiation, so pray protection and a strong heart….and that I would be faithful in doing my part in this — meaning regular exercise and good diet!
  • Pray specifically that I will not react to sutures, bandage adhesive or anesthetic, (I have sensitivities and history of this) and that my lungs will stay clear after surgery….I got pleurisy after my last surgery and it was not fun.
  • Pray that my IV will take right away. I have a history of my veins being stubborn and it can take a bit. I also have a history of IV being blown right as they put me to sleep and it was very painful. Not a good way to fall asleep for surgery. I remember panicking for a few seconds, but then the sweet relief of sleep came as they quickly used my port instead…

As you can see, I have so many good memories of God taking care of me, but also have these memories that create anxiety in me, which is why I ask you to pray.

Again, thank you for the prayers, and always coming along with me.

Follow my Instagram stories for updates!


UPDATE: I had the surgery and am healing well. If you want to read about my oophorectomy surgery story and learn some tips and tricks for preparing for surgery, then see this post.


You might also like:

My Cancer Story

My Oophorectomy Surgery Story | How To Prepare for Oophorectomy Surgery

7 Years Surviving Cancer – A Slow, Steady, Apprehensive Dance Celebration

A Bump in the Road on this Journey of Breast Cancer

Counting Gifts/ HEALTH/ Spiritual

What Have I Done To Deserve Love Like This?

Driving through Monterey, sunroof open, coastal air in our hair.

I’m nestled into the passenger seat of my Karen’s car.

 

It is one of my most favorite places in the world to be.

She brings a soft blanket and pillow for my head, just in case I am tired after my early morning flight.

She brings nourishment in a cooler, just in case I am hungry.

 

“What have I done to deserve love like this?”

{Push Play On Song, Maybe Listen While Reading?}

 

She is my beauty from ashes friend, and I cannot help but think how tangible that is, all throughout this 4th trip of mine to California.

All 4 trips have been a gift, plane tickets and more paid for.

Continue Reading…

Emotional Health/ FAMILY/ HEALTH

The Key To Waking Up Early In The Morning and Establishing a Morning Routine

 

I am now a morning person, but I have not always been. The key to waking up early in the morning for me has been simply this:

 

HAVE A REASON TO GET UP THAT IS MORE APPEALING THAN STAYING IN A WARM COZY BED

 

Yep. That is it. Sure there are tips and tricks that can help the process…but really it comes down to what you personally desire and what is most appealing to you at that moment when the alarm goes off.

On days that I repeatedly hit the snooze button (which is pretty rare), it is a sign that all is not right in my world and I need to look deeper and reevaluate. It is a personal heads up for me.

So what is more appealing to me than staying in a warm cozy bed?

Continue Reading…

FEATURED/ HEALTH/ Natural Products/ New Nostalgia Shop

New Nostalgia Shop Launch + Giveaway!

cards on rings

I have been giddy excited for this day to arrive so that I could tell you all about the NEW, New Nostalgia Shop! It has been in the works for over a year and the day is finally here.

I often talk about living well and with purpose here at New Nostalgia, but how does one practically do that?

There are many ways to do it, both big and small, and intentional living looks different for different people.

 

3 cards on rings and a plant

Maybe we have this in common, though…just maybe we could all use something tangible to help guide us in our pursuit to do all the important things.

With that in mind, I’ve created tools–simple, printable cards to refer to– that has been life-changing for me in my pursuit to live well, and my hope is that they will be for you, too!

 

cards on rings magnetic hooks

How have they been helping me? For starters:

Continue Reading…

Decorating/ HEALTH/ HOME/ Spiritual

My Summer Wicker Hanging Chair for Prayer

wicker summer prayer chair

One of the best things that happened to me this summer is the gift of a wicker hanging swing chair. We keep it in our backyard and it has quickly become one of my favorite spots, to sit slow and spend some quiet time in prayer.

I have to admit, I find myself a bit surprised that our backyard has now become one of my favorite spots, because for a very long time it was one of my least favorite areas of our home, that is, until I had an attitude change.

Continue Reading…

Top