Saturday, September 12, 2015


Imagine being on a journey. The train stops. You get off. Feeling pretty good and ready to face the world. The train full of people pulls out of the station. Then it happens. You hear the collision. The train crashes.  You can't see it but you close your eyes and in your head you see it all. 

Dr. Bagaria, my breast surgeon, called almost a week after my surgery. The pathology report was back and he was happy to report that the initial findings were correct. The chemo had killed all the cancer in my breast and lymph nodes. I was ready to cruise through radiation now because life is good!  He then told me that Dr. Robertson, my gynecologic oncology surgeon, would call with the fallopian tubes/ovaries report.  That threw up a flag. Why couldn't he just tell me everything was fine?  The next day I got the call. At first all I heard was "let me explain what we found".....then several long words followed by the word "carcinoma".  After that, everything he said sounded like the school teacher from the Peanuts cartoon.......wah wah wawah wah.  Then it all started in my head. The wreck. The pain and suffering of watching my Mom's two year fight with ovarian cancer. The fight against almost inevitable statistics. The long days and nights in the hospital. The prayers. Falling to my knees begging God to save her. But the wreck in my head only got worse. I saw the broken heart of my Dad.  Watching the love of his life for almost 50 years try so hard.  His heart attack.  His emergency open heart bypass surgery.  My Dad in ICU. My Mom in critical care.  A horrible crash.  

But then I heard Dr. Robertson say something I've never had a doctor tell me. "God is looking out for you!"  I quickly opened my eyes. 

What are the odds?  A normal mammogram but enlarged nodes.  That leads to treatable/curable breast cancer but during diagnostic testing they find my mucinous appendix.  And that leads to a breast surgeon with an interest in diseases of the appendix.  The discussion of removing my appendix during breast surgery leads to......"we're going to be in the abdomen so let's remove the ovaries." 

What are the odds?  What are the odds that removing my fallopian tubes and ovaries would lead to the discovery of serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma (STIC)? And what does this mean?

What we are learning is that most ovarian cancer starts in the distal end of the fallopian tube as STIC lesions.  This is the precursor of high grade serous ovarian carcinoma. Within 3-5 years this usually develops into full blown ovarian cancer. These lesions are very rarely found this early except in BRCA positive patients undergoing preventative surgery.  Ovarian cancer has very few symptoms until it has spread - when it's usually too late.  This explains the poor prognosis for most ovarian cancer patients.  These cells were microscopic and all contained within my right fallopian tube.  But the most important part is mine are gone. Totally removed. What are the odds? Is it crazy to say my breast cancer saved my life?  This all brings a new meaning to the saying....things happen for a reason. Never question. Never doubt. God is in control. 

I've experienced a whirlwind of emotions.  Some I can't even explain.  I know I've been blessed.  I'm counting my lucky stars.  But what about those still on the train? The feelings of responsibility to help them are overwhelming.  I've prayed many prayers of thanks to God. But I'm also praying for God to give me guidance. To point me in the right direction to help them. And I'm confident he will. 

"From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I."
Psalm 61:2 KJV

American Cancer Society

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