The Best Bad News We Could Get

You know how you buy a new car and you love it? And then someone hits your car and it’s in the shop and you get it back and it’s just never the same again?

That’s how I feel lately about my body.

I was happy with my body. It’s been a good body for 53 years. It gave me two children, produced food for them, and got me through eight marathons and one ultra marathon. I even had other surgeries, an appendectomy on my 27th birthday and a hysterectomy five and a half years ago.

This latest surgery and a cancer diagnosis and impending chemo have been the big car accident that makes it seem like I’ll never quite be the same again. My stomach is lumpy, for God’s sake.

I was shocked to read two facts about ovarian cancer on the NOCC (National Ovarian Cancer Coalition) website:

Cancerous epithelial tumors are carcinomas – meaning they begin in the tissue that lines the ovaries. These are the most common and most dangerous of all types of ovarian cancers. Unfortunately, almost 70 percent of women with the common epithelial ovarian are not diagnosed until the disease is advanced in stage.

Epithelial ovarian carcinomas (EOCs) account for 85 to 90 percent of all cancers of the ovaries. 

Also, epithelial ovarian cancer rarely happens to women under the age of 60. This is why Dr K keeps saying “because you’re so young” when she talks about treating me aggressively, even though I’m not really “so young.”

Removing surgical staples

Removing the staples. It didn’t hurt at all. Really.

So. Based on the stats I mentioned above, we got VERY good news at my first post-op visit with the doctor. All the biopsies were clear; no cancer cells were detected in any of my internal organs. Even better, 40 lymph nodes were removed (not 25, like we thought) and every single one was clear of any cancer cells.

In other words, the cancer cells have not spread anywhere else in my body.

The bad news is that I have a rare form of ovarian cancer, called mucinous epithelial ovarian cancer. The tumor was a mucinous adenocarcinoma. Something like less than 5% of ovarian cancers are mucinous, which means it may be a little trickier to treat if only because they have so little data to go on.

Dr K presented my case to the Tumor Board, and there was talk of being able to take part in a clinical trial (I’m not eligible because of the blood clots), but it has now been officially determined that my cancer is only Stage 1C.

1C, y’all. THIS. IS. HUGE.

This means that I only have a 20-25% chance of the cancer returning after remission, as opposed to the worst case scenario that Dr K spoke of in the hospital of an 85-90% chance of it coming back.

I feel very, very fortunate.

Staples

The removed staples.

I will still do chemo in a few weeks, and she wants to treat it aggressively because of my age and my fitness level, so I have a rough six months ahead of me. But chances are I’m going to live a long, healthy life.

Which means I have many more years ahead of me to help other women who have to go through ovarian cancer. And that is very, very good news indeed.

Advertisements

69 comments

  1. janeyand2bigwhitedogs

    I have been a bad blogger and not writing and not reading. I didn’t know you were traveling down this path. But what courage you have! So happy to hear this bad news is pretty good news. Keep pluggin’.

  2. Deanna Middleton

    Hi Angela,
    That is the best bad news ever. So happy to read your good news. Hope that the next six months of treatment goes as well as it possibly can for you. You are in the thoughts of so many. The positive way that you have responded to this scary, challenging time is truly inspirational. All the best for you and your long, healthy life.

  3. MikeW

    Wonderful news compared with the other day’s post. Whew. You put a fight to this thing, and although you feel rough, you did great. Now it’s time to finish it off. May many blessings come for you and yours.

  4. monica

    woo-hoo!!! this is the best news! I am so happy for all of you. if this feels like a huge relief to me, I cannot imagine how great it feels to you all.

  5. Amanda

    I’m so happy to read this! I’m going to continue to say a lot of prayers for you and hope the rest of treatment goes well 🙂

  6. Jenny Turnage

    Really good, good news, Angela! I finally exhaled.
    After the wonderful results from your pathologist I felt sure your percentage of beating cancer had to improve.
    Thanks be given to the Almighty. Amen and amen.
    Sending love to you, Michael, Dominique and Nick.

  7. pwhent

    I read this as I started my day in England and it was the best start to a day. This is great news. Now for the chemo. No let up in the prayers and positive thought.

  8. Irish Katie

    *gentle fist pumps*

    Way to go Angela. yahh. If you have to have cancer news….then finding the worst case is no longer there is great. And yes…that you are on the younger side and have been healthy…that HAS to help. (I keep being told the same thing…I might email you about it later.)

    So now … chemo will start … and was it you who said that chemo is not bad…but is saving your life? (I may have read another blog…but it sounds like something you would say *smiles*) … and it will. Fight like a girl Angela. Fight and win.

  9. gtarallo

    That is such great news Angela! I continue to think about you and pray for your continued recovery. You look amazing for someone who has gone through so much! So happy you have so much support from all your family, friends and fellow bloggers.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Thank you. The support has made all the difference for me. As for looking amazing, I told my friends on facebook that between running and having cancer I have posted more photos of myself without makeup than anyone ever has a right to see! I’m going to have to do a Glamour Shots photo session after all this is over just to get some good photos out there. But thank you for saying that!!!

  10. Our Life In 3D

    So happy to read this! Yes, 6 rough months ahead but it sure beats the alternative, right? That C-word doesn’t know who he’s messing with, does he?

  11. joann

    my heart walks with you..the advance findings for ovarian cancer are coming more each day..Our God is great. It is now that your mind will guide your body’s healing. Blessings, Joann

  12. JustDeb

    Melissa, I think I was holding my breath, too. I am so happy that they found nothing in your nodes. I have gone thru this with my sisters breast cancer, twice. I have also had a brush with cancer when I got my melanoma diagnosis in 2005. It’s just scary beyond what people think. I have ovarian fibroids but they never checked them as “they probably aren’t anything”. I have a nerve sheath tumor behind my knee that is “probably benign”. I think some doctors don’t want the liability. I should’ve demanded they do something but I didn’t. Now, divorced with no insurance, I just think about it. I recently got VA benefits and will ask about it. I am praying for you! Please blog on your treatments and your feelings.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Thanks, I will keep blogging. I really hope you are able to use your VA benefits to have the doctors check on some of your issues, especially your ovarian fibroids. It is so important that we stay proactive and insist that doctors take our concerns seriously.

  13. Numberz Runner

    I’m playing catch-up after being a no-show on blogs and social media for the past two months. It’s amazing what you have gone through–and are still going through. The good news prognosis in this post is absolutely wonderful!!

    • Mind Margins

      I completely understand, Jack. I’m just now catching up myself. I haven’t run in two months and I really miss it. BUT, the timing couldn’t be better. I have a legitimate reason NOT to run through our Texas summer heat! Of course, it’s a tough way to get the summer off, but it’s still something!

  14. Michelle

    I’m relieved! 25% is way, way better than 85%!! I feel that you’ll be fine – you know, relatively speaking, haha – but that last post was a scary shock to my system.

  15. joannevalentinesimson

    The best of all news is no lymph node involvement!! That’s extraordinary. I’ll check with my pathologist friend about the uncommon mucinous form. My pathology book says that 80% of mucinous ovarian tumors are benign, but they do tend to occur in your age group.

Please leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s