Last week I went for my routine gynecological appointment. Because I have a high probability of cancer recurrence, I have to get ultrasounds twice a year to check my uterus and ovaries. Unfortunately this is what life is like after cancer. Lots and lots of doctor appointments. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for medical technology and its ability to detect problems when they are still treatable. Early breast cancer diagnosis and treatment allowed me to see my daughters graduate college and hopefully beyond. I’m a fan, especially when the news is good.
But this time I got a red flag that my uterine lining is thickening. It could be a result of the estrogen inhibitors I take, or it could be signaling something more nefarious. So the PA said she wanted to do a biopsy. Okay, back in the stirrups I went. But she had a problem being able to get through my cervix and finally gave up. Which is when I remembered that as a result of sexual assault, my cervix is scarred over. I was told this long ago when I was going to be the partner to get pregnant - the scars would prevent that from ever happening. At the time I was devastated but honestly, it's something I don’t have much cause to think about anymore.
Anyway, now I have to return to see a doctor who will do the procedure. They gave me a prescription for some meds that will help open the cervix and some for pain. I’m not at all sure they will help because of the scars. I hope I will be able to talk to the doctor about it when the time comes although I have not been very successful ever being able to talk about it openly.
Still, there are two things that I want to note about this. First, is that even with this reminder and obvious trigger, I handled it calmly. Yes, a few choice curse words went through my mind., along with some “when will that one event stop controlling so much of my life?” kind of thoughts. I really hate that this stuff pops up in the weirdest of ways, randomly, and with no hope that it will ever be gone entirely. Haunted for life. But the good news was that I experienced no flashbacks, no out of control anxiety, no PTSD symptoms at all. I always like to emphasize these times as evidence to myself of healing.
Besides the possible return of cancer, the other thing that is occupying my thoughts is the impact of the world violence that has been is the news. Most people are mourning the dead. But my prayers always go to the injured of which there are always many, many more. I suppose my sympathies go there because I empathize with the physical and emotional burden that these people will have to deal with for the rest of their lives. Like me there will be the horrific first impacts. But even decades later, injuries will nag and limit. The most random of sounds or smells or sights will body slam them back to relive their horrors again and again. Or perhaps like Daphne, their memories and injuries will be too much to overcome. These are the stories the news never tells. These are the stories that continue to haunt me.