Friday, November 16, 2012

Results are in!

(the first two posts about this saga are here and here)

I got a call from the surgeon yesterday with the results about my lump: turns out it was a desmoid tumor. There's all sorts of semi-conflicting information on the internet about these types of tumors, but the main gist from what I can tell is they're technically benign (don't spread to other parts of the body) but can be locally aggressive when they do occur.  There's also a 20-40% chance of them recurring after being removed.  Oh, they're pretty rare, like only 3 people out of a million get them, so I guess it's like I won the Random Weird Growth lottery?

I've been kind of processing this information over the past day or two, trying to figure out how I feel about it all.  On the one hand, the news could have been much, much worse.  I never really allowed myself to consider the worst-case scenarios, but in the back of my mind it was hard not to think about my brother's battle with cancer years ago, and the treatments that saved his life but put his body through hell in the process. By comparison this surgery has been a piece of cake, and confirmation that the growth was benign is very good news indeed.

On the other hand, these desmoid tumors aren't exactly cheerful to read about.  My doctor is confident that he got everything out and I won't need further treatment, but there is a decent chance that it could come back.  I'll need to go in for MRIs every so often (don't know how often or for how long yet, those are questions on my growing list of Things To Ask when I go in for a follow-up appointment in a couple weeks).  I just had a chunk of muscle taken out of my abdomen, I'm sore and tired and miss running around and wrestling with my kids (or even just snuggling with them without worrying that they'll accidentally lean on my tender stomach)... and it sucks to think of possibly having to go through all this all over again if it comes back.

Overall, though, I'm mostly feeling grateful right now.  Grateful that this lump was small, and that we got it checked out early. That is was relatively easy to access and remove, rather than occurring deeper in the abdomen mixed up with important internal organs and such (as is common with these things, apparently).  I'm grateful for these amazing people in our lives, for my mom who was here for a week which allowed me to fully focus on resting and getting better, and friends who have brought us food and watched the kids for us.  It feels really good to know you have people you can lean on when you need help.  I'm grateful for health insurance, and that we were able to go ahead with what needed to be done without having to worry about how we'll pay for it.  There's a lot about all this that feels pretty crappy, but I can't help but also feel incredibly lucky over how it all went down and the community around us.

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