So - the news. 2 or 3 weeks ago (who can keep track of time anymore?) I went to the doctor for just feeling nauseous and fatigued and overall "not right" (actually thought I could have been pregnant - I'M NOT – just that kind of feeling). I kind of felt like a hypochondriac because I really didn't have anything specific to tell her. Thankfully she believed enough that I thought something was wrong and ordered an abdominal ultrasound just in case like gallbladder or whatever.
So I go to the ultrasound on a Wednesday morning and get a call around noon that same day from my doctor telling me I have a cystic mass in my pancreas. No idea what it is, but it's there. And why do they have to use the word "mass"? Terrifying. Proceed to leave work and freak the f#$k out, call Jim, and meet him at home. We're both terrified. He's upset and I'm trying to pretend I don't have emotions. However, I also feel somewhat validated as he is now very sorry for ever calling me a hypochondriac.
We then talk to my sister-in-law who is a radiologic technologist and sent her the report. She said it doesn’t sound like cancer, which made us feel slightly better. Had an urgent MRI that same night. I was feeling pretty okay because everyone who looked at it or read the report didn’t think it was cancer. Waited for the MRI results until 10:30 at night. The doctor said it looks like a fluid filled mass – so likely not cancer. But it’s big – like f$#king golf ball size or something. They recommend an upper endoscopy to biopsy it and find out what it is for sure.
Two days later go to a gastroenterologist to basically just schedule the next procedure because no one can tell me anything without doing that testing. But the doctor does say that if I need surgery then they won't do it there – I’ll go to Penn or something. Which amazingly enough the hospital system I work for just partnered with Penn Medicine. So I couldn't get the scope here until July 1st. I proceed to shake with anxiety until one of my wonderful co-workers helped me come up with a plan to meet with a Penn doctor since I would likely end up there anyway.
Called the specialist at Penn - the main surgeon in charge of the whole pancreatic cyst program. Had an appointment this past Tuesday. My mom went with me as a second set of ears because I tend to hear one thing and forget the rest. He was awesome and this is all he deals with. He walks in the room and introduced himself by his first name, asked some "getting to know you" questions for a few minutes and then said, "just to set the tone here, I want you to know I'm not worried about you." Which was pretty great to hear and made me feel so much less anxious while talking to him. He sat with us for like 40 minutes.
He thinks it’s one of two things. Both can be pre-cancerous, but he thinks very, very, pre, because otherwise I am completely healthy. All of my organs are completely healthy! Even my f&%king pancreas, except that it has this mass sitting in it. If it comes back as one of those two things it will have to be taken out very soon. If it comes back as benign I could wait a little longer, but likely it will still have to come out because the protocol for watching cysts is 3cm and mine is already 6cm. Of all the times to be an overachiever...
So I find the fact that this is growing in me and it's a mucinous (bleh) cyst pretty unnerving. But interestingly enough - if it is the type he thinks it is - it developed because when I was a fetus and developing, a small piece of uterine tissue got left near the pancreas and boom. I may be simplifying it somewhat. But how random and weird?
So anyway, the plan changed to now have the upper endoscopy down at Penn next Wednesday so that his whole team can take the case, review the results, and figure out what the best plan is. Then Jim and I will meet with him again on Tuesday July 5th and decide if/when surgery.
Because when it boils down to it I’ll ultimately end up having surgery. It’s called a Whipple Procedure which is pretty much the f*&king superbowl of surgeries. And they can't just take the cyst out because of where it is and what surrounds it. They have to remove like 1/2 my pancreas, and gallbladder, and a bunch of other shit. Which totally blows. How come I’m a completely healthy person that has to have this done!?!? But if the choice is this or cancer later in life...no question.
I’m trying to stay ahead of the depression and anger. I can feel it creeping up, like, why me? But I’m trying to focus on thanking God and being beyond grateful that it's me and not one of the girls. I’ll take whatever is thrown at me as long as it’s not them. I’m strong and can handle it.