Tag Archives: womb

The Waiting Game and the Mind Games

I’ve got cancer, I’m going to die a horrible death soon and my kids will be orphaned.

I don’t have cancer. It’s just a thickening due to hormones. I can have treatment and get on with my life.

These are the two conflicting ideas I can’t stop my brain from debating every single second, including when I’m asleep. They’re extremes, especially the negative one, because getting cancer isn’t an immediate death sentence these days and there are lots of treatment options open to an early-caught malignancy. But it’s hard to stay positive. I feel as if disaster looms over me like a storm cloud which will break on Tuesday when I have my diagnostic hysteroscopy. These days while I wait for the appointment are slow and difficult. I’ve lost my appetite and I can’t sleep.

The other problem is that if I do get good news – the all clear – I’m unlikely to believe it and still want preventative treatment of some kind. Scans, tests, and cameras can’t detect microscopic particles that can implant and grow elsewhere. Recur. Pop up a couple of months or years later.

It’s all so terrifying, and it seems so easy to get. A thickening of the lining of the womb. That’s all it is at the moment – that’s all it’s known to be. But it’s suspicious, and is often an indicator of cancer or pre-cancer, especially at my age. I’d be delighted with a diagnosis of pre-cancer, but I think I’d still want a hysterectomy.

Oh I don’t know. I shouldn’t guess at what I might or might not want IF I get a bad news diagnosis. I should try and get my mind to live in the moment, take each day as it comes, concentrate on the now (and other cliches easy to say and almost completely impossible to do). I should, I should… I can’t, I can’t.

Wait. I have to wait.

The best way to wait is to keep busy. It’s the weekend and I’m seeing friends on both Saturday and Sunday and there are the children to look after and the ex-husband to chat with. My ex-husband has been kipping on my sofabed for the last five weeks since he split up with his girlfriend and had nowhere to go. It’s very odd but it’s actually quite nice having him around, especially now as I’d be more lonely and worried dealing with this on my own.

Back to waiting.

The Doctor Phoned & It’s Not Good News

SIGH.

And SIGH again.

A few days ago I had an ultrasound on my womb and it showed some fibroids and a thickened lining. I don’t know by how much, but this is not good news. I get the feeling that it’s quite likely to be cancer. It was such a horrible shock to get the phone call. You can tell when a doctor knows something is serious by the words they use and their tone of voice. This was serious. She wasn’t making me any promises. My world reeled about my head and my breathing became shallow. I knew what she was going to say before she said it. I had a sense of a gulf opening up, a crossing over into another world, the world of medical problems, appointments, treatments and severe anxiety.

In a few days’ time I will go for a hysteroscopy where they will investigate further and possibly take a biopsy. For the last 24 hours I’ve been in a horrible state of terror. I have no appetite. My mind has gone into overdrive catastrophising all sorts of painful suffering, early death, and grief-ridden, orphaned children. Last night I couldn’t stop the thoughts coming, wave after wave of them, frightening me ever more and more.

I didn’t sleep a wink. The demons crept all over me until 5:00am. I went to the loo four times, ate a yoghurt, went on social media, read the news, did Wordle, drank water, tossed and turned in my bed… It was horrible.

I’ve now had 24 hours to let it sink in, so although I’m still very, very anxious, I’m not completely overcome by the fear as I was last night.

For any women reading this, wanting to know my symptoms, this is my timeline so far:

18/05/2018    Started HRT patches for first time

10/01/2021    Stopped HRT patches

14/04/2021    Cervical screening showed HPV virus

18/06/2021    Hot flushes so severe I restarted HRT

15/09/2021    Coil removed, stared using ‘Utrogestan 100’ progesterone tablets instead

08/12/2021 – 14/12/202    BLEEDING

17/12/2021     Doctor’s appointment to discuss bleeding, presumed to be menstrual cycle breakthrough bleeding, told me to have monthly 3 days off progesterone, and she’d refer me for a scan but it wasn’t urgent (not two week pathway)

07/03/2022    Ultrasound of womb showed thickened uterine lining and a couple of fibroids

09/03/2022    Referred to hospital gynae team

15/03/2022    Hysteroscopy and biopsy(?)

Hormones Are Powerful Things

And now I’m worried I’ve given myself cancer. I take HRT to help prevent hot flushes and migraines relating to the menopause. It comes in the form of a colourless, odourless gel that you spread on your arms, but you can only use this if you also have the Mirena coil fitted in your womb giving you the progesterone component of the HRT. If you just have the gel alone it’s likely to damage your womb and/or give you cancer. The Mirena coil works for 4 years as part of the HRT process. The other day, I looked in my diary to find out when I’d had the coil fitted and it was five-and-a-half years ago. I’ve been giving myself the oestrogen gel for a year-and-a-half without the progesterone component and no-one from the medical profession ever got in contact with me.

I panicked, naturally, and sent my doctor an econsultation message (there’s no way I could get an actual, real, face-to-face appointment in Covid times, they simply don’t allow it). Over the phone, the doctor prescribed me progesterone pills to take as a matter of urgency and asked me to book an appointment to have my coil taken out and a new one put in.

However I don’t want to be on HRT at all, or to have a new coil, I want it removed for good. But because I started down this route of tampering with my hormones I can’t suddenly stop. It’s going to take me about three months or more to wean off the HRT, slowly and carefully, and I can’t leave my womb unprotected that long. And actually, if I get unbearable hot flushes I might decide I need HRT for a bit longer after all. In which case I’d need the coil.

The progesterone pill has to be taken on an empty stomach and I NEVER have an empty stomach, so this is very difficult for me. It says in the documentation that the pill should be taken two hours after eating and an hour before eating. Well, I managed it for two days but it’s not sustainable. I was STARVING. And I’ve also been getting continuous powerful migraines (I’ve had six in the last nine days). I have no idea whether they’re connected to suddenly starting the progesterone pill, probably unlikely, but in any case, I stopped taking them today. I’m going to have to leave my womb to get damaged for a little longer. What’s another four days after 1.5 years?

But BOY am I getting cramps now. Which is very worrying. I only took the progesterone for two days but it was obviously powerful stuff. I feel like I’m ovulating again.

I’m all messed up internally and I feel out-of-control over my own body. All I want is to be natural and have no HRT and no coil. But it’s going to take a long time to reach that goal.

Here’s hoping I don’t develop womb cancer before Thursday.