Living life with any disability can be frustrating to say the least. You add in a couple extra disabilities and a few more obstacles and what was frustrating becomes, well, disabling.
I have lived with Epilepsy since 2006. It is not an everyday occurrence and I have went almost four months before, between seizures. Although, I can also have bouts of repeated seizures clumping together in a day or a months time. This makes life difficult to try to live ‘normally’. I must work when I can and where I can to survive in this harsh world. My memory is affected as well as having migraines from the seizures. One thing it has definitely made worse over the years is my anxiety. Every time I am faced with a new situation such as a public seizure in which people didn’t know how to react or a seizure at home where the bedside table catches my face as I fall into a convulsion, my anxiety exceeds its limit and increases. I guess that could be blamed on fear of the unknown and the ‘what if’ way of thinking. Regardless, thats already two disabling limitations in my life.
Lets throw in the latest obstacle of being told I have the early signs of Uterine Cancer. Initially I responded by crying. Fear or anxiety? Perhaps, but, lets bear in mind I just watch my Grandma suffer with this very Cancer and watched her die just a few months ago. The positive to this is the fact that I am 40 years old and hadn’t been to a OBGYN Dr. since I quit having babies. That was approximately 19 years ago. The American Cancer Society (cancer.org) recommends a pap smear test every 3 years between the ages of 30-65. Maybe it was anxiety that kept me from going all these years but watching my Grandmother die at the age of 83 from Cancer starting in her uterus, inspired me to get checked out now. Part of the problem for her was the fact they quit doing these tests after the age of 65. While a pap smear test in and of itself can only check for cervical cancer, during an exam you talk to the Doctor about anything else of concern. My grandmothers was caught too late. Mine has been caught early enough to do something about it.
I will be having an endometrial biopsy where they go up and scrap the lining of the uterus for a tissue sample (the endometrium layer) and have it tested. (hopkinsmedicine.org) The positive side being the fact that if I hadn’t watch what my grandma had gone through, I would’ve found out too late as well. Instead, I find out when half her age and physically ‘healthy’ enough to undergo surgery. In the early stages and being done with child bearing, it is simple enough to have a hysterectomy and remove the uterus, cervix and ovaries.
This is where more curveballs come in to play. According to The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, you can spend a few days in the hospital and up to 6 weeks to heal. It equates to what you expect after giving birth minus that bundle of joy. I do not come from money nor do I have the money to be out of work for six weeks while I heal. I recently lost a job and I am being forced to look for a new one just to make it in life. At this point I am faced with ‘choices’ if you can call them that. Do I find a new job and lose it because I have to have surgery? Do I try to wait out the probation period of a new job before having surgery (with cancer cells growing)? What kind of choice is that really? The ‘choice’ in and of itself is disabling.
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” (Theodore Rosevelt, govleaders.org)
“The American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Prevention and Early Detection of Cervical Cancer.” American Cancer Society, http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/prevention-and-early-detection/cervical-cancer-screening-guidelines.html.
“Endometrial Biopsy.” Endometrial Biopsy | Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library, http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/gynecology/endometrial_biopsy_92,P07773.
“Women’s Health Care Physicians.” Hysterectomy – ACOG, http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Hysterectomy.