A week gone bye.
What’s in a week? 7 days, Mon-Sun, 5 days dedicated to the working machine, school, children, and so on. This last week has been one hell of a ride let me tell you! Starting the Friday before last Jake and I packed the rig with gear and horses; pointed east we headed off for the last CHSRA D-3 rodeo of the year! Jake was looking to score at steer wrestling and maintain a second place standing in cutting. His team roping partner Breanne and he were hoping to finish the year without another goofy mishap!
Saturday and Sunday went by in the blink of an eye. When it was over, no steers hit the ground, Jake slipped from second to fourth in cutting and he and his team roping partner finished the year the way they started, laughing at each other’s crazy luck. Now it seems as though the weekend could be interpreted as a bummer, but nothing could be further from the truth! All the kids had a great time, points were tallied and when the dust settled Jake made state finals in Steer Wrestling, Cutting and earned the Rookie of the year All Around Cowboy award! To say he was excited would be an understatement! He put on a tough face, but smiled his boyish smile all the way home.
Speaking of home, the wife had enough strength to take our daughter to her softball game on Saturday. This of course left her drained on Sunday, but it was a great outing as she finally was able to see and converse with people wondering about her condition and how she was doing overall.
Monday arrived leaving us scrambling once again as fair time was upon us. Being a ranch family all three kids had entries in the fair. Jake-a lamb, and a welding project, Jessica-a pig, Parker-two pairs of meat chickens! Washing, trimming, cleaning tack, moving equipment and working horses were all part of a very long or short depending on how you perceived it, day.
Tuesday, we moved all the animals onto the fairgrounds an so began a long week of 6am to 8pm days. Feeding, fitting, showing, and generally watching our children have the time of their lives! Nothing beats fair time when you are a child. I remember quite well how I looked forward to fair week, showing my lambs and hanging with all my friends from around the county. It’s a time of freedom, competition, hard work and all the corn dogs you can shove into your gullet! If you are lucky at the end of the week your animal sells at auction, leaving you with a budget for next year’s project.
Jacy couldn’t attend the fair as our fear of contamination from an unknown source lingered like a dark cloud. It was hard for her to stay home, not able to participate in her children’s adventures during the week. I tried my best to send her pictures and keep her updated, as did every other person with a camera from our loving little town. She had planned on attending show day with a HEPA mask, but other people from medical places had different plans for my wife unbeknownst to her. So pictures continued arriving via text from many of the moms wanting to ensure house ridden Jacy wasn’t missing a moment with her children. Small towns are a blessing.
Now if being stuck at home for this week wasn’t enough; Jacy’s doctor called to say her results from the last marrow draw we good. Residual Leukemia remained in small numbers so the best course of action was to move up the hysterectomy by a week!! Wait? A week? Yep you guessed it? That placed the surgery day smack dab on top of show day at the fair! The “other people” had spoken! Dream killers! So with a phone call, Jacy’s mom took the day off work, dropping everything to ensure her daughter was taken care of and her grandchildren had their father by their side on show day! I love my mother in law. Not many guys can say that I think. But I do. I think she is a pretty cool, whacky, funny lady who would do anything for her children.
So that brings me to the real gist of my reflection. The hysterectomy.
Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. It may also involve removal of the cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes and other surrounding structures.
Usually performed by a gynecologist, hysterectomy may be total (removing the body, fundus, and cervix of the uterus; often called “complete”) or partial (removal of the uterine body while leaving the cervix intact; also called “supracervical”). It is the most commonly performed gynecological surgical procedure. In 2003, over 600,000 hysterectomies were performed in the United States alone, of which over 90% were performed for benign conditions. Such rates being highest in the industrialized world has led to the major controversy that hysterectomies are being largely performed for unwarranted and unnecessary reasons.
Removal of the uterus renders the patient unable to bear children (as does removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes) and has surgical risks as well as long-term effects, so the surgery is normally recommended when other treatment options are not available or have failed. It is expected that the frequency of hysterectomies for non-malignant indications will fall as there are good alternatives in many cases.
Oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) is frequently done together with hysterectomy to decrease the risk of ovarian cancer. However, recent studies have shown that prophylactic oophorectomy without an urgent medical indication decreases a woman’s long-term survival rates substantially and has other serious adverse effects. This effect is not limited to pre-menopausal women; even women who have already entered menopause were shown to have experienced a decrease in long-term survivability post-oophorectomy ~ Wikipedia
That’s right, in the middle of all we as a family had going on this particular week, combined with the fact my wife was just starting to feel better, a hyterectomy was thrown into the mix! Why? Because she cannot have the Bone Marrow Transplant without it! Why? Because she has Polycystic Ovary Syndrome!
I know right? So what is Polycystic Overian Sysndrome?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), also called hyperandrogenic anovulation (HA), or Stein–Leventhal syndrome, is a set of symptoms due to a hormone imbalance in women. Symptoms include: irregular or no menstrual periods, heavy periods, excess body and facial hair, acne, pelvic pain, trouble getting pregnant, and patches of thick, darker, velvety skin. Associated conditions include: type 2 diabetes, obesity, obstructive sleep apnea, heart disease, mood disorders, and endometrial cancer.
PCOS is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Risk factors include obesity, not enough physical exercise, and a family history of someone with the condition. Diagnosis is based on two of the following three findings: no ovulation, high androgen levels, and ovarian cysts. Cysts may be detectable by ultrasound. Other conditions that produce similar symptoms include adrenal hyperplasia, hypothyroidism, and hyperprolactinemia.
PCOS has no cure. Treatment may involve lifestyle changes such as weight loss and exercise. Birth control pills may help with improving the regularity of periods, excess hair, and acne. Metformin and anti-androgens may also help. Other typical acne treatments and hair removal techniques may be used. Efforts to improve fertility include weight loss, clomiphene, or metformin. In vitro fertilization is used by some in whom other measures are not effective.
PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder among women between the ages of 18 and 44. It affects approximately 5% to 10% of this age group. It is one of the leading causes of poor fertility. The earliest known description of what is now recognized as PCOS date from 1721 in Italy.
When you have a bone marrow transplant in conjunction with heavy doses of chemotherapy the whole “heavy nonstop menstrual cycle” has life threatening consequences. So no argument to be had, out with that Uterus! Buh bye!
Now this particular operation seems simple enough, it is an outpatient procedure after all. Go in at 2pm be out and home by 8! Whoo hoo, like going out for dinner, only there is no food, no wine, no husband and only 6-8 of your not so closest friends turning your guts into a Jacy frappe!
8 pm became 2am when she arrived home it was obvious she was dealing with incredible pain. After helping her upstairs, getting her settled into bed, I knew it was going to be a rough night for us both. She slept most of the next day as the children and I ran back and forth from the fairgrounds. But with her mom at her side she was well cared for. Day two led to a Pit Viper like attitude due to swelling, pain and a resurgence of hives covering her body or more specifically the incision sight. Day three brought a few smiles and a lighter attitude. Today the swelling remains, her body aches and the hives just refuse to subside.
So we continue to take each moment one day at a time. It sounds as though once healed up from this latest procedure she will head back to the hospital for five more days of chemotherapy in preparation for the bone marrow transplant which should take place sometime in June.
That was our week, glad I could bring everyone up to speed. Just another notch on the old day to day, week to week, month to month belt. Our spirits are still high as we march forward towards complete remission.