We met with my doctor on Tuesday of this week to talk about the next steps in my plan. It turns out that I am a candidate for a trachelectomy. That is the procedure where they remove the entire cervix and then close off the uterus with a cerclage. It is an alternative to a hysterectomy and has been done since 2005 or so as fertility preserving measures are more of an issue with larger percentages of younger women (who still want to have babies) being diagnosed with cervical cancer. Though the medical community believes that trachelectomys provide the same medical outcome for cervical cancer as a hysterectomy does, they haven't been doing the procedure long enough for it to stand on its own...so my doctor recommends it as a step...but not the final step. If I choose to go this route, she still recommends a hysterectomy down the road.
With a trachelectomy, having another baby is still not a guarantee. Research has shown that it is actually more difficult to get pregnant after the procedure given that the cervix is gone and the uterus has essentially been closed off. A good percentage of those who have gotten pregnant after having the procedure have undergone fertility treatments to do so. In addition, the risk of miscarriage once pregnant is greater...especially in the later trimesters. The pregnancies are considered high risk and bed rest during is common because the bottom of the uterus is held closed by the cerclage...a string...that can break or come loose...and often does. Many babies are carried to full term, however many babies are also born premature. The baby also has to be delivered via c-section.
So...if we decide to go this route, I will have the surgery and then have a 6 week recovery. If we were able to get pregnant and the baby survived the pregnancy, I would have a c-section and then have an 8 week recovery. And then I would go back and have a hysterectomy and then have another 6 week recovery...with a new baby and a little girl to also keep me busy. Three surgeries. Or, if we weren't able to get pregnant and once we were done trying, I would go back for the hysterectomy then. Two surgeries. Have I told you how much I love IVs and getting my blood drawn?
Obviously the other option is to have the hysterectomy. One surgery. However, there will be no chance for another baby to live inside this body of mine. When I think about all of the steps and uncertainties of the other option, as well as all of the risks involved with each of the three surgeries, I am really leaning toward this option. I'm not a patient person either...so knowing that there is a good chance that we won't get pregnant on our own is really hard for me to digest. It will piss me off and I will be an emotional wreck if it doesn't come easy. Also, I had a really great pregnancy with Reagan, however because of the miscarriage I had at 6 weeks along just before conceiving her, I was on edge through the whole thing. I was so nervous that I was going to lose her before she was ever born. I can't imagine the stress and worry of a high risk pregnancy...especially knowing that the chances of miscarriage later on are greater. And then to have the grief and heartache of either not being able to get pregnant...or losing the baby just doesn't sit well with me. If we didn't have Reagan, I might be considering this option a lot more.
But, we do have Reagan! Praise The Lord for her. She is such a gift and a blessing. I've said from day one of this diagnosis that my main goal is to live and be healthy for her. She is my priority. I'd love to give her a sibling, but I'm not sure that is in the cards. I think that it is more important for her to have her momma...alive and present...and not an emotional basket case who is in and out of surgeries...than it is for her to have a sibling.
So there you have it. Just writing this all down has helped me think through this crazy choice that we have to make. The surgery - the one surgery - the hysterectomy will be June 17th. I'm praying that all will go off without a hitch - that my doctor will have steady hands and crystal clear vision - that she will be able to use the "robot" so that my incisions are minimal allowing my recovery to be "easier." I'm also praying for peace with this decision...as well as the strength to not break down when this is all over and someone asks, "So, when are you all gonna have another baby?" or, when there is a super cute snuggly little baby in my arms cooing at me and I feel the desire to have another baby of my own. I pray that those times are minimal and that I'm not plagued with regret for choosing to end this craziness. I'm praying too that this is the end - that there isn't a need for addition treatment (chemo and radiation) after the hysterectomy. Thank you for joining me in these prayers. XOXOXO
|Happy Hour with my man last week. I can't imagine going through this without him by my side.|
|My sassy swimmer. She is three - seriously? Cutest bathing suit on the planet...cutest kid on the planet.|