I found through forums and the scant bit of information from people our age that get OC (it's very rare!) that it is pretty common to find out by hemorrhaging. We may even be able to consider ourselves lucky since we potentially caught it early - OC is a notoriously silent killer. The short story is that I did not have much say in the first surgery so they erred on the side of preserving my fertility and I only lost one ovary. I did not know that I had cancer at that point. My bleeding was so bad that they had to remove the tumor immediately during emergency surgery in which I had to have several blood transfusions to survive. It started out as a laparoscopy but they had to switch to a laparotomy because my tumor was the size of a large melon. I also had one ovary removed at that time since the tumor had essentially swallowed it. The tumor was attached to my intestines, abdominal wall, and uterus so there are worries of spreading, which influenced my later decisions. Part of what may influence your decision is whether you want to try to preserve your fertility. That is a sensitive issue, and one that is not often discussed because OC is primarily a post-menopausal disease. You also have to consider whether you want a radical hysterectomy which results in surgical menopause; there are side effects to this procedure. I decided in the end with my doctor that I wanted to take the most aggressive route: radical hysterectomy with no hormone replacement. But you can always have the tumors removed and then decide based on what they find. Because I had already had the first surgery and they saw how much the tumor was attached to I was able to make the decision pretty easily. Are you seeing a GYN Oncologist? Seeing a specialist in gynecological cancer is what I consider the most important part of my treatment plan - they will be able to provide the best information for you to choose. Another thing that may help you decide is knowing what kind of cancer it is. There is a lot to find on the specific types of cancer and how likely they are to spread or reoccur. The grade (different from stage) is also important. I'm glad that I did a search on this forum today, our situations have a lot in common and as much I wish that neither of us had to go through this, it is nice to have a "sister in arms!" I talked to someone yesterday in a very similar situation to us (albeit 15 years ago) that was diagnosed at stage 4 and has not had a reoccurrence. Hopefully that can bring you hope as it did me.
... View more
Hi Casey! I am three years older than you and I'm about a month into my OC diagnosis. You aren't alone! I had my first surgery in January, when a large, unknown tumor started bleeding and almost took my life. The first surgery has been a very long recovery, but you will have an advantage since yours is planned and you will not have to deal with blood loss and other complications. I can tell you that after the first weeks of even a large surgery, I feel so much better. And it feels great to know that it is out! Do you know if they will be doing a laparoscopic procedure or a laparotomy to remove yours? I believe this at least partially depends on the size of any masses that they have identified. The laparoscopic procedure is much easier healing time. It's not as scary as it seems at first, and I've not been in a lot of pain since the first removal. There is a lot of frustration early on I believe (I don't know if I am stage 2 3 or even 4 yet, or whether I will need chemo), but taking it one day at a time really helps.
... View more
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.