I’m Kathy, from North Vancouver, thank you for hearing me.
I am looking for input/suggestions/experience/questions/wisdom on a possible upcoming surgery. I was diagnosed with high grade serous ovarian ca in May of 2020, even though I had a total hysterectomy 10 years ago, for fear that I would follow my mom’s footsteps of ovarian ca. Big surprise, I got it anyway, and tested positive for the BRCA gene.
I did 6 months of chemo and responded really well, the tumour shrunk over 75% in size from 11 cm to about 2 or 3 Cm now. My CA 125 has gone from over 4000 to currently 65. I started Olaparib, the PARP inhibitor oral chemo targeted therapy in December, and am also responding very well to that. My oncologist says it might even be more effective than the IV chemo for me. The protocol for olaparib is 2 years twice daily, and it’s been successful in keeping some women in remission.
I have been told from the beginning that surgery was recommended, however it hasn’t been possible or safe because the tumour was lodged between my liver, my right rib cage, diaphragm, and right lung. Now that it has shrunk, it is accessible for surgery. On my consultations with three surgeons so far (gynecological, thoracic, and liver), I was briefed on the most horrific sounding procedure, involving removing two ribs, a chunk of my liver and about 50% of my diaphragm. It felt like they were going to perform an autopsy. I stalled on the surgery, sought out other opinions, and continued all the complementary treatments I have done throughout...hyperthermia, acupuncture, vitamin IV therapy and mistletoe, and lots of emotional work, including deep grief therapy as my only son died a year before my diagnosis.
I can’t shake the feeling that maybe I can become cancer free without this radical surgery, but all of the oncologists except one, say that surgery is my best chance to get all of the cancer. I am not anti surgery, but I also believe in least invasive approaches, and the idea of losing half of my diaphragm really concerns me. I’m no athlete, but I have many hills to climb and waters to swim, and I’m a young and single 60.
The research that I’ve done in the cancer journals does say that we do better with having surgery vs not, but I’m not sure what ‘better’ means. I wonder at times if I’m being naive about this aggressive disease, and need to jump at the chance of surgical action while it is still contained and responding so well.
I have another consult with a gynaecological surgeon on April 23 (the previous one retired) and I would like to be prepared to ask the right questions to determine the best decisions. Anyone who has had similar surgery, or been faced with this kind of decision, I’d love to hear from you.
Any of your thoughts are welcome and appreciated. Thank you.
love and best to all, kathy 🦋