Just a Little Bit Menopausal

Years ago a friend of mine wrote an essay about her experience with in vitro fertilization, and said that indeed that it was possible to be just a little bit pregnant. I think I'm a little bit menopausal. Which is more menopausal than peri-menopausal. Ten days ago I had the FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) test and also had my fibroids ultrasounded. I thought the elusive gyne would call me with results, but he proved to live up to his name. I finally called his office yesterday and today and then he called back. He said sometimes it takes a while for the ultrasound results to get to him and that he was sorry not to get back to me sooner. He said the fibroids are pretty much the same size as last year, that the largest is 2-1/2 centimeters or the size of a golf ball, and that the test indicated that I was probably menopausal. We'll wait until I get results from genetic tests before doing anything further. Such as surgery. If the test shows I have the breast-ovarian cancer gene, I'll donate my second ovary to the hospital. If anyone wants the stale eggs of Cancer Bitch, let me know. They're cheaper by the dozen.

I thought golf balls were bigger than 2-1/2 centimeters, and L, who was a high school letterman in golf, confirmed that. We figure that the gyne just doesn't play golf. Again I'm moved to quote Marjorie Gross: "So I had a hysterectomy, and they found a tumor that they said was the size of an orange. (See, for women they use the citrus-fruit comparison; for men it's sporting goods: 'Oh it's the size of a softball,' or, in England, a cricket ball.) " She wrote that in 1996. Now in the 21st century, I guess doctors are more gender-neutral in their comparisons.

I feel like I should be menopausal by now because it seems everybody else is. It's a relief in a way because then I don't have to fear that I'll feel feel worse with menopause. I know that's a dangerous thing to say. It could always get worse. It's hard to distinguish hot flashes from menopause with those that are a side effect of chemo. My head is often clammy. Luckily, my scalp decoration is not water-soluable.

Last night my friend S added some Picasso-esque doves to the top and back of my head. The plan was to fill in some of the designs with henna, which she did, though she was hampered by the lack of a crucial piece of henna-design equipment. Either I misplaced it or it wasn't in the package sent by the good people of Earthhenna.com.

Yesterday I went for a mammogram of my right breast at the Fancy breast cancer factory. The tech showed it to a radiologist, and reported that it looked fine. I'm not due for another mammogram until next year. Then I had an appointment with my surgeon. The physician assistant measured my arms and said that my left (mastectomy) arm was only 1 centimeter wider than the right one, which is an insignifant difference, not an indicator of lymphodema. The most confident and competent of the surgery Fellows came in and led me through my paces (hold up arms high, put your hands on your hips, breathe normally, take a deep breath) and she palpated my breast. Then the surgeon came in and did pretty much the same. Her hands were also cold. She asked, of course, if I was hanging in there (I think the Fellows aren't allowed to ask that), and she asked how things were going, saying she read about me in the paper. I didn't ask if she was reading this blog. That would seem to cross some line. Then I'd have to say, What did you think of my description of you? (Which was that she was warm and business-like. Though she does, as noted, have that widespread "hanging in there" tic.) I'm supposed to get an MRI of the right breast next month. I went into a little room to schedule it. The scheduler said that she herself had a mass in one breast that she was going to have an ultrasound to check it out. Her aunt had just died of breast cancer (that had spread to her spine and brain). One of the last things her aunt said to her was to get it looked at. Her aunt was a fighter, she said. The aunt had been living with breast cancer for 13 years. When the cancer went to her brain it put her in a coma. I hope that for most of those 13 years she was in remission.

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