First, let me say thanks for all your comments and good wishes. I usually reply to some comments by email, but something seems to have happened somewhere and I’m not getting comments sent to me by email*. But I’m reading all your comments and really appreciate them.
On Thursday, I went back to the doctor so he could check the wound. While we were there, he discussed the final pathology report with us. Surprisingly to him, the cysts were not cysts and not benign. They were, in fact, a recurrence of the borderline tumors. No one was more shocked than my oncologist, because the growths he removed didn’t look like the previous tumors and the frozen section biopsied in the OR came back benign.
This is actually the second time the frozen section came back benign only to have the complete biopsy show a different story. That’s a fluke, of course, because the frozen section is taken at random, and it just happened that each time they took a section that contained benign tissue. The implications of this are dire for me if I have another recurrence, though, because next time, he clearly can’t trust the frozen section and has to just proceed as if it’s a return of the cancer. That means this was my last shot at preserving my ovary. Next time, it comes out, no questions asked.
And the thing is, since this is the second time this has come back, there’s a very high risk of it coming back again. To complicate matters, there was some ambiguity in the wording of the report. My original tumor – removed in March 2003 – was a serous papillary tumor, which is a borderline malignant tumor with a practically nil chance of turning into invasive cancer. The second time around – September 2004 – was the same type of tumor. This time, however, the pathologist wrote “focal micropapillary tumor.” (I may not have that exactly right, but it’s what I recall.) Apparently one of those words – focal or micro – means it would be the same type of tumor as the others, more or less, with an extremely low chance of becoming invasive cancer. The other word is a problem, though. (And I can’t remember which word he said meant which, and Scott and I each say the opposite.) The doctor said that recent studies have shown that borderline tumors with the other word have a much higher risk of recurrence and a higher risk of turning into invasive cancer.
So the fact that both words were used confuses the issue. He was presenting my case to his board yesterday and will be discussing it with the pathologist to get more information. He thinks the pathologist was just being extra descriptive, but is trying to get it cleared up so we know what’s what. Obviously, one type of tumor would require a lot more monitoring for me than the other.
He’s pleased with how the wound is healing, though, so that was a bright spot. He and the nurse seem to believe that it will be completely healed in just a couple of weeks. I find that difficult to believe, since it’s still so big, but I’m sure they know what they’re talking about.
*One of these days, I’ll get around to looking into that.