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To Embrace
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To Embrace


June 29th
Today the doctor came in and told us cancer was found in my cyst. Tests had to be run to find out what kind of cancer it is but eventually a hysterectomy will be necessary, and my remaining ovary will be removed, I am 21 years old.

Notes from the Cancer Journal for Physicians:
Ovarian Cancers are difficult to diagnose; treatment also leaves a great deal to be desired: only 15 percent of patients with invasive cancer live 5 years or more.


Webster describes
Girl: A female child
Woman: An adult human female
Female: Typical or designating the sex that bears young,
Relating to an organ that produces seeds


May 5th
Today it happened again, you would think that after so many years I would be prepared for the question - when was your last period? The nurse asks nonchalantly.
I stumble around trying to remember the year; I blurt it out, as my skin is drenched in a sweat.
Aren’t you the lucky one, she replies?


Nurse’s Notes:
June 29th
5 pm - Husband in at bedside, Dr. Anderson in to visit told patient of diagnosis and pathology report.
6 pm - Both husband and patient very depressed and crying, curtains pulled for privacy, ate supper poorly.


Fertile, Fertility: Able to reproduce;
Able to initiate, sustain or support reproduction;
Characterized by great productivity
Barren: Sterile, infertile,
Lacking vegetation,
Unproductive results,
Lacking, devoid, waste


Discharge Summary:
Patient was taken to the operating room on June 28th at which time the right ovary was removed with a large smooth ovarian mass. The patient’s postoperative course was unremarkable. She was discharged on the 7th postoperative day to return for a total abdominal hysterectomy. The patient was told to avoid any heavy lifting.


The early diagnosis of ovarian cancer is a matter of chance rather than triumph of scientific approach. Means of early detection are extremely limited.

Mother: A female parent, an origin, source, to give birth to
Birth: The beginning of existence, the act of bearing young,
Ancestry, parentage, to deliver
Pregnant: Carrying an unborn fetus, significant, meaningful
Sterile: Not capable of reproducing or producing,
Infertile or unproductive


Sept 1st
Mom called today, she said Lue Ann, my old best friend was going to have a baby, wasn’t that wonderful? Wasn’t that great? She was so very excited.

July 4th
Discharge Diagnosis: Ovarian Carcinoma

Ovary: The female reproductive gland
Uterus: A Muscular organ of female mammals in which young develop and are nourished prior to birth.
Hysterectomy: Surgical removal of the uterus
Castrate: To remove the testicles,
To remove the ovaries

Discharge Summary:
July 14th
At this time it was felt to be unadvisable to postpone surgery for indefinite time to maintain childbearingpotential in light of degree of invasion present.
Medications: None
Complications: None

With new modes of therapy patients are living longer and hopefully more comfortably but the 5 year survival rate has not improved.

The Change of Life: Menopause
Menopause: The time at which menstruation ceases,
The end of a woman’s reproductive years,
Going through the change
Change: To make or become different,
Alter,
To be replaced by another


Nov 10th
I am really afraid of dying. I wish I knew if I was going to grow old, that way I could be sure, I could say OK, let’s have hope again, let’s plan for next year, having cancer has really fucked me up, sex is not the same, it’s not the same, it’s not the same, it’s not the same.

Wayne County General Hospital Operative Report, Dr. Gosling
7:40 am July 9th
Technique: The patient was prepped and draped in the usual manner and was placed under general anesthesia. The abdomen was entered through the previous vertical incision. The uterus was identified. Next the lateral portion of the vagina was clamped and sutured. The specimen was then removed.

Symptoms of Menopause:
Hot Flashes
Night Sweats
Skin Aging
Loss of Libido
Memory Loss
Visual Deficits
Skin Crawling
Emotional Distress
Sleep Disorders
Bone Thinning
Vaginal Dryness

The vaginal cuff was then closed with a 2-0 chromic suture in a whip-stitch manner. A bedadine soaked sponge was placed in the vagina.
The patient tolerated the procedure well.


Unlike patients with other pelvic cancers, a high percentage of patients with ovarian cancer remain alert up to the moment of death.

Survive: To continue to live or exist
To live longer than, to outlive
Live: To be or continue to be alive,
To reside, to pass,
To remain in human memory,
To live so as to overcome shame,
Effect or remembrance over time,
Having life,
Living

Dec 15th
I saw a pregnant woman today, she was at the grocery store near the pet food, I suddenly couldn’t bear to be inside the store, I left quickly tears welling up, I couldn’t stand being in my body.

Pathology Report:
21 year old ovarian carcinoma
Total abdominal hysterectomy
Specimens: Uterus, left tube, left ovary, appendix
Specimen labeled uterus weighs 68 grams measures 8cm x 4cm, it is soft, tan, and of uniform thickness.


Adopt: To take a child into one’s family legally and raise, as one’s own,
To take and follow by choice or assent,
To accept,
To take up and make it your own.

I am infertile, but I am not devoid.
I am sterile, but I am not unproductive.
I am barren, but I am not lacking.

I was castrated,
I did change,
I did become different,
I now embrace that difference as my own.