Wrought with Worry
November 28, 2006 5:24 PM   Subscribe

FullPanicModeFilter: Have you every had a biopsy, or a surgically removed tumor that was benign and the doctor wanted to see you sooner than your previously scheduled appointment?

The history:

-34 year old female, two children, no history of medical problems.

-Having prolonged, heavy menstrual periods that were lasting 11-14 days since August. I knew this was abnormal, but wasn't overly concerned because the periods came like clockwork without breakthrough bleeding or spotting. Somehow I thought I was just having a bad month and that the periods would return to normal but they didn't.

-Saw the GYN in early November because of symptoms. He scheduled an ultrasound and sent me for blood work.

-Went in last Tuesday because I had thought my uterus had prolapsed and I was gushing blood like my leg was cut off.

-Upon examination it was discovered that my uterus wasn't prolapsed but it was a prolapsed tumor, believed to be a fibroid. The tumor originated in the uterus and was hanging by a stalk that had prolapsed through the cervical os and into the vagina. Fibroids can do this as well as malignant uterine tumors. The same with bleeding. Both can cause heavy bleeding.

-Went for a D&C on this very same Tuesday. Doctor excised the tumor and sent it to pathology. On this very same day before my procedure I scheduled a follow-up appointment for Dec. 5.

-After the D&C last Tuesday, while I was in recovery, the doctor talked to my husband in the waiting room, drew a diagram, and explained that he believed it was a fibroid.

-This afternoon the nurse calls and says "Dr. XYZ wants to see you in the morning to discuss the results from your surgery." I explained that I had just started a new job, and I was working all day tomorrow, could it possibly wait? The nurse said something like, "He really wants to see you in the morning, could you come at quarter till 8 and then head off to work?" I said OK.

I am now very worried and concerned that the tumor may be malignant. If the tumor was benign would he need to see me tomorrow? My instincts thinks something is very wrong, but I don't want to jump to conclusions.
posted by LoriFLA to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
please forgive my grammatical errors, I am in a tizzy.
posted by LoriFLA at 5:28 PM on November 28, 2006

Could you call the office and ask if you can reach him by phone before tommorrow?
posted by phrontist at 5:34 PM on November 28, 2006

Maybe he just want's to see you now because he needs to catch a flight? Don't panic until you've got something to panic about. She did say, "and then head off to work," right? Stay calm and good luck to you!
posted by Pollomacho at 5:37 PM on November 28, 2006

What a shitty feeling, sorry you have to go through this. Doctors can be really clueless when it comes to this stuff.
posted by flummox at 5:56 PM on November 28, 2006

This happened to me recently following a massive series of blood tests. A few days later the doctor's office called and left a message telling me my follow-up appointment was rescheduled for the next morning, a week earlier than the date they'd previously given me. I fretted over this overnight, went in the next day expecting something bad and...... nothing out of the ordinary happened at all. Nobody seemed to even know why my appointment had been moved up.

Of course nobody here knows whether or not your case will turn out like that, but there's one experience for whatever it's worth in dealing with the anxiety (which I think is a pretty natural reaction when the often slow-moving system suddenly develops an apparent sense of urgency).

I really don't think there's a way of avoiding that anxiety entirely, but you also might want to think of it this way: if they've found some serious issues, the sooner they tell you, the sooner you can promptly try to deal with them. And if it's nothing major, the sooner you can stop worrying about the scariest scenarios, too. Suspense and mystery are never fun when it comes to medical conditions, and swift responses will at least keep you from hanging in this state for another week or two.

Hopefully you can call up a friend tonight and just unload a few of your worries and then spend time talking about normal things. If you can, it will give them a context and a bit of warning if something serious does develop, and the normal talking gives you a chance to focus on the parts of your life that aren't about health issues.
posted by weston at 6:22 PM on November 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

Been through this sort of thing myself (not OBG/GYN) and also with friends who have. Too often. Doctors can tend to see things only through their own eyes. It is ENTIRELY NORMAL to feel the way you do. Do not hesitate. Call the doc right now and/or have him/her paged. The nurse should have been able to answer better. Clarification is THEIR problem. It is your right to know and it is appropriate to want the info or at least clear advice on any problem. If you can't get the doc tonight then (after your undeserved restless night) call first thing in the am and assertively ask for the info.

You have a right to be concerned about a new job situation too.

It is most likely, from what you said, that this is not going to be a serious problem or a malignancy. My wife wrestled with fibroids and they can be a bitch, but they can be dealt with in a number of ways. You gonna be alright.
posted by GhislainTwo at 6:29 PM on November 28, 2006

It may be that the fibroid or the tissue around it was infected. If so, they might want to put you on antibiotics right away, but it's nowhere near as dangerous as cancer.

That happened to me.
posted by watsondog at 8:12 PM on November 28, 2006

Who knows, maybe the doc has something going on the day your appointment was set up originally. Just relax and try not to drive yourself nuts.

I realize that this is probably going to make other people who are in this situation worry, but when they told my dad he had cancer, they asked him to bring my mom in to his appointment. Since they didn't ask you to bring someone and they expect you to head off to work afterwards, it's probably nothing serious.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:22 PM on November 28, 2006

Thanks all.

He was going to be out of town.

I still need a hysterectomy, can keep my ovaries, my tumor showed mitosis--rapidly growing cells. It is a precursor for cancer, so out with the uterus and cervix. I am very relieved I don't have a malignancy.

Thanks again.
posted by LoriFLA at 6:54 AM on November 29, 2006

You have a STUMP (smooth muscle tumor of uncertain malignant potential). In case you want to know more.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 9:49 AM on November 29, 2006

i_am_a_Jedi, thank you so much.
posted by LoriFLA at 10:45 AM on November 29, 2006

He was going to be out of town.

So why the hell couldn't the nurse have told you that? Sweet Buttery Jesus.
posted by iconomy at 7:09 PM on November 29, 2006

Sweet Buttery Jesus

Ha! I love it! Thanks for making me laugh iconomy. I needed it.

Especially after reading about smooth muscle tumor of uncertain malignant potential! Thanks again jedi for filling me in on the terminology. The tumor showed mitosis, but no atypia or necrosis. From what I gathered this is a good thing. They are sending the slides to Stanford University for further analysis. I just want to live.

Thanks so much to all for your answers. I know that this kind of question isn't typical for AskMe.
posted by LoriFLA at 7:48 PM on November 29, 2006

I look at these things for a living and there's a little bit of grey area. For example, if there is greater than 10 mitosis per high-power field and nuclear atypia then it is called a leiomyosarcoma (which definetly has malignant potential). If there is 5-10 mitosis per hpf, and little to no atypia it is called a STUMP.

It is certainly a good thing that the pathologist sent the case to be reviewed by an expert. That's what any sensible general pathologist does in these grey area cases. Send it to the people who look at girl parts under the microscope all day... they're the experts.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 8:33 PM on November 29, 2006

Glad to read things are looking better than you feared, LoriFLA. Good luck with everything.
posted by terrapin at 8:43 AM on November 30, 2006

Thank you so much terrapin.

And thank you jedi for telling me about the high-power field. I have read about this criteria. When I see my doctor again, I will ask him what my per high-power field number is. I researched LMS a bit before I went into the doctor, and as you know, it is a grim, grim condition. Thankfully I don't have it, or at least I don't think I do from what the doctor reported. I am young and premenopausal. LMS usually affects the elderly, but there are exceptions.

Hopefully my tumor will again show no atypia when they send it to Stanford.

Thanks again all. Metafilter is the absolute best place on the web.
posted by LoriFLA at 11:44 AM on November 30, 2006

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