I am shocked by what I learned from Dr. Balk this morning – according to her, women who’ve had postpartum depression are 4 times as likely to suffer depressive symptoms during menopause. I have asked every doctor I’ve met about this, and all have said there’s no evidence or no connection or no studies that have been done. So now I’m about a hundred times more terrified. However, after telling Dr. Balk about my postpartum depression, she really believes that the episode was more psychological than hormonal – that it was triggered by several emotional events combined with an ineffective anti-depressant. She suspects that I might be just fine after the surgery and have no real emotional reaction to the menopause because I’m well medicated now.
I’m also shocked by how irresponsible I’ve been lately. Today I went through my purple folder looking for the forms I needed for my PCP, Dr. Stern, to sign before my surgery on Monday – as in, five days from now. Turns out I was supposed to see her, get my blood work, and have a CT all at least two weeks before surgery. And, I was supposed to stop taking fish oil, also two weeks before surgery. I have done none of these things. So, I had the blood work done, the CT is scheduled for tomorrow, and I’m going to stop taking the fish oil now! I’m sort of shocked to discover how lackadaisical I’ve been about preparing for this surgery.
The most shocking discover of my day, though, was what I found while digging through my purple folder as I sat in my PCP’s waiting room. Behind my blood work order was a diagnosis sheet – it’s what I get after every appointment with any doctor explaining what happened at the appointment. This one said, “ovary cancer” and had a diagnosis code for CA-125 blood work. I felt myself lose all of the breath in my lungs – was there something someone wasn’t telling me? I then realized that the diagnosis sheet wasn’t mine. It was for another woman. The nurse must have grabbed it with my own diagnosis sheet and not realized they were stuck together.
Surprisingly, my breath didn’t come back, and instead I felt tears come to my eyes. Sonya Gall, a complete stranger, has ovarian cancer. She was in the doctor’s office at the same time as me – perhaps this was when she first learned her diagnosis. Or maybe she was there for treatment. Regardless, I was surprised by how sad I felt for Sonya. I sat there staring at the paper, not knowing what to do with it. Throwing it away seemed like a bad omen for her (sort of the way I feel about throwing away photographs). So I tucked it back into the folder where it will stay, part of my collection of documentation about this journey.