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  • Writer's pictureDeven Sisler

Week #2 Update: Gestational Trophoblastic Disease

Two events occurred this week, and I didn't realize until afterward how worried I have been for the last two weeks. When you google gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD), the description is a little confusing as there are a wide-range of tumors and possibilities under this one umbrella. It is an almost entirely curable disease, statistically speaking. I have been holding my breath because statistically speaking, experiencing a molar pregnancy is a 1-2% phenonenum in the first place, then 1% of those turn into GTD. I am a very unique statistic and talking numbers has not been comforting.

My doctors have been telling me it's not cancer, but then I was referred to Dr.Yang, a gynocological oncologist at the Williamette Valley Cancer Center on Thursday. I didn't admit it out loud, but I have been worried about a curve ball. I am grateful that the appointment went well and I received a lot of clarity, information and zero curve balls. I got to better understand how the diagnosis came about, and what the future holds.

The major concern with GTD is that it can metastases into a cancer of the vagina, liver, lungs or brain. She has treated patients with all these conditions and was explaining what the courses of action would be if I am not responsive to the current medication. As I have mentioned before, not cancer, but a pre-cancerous condition or what I call my "faux" cancer, if I am feeling fancy about it all.

On my way to the specialist in Eugene, my doctor in Bend called to report on my hcg levels-- they had finally fallen from 759 to 42. She was exuberant and so was I. 42 is my new favorite number and indicates the rogue, mutating cells are responsive to the methotrexate. Their DNA, as is mine, is being thwarted during replication and these cells are dying off. Unlike the GTD, I went to the Oregon Coast for a night of sea air, am enjoying coffee and yoga each day, and repainted my kitchen.

It turns out most patients respond to methotrexate differently, I have heard some feel awesome; others feel less fatigue week by week; others experience a tapering of symptoms day by day between doses. My symptoms: fatigue, malaise, low appetite are lessening week by week. But I am not making any grand plans as Dr.Yang reported they could become compounded. Who knows? And I am on a high dose, 85 mg-- in comparison most rheumatoid arthritis patients are prescribed 2.5 mg a week. Short term plans, I get a shot once for three weeks at hcg of zero. I am taking life day by day, living each day fully, napping when I need to and continuing to love a little more deeply in the meantime.

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