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Allison Gilbert

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7 Days Post Op: My Journey to Prevent Ovarian Cancer

Posted: 12/06/07 01:00 PM ET

I am "grossly unremarkable."

Those are the best words I could have heard yesterday when I went to see my doctor for the first time following my operation a week ago today. He didn't actually say it about me -- he was showing them to me typed out on a surgical pathology report.

While I was under anesthesia, my uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and ovaries had all been sent to the Mount Sinai Hospital Laboratory for analysis to make sure cancerous cells weren't lurking in places my doctor couldn't see for himself. My "specimens" were weighed, measured, dissected, and scanned. And then, written at the top of the report, my parts were pronounced, "grossly unremarkable."

In addition to the report, my surgeon surprised me with some pictures. Because the surgery was performed laparoscopically, and a camera was already inside my belly, he had snapped photos of everything he was removing. It's pretty amazing to see what your ovaries and fallopian tubes really look like. The best picture though, by far, is the one of my uterus. It looks like a small crab - the body round and firm - with the fallopian tubes sticking out like legs. It's reddish-pink and, as my pathology report detailed, "glistening." Yes, I had a glistening uterus.

I stared at the picture in awe. My children were once inside that pouch. Cells had grown and multiplied behind the walls of that semi-inflated balloon and produced a perfect boy and girl. There it was in my hands: a color, glossy photograph of the outside of Jake and Lexi's first room. I couldn't wait to show them.

When Jake and Lexi got home, and after they had had their afternoon snack, I whipped out the pictures. They loved the photo of where they "grew-up" before they were born. They laughed and asked surprisingly good questions. The entire show-and-tell took about four minutes, but at five and seven, they quickly decided it would be more fun to go outside and play then stay inside with mom looking at her new pictures.

But I love the photos and find myself looking at them throughout the day. They are reminders that before I ever heard of BRCA1, or even thought about having an oophorectomy and hysterectomy, these amazing parts did what they were supposed to do: they gave me two precious gifts who are now playing in my front yard.

 
 
 

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