Phyllis

Every now and then I reflect back on the year 1968, when I was diagnosed with a mole pregnancy (that is what I was told at the time). I thank God for the wonderful doctor I was put in touch with, or I would not be here today.

At the time we were new to our area of Tampa, FL. I suspected I was pregnant because I was not feeling well at all and had nausea and spotting. I went to a doctor near us and, without even an examination, was told that it was probably stress. My sister-in-law talked with her weight control doctor, and he advised me to see a certain group of physicians. They were a godsend. They confirmed my pregnancy and went on to treat it like a normal pregnancy and started to treat my nausea. I lost 20 lbs in a month. The bleeding became heavier, and I was rushed to the hospital with an expected miscarriage. You have to remember that this was before all the modern technology we have today. I failed to mention that I had already had one successful pregnancy, a daughter, then aged 4. I went on to miscarry while on the bedpan. I can remember the looks on the nurses’ faces and others coming in to look. I never did look. I had a D&C and was sent home with a normal follow-up.

On my follow-up visit with the doctor, I found out that there were problems. They had no idea what they were dealing with, but evidently it had started to grow within a 6-week period, and they thought they had not gotten it all. I went back to the hospital for another D&C, and it was then that they knew that this was something they had never seen before. They consulted with other physicians and located someone who had had a similar case. My options were a hysterectomy or chemotherapy, with the prognosis that if I had the chemo, I might still have to have the hysterectomy. I elected the chemo, with two sessions and stays of a week in the hospital for each one. I cannot remember the time frame between sessions.

This (the pregnancy) all started in June, and I was given a clean bill of health right before Christmas. After the New Year, the spotting started. They treated this with birth control pills. It went on to get heavier, to the point of hemorrhaging at times. I was put in the hospital in January to undergo another D&C. The following day, on removing the packing, I started severely hemorrhaging and they had to repack me while I was still in my bed in order to save my life and get me to surgery. Once in surgery they removed the uterus. The opinion was that the mole had grown into the uterus and upon chemo had left holes. I wonder today what the real reason was.

I have been healthy ever since, having recovered very quickly, but I will never forget that time in my life when I was just 25 and had a family I did not want to leave. It is very much on my mind these days as my 6-year-old grandson goes through treatment and bone marrow transplant for aplastic anemia. I wish everyone good luck, and remember, you have modern technology on your side. I would still like to know the cause. As others, I blamed myself.

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