When a Hernia Meets Cancer

by GregP_WN

This week's WhatNexter of the week is Buckey Shelby. She is an Endometrial Cancer Survivor and is starting to get compfortable with the idea of being a survivor. Shelby is very active on our site always there to help others along their way, offering support and answering questions that those who are just starting always have on their mind.

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My name is Shelby Bartellis, know as Buckeye Shelby on WhatNext. I’m 48 years old and am just recently willing to call myself a survivor of endometrial cancer.

My journey began on July 12, 2012, when I went into the hospital to have an umbilical hernia repaired. I came out of the anesthesia in the recovery room with no problem, unlike an earlier orthopedic surgery. I was chipper, even. Oh look, it’s my Surgeon. Why is he in recovery…? And here is where serendipity begins. He looked at me and told me they had found more than the hernia – there were nodules in the hernia sac, adenocarcinoma. My general surgeon is also an abdominal surgical oncologist, so he had the ball rolling to schedule me for testing the following day. What was supposed to be just an overnight in the hospital quickly became a 2 day stay, as they sent me for internal ultrasound, CT of abdomen and pelvis and a mammogram to try to determine the origin of the disease. And I met my medical oncologist while I was still in the hospital. He looks like he’s 12.

My next step was an endometrial biopsy. I was waiting in the surgeon’s office, trying to figure out why I wasn’t going to the major cancer hospital in central Ohio. Maybe I should get a 2nd opinion. When I met my surgeon, the first words out of his mouth were “It’s nice to meet you; I’m sorry you’re here”. Who needs a 2nd opinion… He had me right there. I had an endometrial biopsy so they could determine if it was uterine or ovarian as the primary source. Uterine it was. Grade 1. Ok, that didn’t sound bad.

We got me scheduled for a hysterectomy as soon as I’d recovered from the hernia surgery. No complications. No cancer in the ovaries or tubes. But it had spread to the omentum, which made it Stage IV B. My surgeon is still mad about that because grade 1 cancer is not supposed to spread like that. I’m always the trouble maker.

As soon as I had recovered from surgery #2 in 6 weeks, I started on chemo – taxol & carboplactin. And of course I was one of the 3% who have reaction to taxol. Oncology nurses really do run fast! I think every nurse on the floor was by my side as soon as I yelled, “Help!”. Luckily, the only other issue I had in the chemo chair was my 2nd to last when the taxol leaked and I got a nasty “sunburn”. My arm is still weirdly tanned and numb. But I’m finished with chemo as of 1/10/13.

I discovered WhatNext relatively early in my journey. I spent a lot of time right after my diagnosis surfing the web, including the American Cancer Society web site, which is where I ran across the link for WhatNext. I’ve gotten so much information and support. And I love being able to do the same for others. Oh, and the name I use on the site – I do live in Columbus, Ohio and am an alum of THE Ohio State University. And a big college football fan – even when we are undefeated and not allowed to go to a bowl game! 

Stop by Buckeye Shelby's page and tell her hi, and thanks for sharing her story

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