Not pregnant? Then you have cancer!

In June of 2004, I had a single FET with my first set of
IPs. Unfortunately, it resulted in a chemical (positive tests/negative beta). I
stopped all meds, started bleeding six days later, then had not full periods,
but two days of exaggerated spotting for the each next three months. The
spotting came every 28-30 days, which for me was a marked improvement from the
typical 60-80 day stretches of absolutely nothing. My former IPs switched REs within
the same clinic and before we had the next FET (which ultimately, never came to
be), he wanted me to have an endometrial biopsy done with my local RE in Savannah. This
appointment marked the beginning of my hate affair with Dr. Dead Fish.  

It is standard practice for Dr. Dead Fish to make his
patients take a pregnancy test prior to doing an endometrial biopsy. I
understood the rationale but still found this mildly amusing; a negative was
the desired result, which was an ironic twist to my long line of undesired

After I handed off the plastic cup of pee to the nurse, I
undressed and hopped up on the table to wait for the probing. Dr. Dead Fish
entered a couple of minutes later, with the nurse on his heels chirping that I was
NOT PREGNANT. I mentally chuckled, thinking No shit, Sherlock. When have I
ever been pregnant sans drugs? Dr. Dead Fish sat like a medical magician with
his Vagi-Wand and I got into the proper stirruped position. He began the
ultrasound, then after a few moments he clicked his tongue and said, “Hmm. Are
you sure you’re not pregnant?”

Did you not just hear
the nurse say that I was NOT PREGNANT?
“Yes. I’m not pregnant.”

“You’re sure you’re not pregnant?”

Yes, Dr. Dipshit, yes –
I am positively, abso-fuckin’-lutely sure that I am not pregnant.

“I’m sure. I’m not pregnant.”

“Nurse, can you go double-check that pregnancy test just to
be sure?”

Dude. Seriously. You
can stare at that bitch all you want and it’s not going to make a line appear.
Believe me, I’ve tried before.

No, I was NOT PREGNANT, but my lining was
extremely thick, as if in early pregnancy before a sac is visible. He took two
biopsy samples and then, with all the bedside manner of a, well, a dead fish,
Dr. Dead Fish informed me that just by visual inspection, the samples looked
abnormal and that he had only seen samples like that twice before, and that
each of those two times, uterine cancer was the diagnosis. “And you’ll need
almost an immediate hysterectomy and depending on how severe, you will need
other CANCER treatments. But it might not be CANCER. But I’ve only seen this
twice before in thirty years and it was CANCER. So. You might have CANCER. But
still…it might not be. But no matter what, you need to have a D&C because
we need to test the entire uterine lining for CANCER. And even if the sample
looked normal, you’d still need a D&C because your lining is way too thick.
And a too-thick lining lead to CANCER. So I’ll call the RE Atlanta and your OB here and I’ll let them both know about the possibility of CANCER and your need for a D&C.”

Long story short – I cried for pretty much the next 24 hours,
which was how long it took for the preliminary results from the biopsies to say
that I didn’t have cancer. The next day I had the D&C, and two days after
that I received the very welcome news that I no atypical cells were found, but
that I did have a disordered uterine lining. Thank you, PCOS. From there, my OB expressed the importance of having regular cycles, because having PCOS and going for
months at a time without a period (as my body is wont to do) can increase the
risk of uterine cancer. I need to stay regulated with either BCPs or Provera, depending on whether my intent is to or not to get pregnant.

I have not had a full period since the miscarriage in mid-June. On August 5 and September 6, I had heavy, dark brown spotting but not much more than that. This afternoon, I have an appointment with my OB to figure out what’s going on in there. The way I see it, either

  1. my lining is thin and just hasn’t been building properly because of the PCOS, in
    which case, yay (!) for my uterus for at least attempting to maintain some semblance of regularity, or
  2. my lining is building but not shedding, in which case I
    might be headed for another D&C.

If my lining is thin, I’ll likely start Provera in another
few days to ensure that my period comes in a timely manner, then I’ll start
BCPs on CD1 to make sure I stay regulated between now and cycling.

If my lining isn’t thin, at least I won’t fear CANCER.

13 thoughts on “Not pregnant? Then you have cancer!”

  1. Ah, the pregnancy test. I looked at the nurse like she was nuts and asked her if she knew why we were there. I reminded her that my husband is infertile and we’re using a donor. That there was no way I could be pregnant. No dice. I still had to do the test.

  2. I HATE when any medical professional makes assumptions or unfounded statements that have the tendency to instill unnecessary fear in their patients. it’s just so, well, UNprofessional. hoping your issue gets cleared up soon, without intervention.

  3. I am so sorry that you had to go through that. I am sending all the good vibes and positive prayers your way!!

  4. Ugh. I’m sorry. It’s unbelievable to me how insensitive medical professionals can be – especially the ones that deal with these issues as their choice of profession!! Surely they understand the grief and how painful off-hand comments can be. (Leaving aside the CANCER thing, idiot!) I hope everything is fine with your lining!
    I don’t want to make this about me, but I’ll share that I will never ever forgive the OBGYN that I saw for my follow up visit after my miscarriage and D&C. (not my regular doc, someone else in the practice). I asked when we could try again, but I couldn’t keep from tearing up. He looked at me like I was INSANE for crying in his office a week after I lost my baby and told me maybe I ought to wait a year, since there is a risk of miscarriage every time and I was obviously not emotionally stable! Yeah, still really angry, five years later.

  5. I just had a flashback to the college health clinic. I had to either be pregnant or have mono, right? It was one of the two – had to be.

  6. As someone who also has PCOS, you have my utmost sympathy. I’ve never had to go through what you’re dealing with, but I have dealt with idiotic and insensitive doctors who have no idea what it’s like to deal with PCOS from the patient’s end of things.

  7. Yikes (I’ll admit I was astonished when I spoke to my clinic about starting Lupron, told them I didn’t need a pregnancy test first since my hubby’s had a vasectomy (and entirely unsuccessful reversal) and…they agreed. Wowza). Sorry you had to go through that, but glad you now have the information you need to (a) know how to take care of yourself and (b) avoid needless panic.

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