Friday, January 30, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

My irregular monthly cycles were a symptom of cancer, not menopause

Dear Annie: I am writing in the hope that my situation will help other women. A year ago, I started experiencing irregular monthly cycles that would last for 20 days at a time. I also had extreme pain and a rapid heart rate. I was told, “You are going through menopause.”

After several months of this, my doctor had some blood work done. He had me go immediately to the emergency room for a blood transfusion. At the hospital, I was given a pelvic ultrasound that showed I had polyps that turned out to be endometriosis. Then my life changed.

I was diagnosed with endometrial stromal sarcoma and required a complete hysterectomy. During my surgery, the doctor found a five-pound tumor (which explained my unusual weight gain). I have since endured more than 30 radiation sessions and will continue this treatment until the cancer is gone.

I knew I was not yet going through menopause. My symptoms were too extreme. I am grateful that the doctors took the time to figure out what was wrong. I urge all women who are having such symptoms to seek help as soon as possible. Endometrial stromal sarcoma is very treatable. — Grateful in Indiana

Dear Grateful: Thank you for alerting women to be vigilant when it comes to their health. There is a support group for survivors of ESS and their loved ones at ess-sarcoma.com. We hope you will look into it, if you haven’t already.

Dear Annie: Would you please print this for grandparents everywhere?

Dear Grandparents: You’re killing your grandchildren with your kindness. We understand you love them, but you have to stop pumping them full of sugar.

You don’t listen to us, so we’re hoping Annie passes this along. Your grandkids visited the Saturday before Easter, and you made marshmallow treats together. On Sunday, you watched as they hunted for Easter eggs stuffed with candy and chocolate. As a reward, they received overflowing baskets full of more sweets. Dinner was followed by some sort of whipped-creamy dessert so decadent it made our teeth hurt. Christmas was much the same, with mugs of hot chocolate.

We’re learning so much about sugar and its potential for harm in our bodies. Yes, everything in moderation, but you have no filters on your moderation. We could understand if you only saw them once a year, but this scenario plays out weekly because you live nearby. Whipped cream, strawberries and syrup is overkill for morning pancakes. Find pleasure with your grandkids in other ways, please. It will make us all feel better. — Dad in Distress

Dear Dad: Grandparents want their grandchildren to love them, and they look forward to the excited smiles on the kids’ little faces when they give them sweet treats. They rarely consider the long-term nutritional issues. First talk to your parents and in-laws and ask them to love the children enough to limit their sugar intake, and don’t be afraid to enforce limits on what the kids eat when they are with the grandparents. Then teach your children about the way nutrition plays a role in how strong and healthy they will be. Teach them to say “no, thank you” to Grandma and Grandpa. The nutritional lessons they learn from you will help them throughout life.

Dear Annie: “Cranky Canadian” was upset that his stepdaughter, “Justine,” parks herself at their home for two weeks at a time and doesn’t lift a finger. Given that “Cranky” and his wife of six years are both in their late 60s, a change in the family dynamic is unlikely.

I suggest a vacation alone for “Cranky” during Justine’s visits. It may make everyone at least partially happy. — Retired Psychologist

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

 

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar

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