On July 29, 2005 I woke up to hear my gynecologic-oncologist say “You have stage III ovarian cancer”. Hearing those words was difficult.
A few months earlier I had seen my gynecologist about a dull pain I was having on the left side of my abdomen. I was vigilant about getting an annual physical and mammogram since my sister’s diagnosis with breast cancer ten years before. After two ultrasounds, an MRI and a visit to the emergency room I was referred to a gynecologic oncologist. I underwent a hysterectomy, oophorectomy and complete debulking surgery. I chose to take part in a clinical trial using selenium in addition to standard chemotherapy drugs. After 9 cycles of chemotherapy I was told there was no evidence of disease.
I watched my daughter marry and my son graduate from college. Then in the fall of 2008 while my CA-125 was normal I went for a routine CT scan. I learned that my cancer had recurred on my liver and spleen. I had surgery to remove my spleen and resection my liver. And followed that with another six cycles of chemotherapy. In the spring of 2009, I was once again told I was disease free.
In 2007, my gynecologic-oncologist told me about an opportunity to take part in the first LiveSTRONG Survivors Summit in Texas. That Summit planted the seeds for my vocation as a cancer advocate. Over the past seven years, I have been involved with a number of ovarian cancer awareness organizations, I have attended medical conferences and advocated for ovarian cancer research. Currently I co-moderate a tweet chat (#gyncsm) and continue to write a blog (womenofteal.blogspot.com) about my journey with cancer.
Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is not easy and side effects from treatment continue to impact my life but I have hope. Hope that there will come a time when women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will face a future that holds a cure for each and every one of them.
Every day is a Blessing!