Hello. My name is Renate McGrail. I am 46 years old. I was diagnosed with Stage 3b ovarian cancer on New Year’s Day January 2012.
After having an emergency CT scan at the hospital my diagnosis was swift. On January 10th they performed a complete hysterectomy. They removed my uterus, ovaries, Fallopian tubes, omentum and part of my diaphragm. They were able to obtain optimal debulking and were confident that they had removed everything and that the cancer seeds that were remaining would be addressed with chemotherapy.
I underwent 6 rounds of agressive chemotherapy directly into my abdomen. I had read that this type of chemotherapy had the highest success rate. Unfortunately, my body was resistant to this type chemotherapy and that since I had had the most agressive therapy there was that there was not much else they could do. Fortunately, my story had not yet ended. I was lucky to get a spot in a clinical drug trial in September 2012. This seemed to work for me and held the disease stable until February 2013 when they had to remove me from the trial because the tumours had started to grow again. Again I have been fortunate to be able to join another drug trial. I have been on this trial for 8 weeks and will find out on May 6th whether this treatment is helping me.
Our family has been blind sided by all of this. There is no history of ovarian cancer in our family. I had experienced stomach aches and heavier menstrual symptoms. I had an ultra sound in March 2011 and there was no sign of anything. I have 3 daughters that are 17, 13 and 6. I want a test to be found in their lifetime to diagnose this disease early. My two daughters are doing their part to create awareness by participating in a legacy girls study at Princess Margaret Hospital. My thirteen year old daughter is also creating t-shirts for the first world ovarian awareness day with her friends. I will post a picture of them. They are doing it in my honour.
We are making the best of every day and I consider each day a gift and a victory.