Virginia's story

I am now a stage III Ovarian Cancer Survivor since April 8, 2011. The most important advice that I give to women: tell your gynecologist that you request both trans-abdominal and trans-vaginal ultrasounds to look at the whole pelvic area. Ask for a copy of the radiologist report. I didn’t have this copy until 4 years later when my doctor was closing her practice. I had never missed my yearly female exam. I complained to my doctor about a painful knot in my pelvic area and pain down my leg. My gynecologist never told me the results from this test. A nurse told me over the phone; “Oh, it’s fine. Results show fibroids. See you for your next yearly exam”. I should have had a follow-up pelvic CT scan without delay. In fact, this pelvic ultrasound done 5/6/2010 showed a pelvic mass 9 cm diameter. I was in so much pain. My niece convinced me to go back to my doctor. On 3/7/2011, I returned to my doctor. This ultrasound showed the mass 13.4 cm. MY STORY At age 51, I was a divorced, single mother of two adult married sons. I arranged for short-term 6-week leave from work. My plans were to recover at my mother’s house and return to driving, to my apartment, job, church, dog, and generally resume my lifestyle. I would have a complete hysterectomy. On 4/8/2011 I was taken back for a 3 hour surgery. During my 6+ hour surgery, my family were taken into a small room where my doctor told them, I would most likely not survive surgery. I woke up in ICU, my two sons stood over me while my doctor explained that I had cancer. There were two other surgeons that had also operated on me. The tumor stuck to my colon, pushed one of my kidneys closed. Nine inches of my colon was removed, stint placed into my kidney, & a bladder catheter. Sometime after midnight, I woke up and began trying to make sense of what had happened to me. The nurse allowed my sister to come talk to me. As I looked at the outline of my sister beside me, I told her: “We have to pray.” I began to pray aloud. The Holy Spirit circled the room; it was a beautiful feeling. As I prayed, I praised God for saving my life, for keeping me alive. I was in and out of the hospital, had chemo and lost my hair. I never worked again and was placed on disability. I ended up having 6 more surgeries. I was able to move into an apartment in March 2012. I have been in remission since June 2014. I still have IV Chest Port. I go to the Cancer Center every 6 weeks and have yearly scans.

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