Back in the spring of 2011, I was 45 years old, I thought I was pre-menopausal because I had many of the symptoms used to define that stage in life. My symptoms included fatigue, more frequent periods, mood swings, trouble sleeping and some hot flashes; unknown to me, these are similar to signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. Thinking that some of this was due to my weight I decided it was time to get more active. I always loved to play volleyball, so why not sand volleyball. Some friends at work had a team and I was graciously asked to play. The first night of volleyball I was blessed to have my daughter with me, she was home from college for the summer. I dove for the ball and not immediately, but within a couple of minutes had pain radiating throughout my abdomen which made it difficult to breathe. Standing or sitting did not relieve this pain. We called a good friend of mine that knows emergency care quite well and she recommended we go to the emergency room. My daughter drove me to the ER. By the time we got there, approximately 15 minutes, the pain had subsided and I didn’t think I needed to go in. It was then that my daughter pulled out her best “mom” look and said I better get into the ER (Wow! I taught her well:)) Thank God! My husband met me there. After a few more incidents of pain and my first experience with IV dye they sent me home with an OBGYN appointment in 2 days.
My niece drove me to the appointment and my husband met me there. We were then told I had a cyst on each ovary and they were attached. Surgery was necessary to find out if it was cancer. My OBGYN told me “it is what it is” and we will not know for sure until surgery. He also told me not to read the internet to avoid misinformation. We then scheduled my surgery for 20 days later. I remember trying to keep it together so I wouldn’t scare my niece on the way home. We didn’t know exactly what would be found, so we decided to wait till after surgery to tell or children. We tried to keep life as normal as possible.
Surgery seemed to come quickly. I woke up after surgery with an abdominal binder, NG tube, compression device on my legs, more than a little drowsy and my hubby at my side. After a total hysterectomy, cavity flush and testing of the cysts we were told I had Ovarian Cancer. This is when we were faced with the toughest job ever. Not only were we dealing with our emotions, but we also had to tell our two children. There is nothing in the world to prepare you for that. I can only hope, to this day, that we did right by them. I guess the silver lining was that the doctors thought they got it all and nothing was found in my glands. Chemotherapy would take care of any cancer hanging around.
Eight weeks of recovery with trials and tribulations that made it seem longer passed before I was able to start chemotherapy. The first session of chemo proved to be a little troublesome because I had a reaction to the medication, but nothing that couldn’t be taken care of moving forward. So, every 3 weeks for 6 sessions I headed to chemotherapy. My family, friends and co-workers helped me greatly by keeping my life as “normal” as possible. I was also very fortunate to be a part of a soccer family that kept me occupied watching some excellent high school soccer.
By December 8,2011 I had completed my course of chemotherapy and all was well thanks to my oncologist, pharmacists and last but not least the nurses I encountered with plenty of sunny disposition for all. I am incredibly fortunate to be one of the survivors of Ovarian Cancer. 67% of breast cancer patients survive compared to 38% of ovarian cancer patients, I’ve looked at the internet now.
I would like to give back to my community by supporting those being treated for ovarian cancer, providing education and awareness about ovarian cancer with the hope of supporting those researching a way to diagnose this sneaky and silent killer. This is the reason I started Teal 2 Heal!
I would like to thank God for his divine intervention in my life, Radar, Sarah and Leigh without whom I would not have made it through this ordeal with a smile on my face and those extended family, friends and co-workers (you know who you are) that have really taken the time to care.
Love You All