On November 18th 2010 at the age of 32 my life was changed forever. I went in for what was thought to be a surgery to remove a possible dermoid cyst on my right ovary as well as possible endometriosis and instead found out I had stage 3a Ovarian Cancer. I was a newlywed and my husband and I were going to try and start a family in the next couple of months. All of our dreams where gone in just three words “you have cancer”.
As I recovered in the hospital I was trying to figure out how I’d move forward with my life, what is next and how do I do this? I had decided at that moment that I wasn’t going to let this cancer win, that I would fight and beat this awful disease. Once I got home the research began, I started scouring the internet for as much information as possible so I could be as educated as I could on the disease that would take over my life. A lot of the information was extremely heart breaking; I found so many negative statistics that it started making me sad so I stopped looking.
After being diagnosed I decided I had to go through my medical records since I knew I had several symptoms and I realized that all the symptoms that I had had started in 2007 and were all related to my Ovarian Cancer. When my symptoms began I had gone to several doctor’s for help who all told me it was “probably just endometriosis”, they were completely wrong. I had several symptoms that I had learned to live with for so long: pressure to urinate, fatigue, gas that medications would not help, abdominal bloating and discomfort as well as feeling full quickly while eating meals. I was unaware that by putting all of these symptoms together would point straight at Ovarian Cancer. Because of this I am even more determined to advocate for women so we can find a test for early detection as well as a CURE!
I went through the typical frontline chemo of 6 cycles of Carbo/Taxol, which did a number on my immune system. I finished treatment in May 2011 and was told I was in remission. I had my very first CT scan in December 2011 and was told all was clear…..but sadly that would prove not to be the case.
I went on living a “normal” life thinking I had finished treatment and could move forward. It was now time to start looking into the family we had dreamed of….and then a miracle happened! In March of 2012 my husband received a call from our uncle who is a doctor saying he had a baby for us. My husband then called me and nonchalantly said, “My uncle just called and has a baby for us, do you want to do this?” My immediate reaction was YES! Then I asked if it was a boy or girl and he said he forgot to ask. We were then on our way that night to a small town in South Carolina to go to the hospital to meet our potential new child and the birth parents. On our way there we found out it was a baby girl who was just born and that the birth parents were unable to keep her asked for adoption information so when the nurses heard this they thought of our uncle who had been telling his fellow colleges that his nephew and niece were looking to adopt….all the pieces fell into place after that. We met the birth parents who were wonderful people who just couldn’t have a child at this time in their lives and just wanted a happy home for her. Luckily we were able to pull everything together to get the official adoption process started the very next day and we got to bring our beautiful baby girl home from the hospital. It was a world wind experience since we had no notice at all but we truly believe it was God’s work for sure! She is my miracle child and is my angel here on earth!
The sad part is with Ovarian Cancer is that is often comes back, and I learned with mine that my initial diagnosis of high grade ovarian was incorrect. I was told in March 2013 just a week before my daughters 1st birthday that my cancer was back; I was devastated but knew I had to fight. We started treatment again of Carbo and Taxol but this time I had Taxol weekly. After 8 months on treatment things weren’t getting better and I felt a tumor by my original exploratory surgery scare, turns out this tumor was there since my first CT Scan in December 2011 but was written off as scar tissue. I then found out after a biopsy of this tumor that it is actually Low Grade and not High grade ovarian cancer as originally thought. This changed a lot since Low grade and High grade cancer act very differently. I then did my research and changed my life drastically. Diet was first; I stopped all sugar and processed food and now to this day follow a strict Paleo diet. I learned that mixing natural medicines with traditional would be my best way to fight this disease. I am now almost 6 years out from my initial diagnosis and still in treatment for my cancer but I am still alive and pretty healthy at that. It took me some time but I now realize that I need to focus on keeping the cancer stable instead of just focusing on getting rid of it, because as we all know there is no cure, but that doesn’t mean we can’t live a long and healthy life. Each cancer story is different, each one unique but we all have a common goal, to live!