I had stage 3c and it was the most common type, epithelial. I was 40 years young and though the prognosis didn’t look very well—I looked eight to nine months pregnant by time surgery came around.
They removed eight liters of fluid while I underwent the total abdominal hysterectomy. Fortunately, I had an amazing gynecological oncologist who took very good care of me. I personally believe having a doctor who specializes in gynecological cancers is best suited for handling such a serious surgery that requires debulking.
At any rate, after surgery I started my chemo treatments which was IP chemo. It was intense. It was hard on my body and though I consider myself to be a strong woman I ended up choosing not to continue with that treatment. In May of 2012 I finished two PICC line treatments, in the arm, and said goodbye to chemo. And two months later I jetted back to Saudi Arabia, a place I had taught the English language at the year before.
Can I say that life has been awesome after cancer? No, it’s not been awesome. Having gone through cancer and through the terrible chemotherapy changes you. It’s changed me. My body is not the same. I am pretty sure it never will be. I deal with side effects from chemo. Side effects like neuropathy and lymphedema. My bones and joints hurt when I’m doing nothing. I have a cyst in my abdomen that just doesn’t seem to want to go away, permanently.
But you know what? As not perfect and awesome as those things are...I’m alive to tell the tale. And that makes me smile.
I may have woes. My body may never be the same. And there probably hasn’t been a day that has gone by where I haven’t (for just a split second) wondered if cancer is coming back. But that doesn’t mean life is not full of great things though. For it is. My life is still moving forward. Probably in the non traditional way at that.
I continue to teach in Saudi Arabia. Because it’s something I love. I have a passion for teaching, for making a difference. That’s something that cancer has not taken away from me. I still love to travel and it’s something I’ve done much of in the last four years. I’ve been to over eight countries and have done some serious road trips back in the states.
My life got interrupted by a vicious disease called ovarian cancer…but it didn’t get stopped. In fact, having gone through the ugliness of cancer and chemo and all that comes with it motivates me to do as much as I can in this life. In the here and now. While I can. For life is way too short. Which is something I knew before cancer. And even more so after.
I know tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. I know devastation can hit at any time. Whether that be through cancer or any of the many other possible things that can happen in life. So…I stay mindful of that and let that truth be what drives me to just make the best out of each new second I’m giving.
I would like to add that my faith in God is the one constant in my life. If not for that faith I doubt I’d be here. I feel strongly that I’m still here for a reason. That God still has a purpose for me. Maybe that reason/purpose is to write about my life (something I wish more survivors would do) which I did when I wrote HOPE through cancer. And maybe it’s to spread ovarian cancer awareness in countries outside of my own. In countries that know very little about the hideous disease. Which I’ve been doing here in Saudi. And maybe it’s for other reasons that I’ve not yet discovered. I guess only time will tell.
Hope’s book can be found at Amazon in both hard copy and ebook form as well as at:
50% of all book profits go to ovarian cancer organizations.