My journey began in May of 2008, only 6 years after losing my mother at the young age of 54 from stage 4 Ovarian Cancer, and 7 years of being married to the most wonderful husband. At the time, I had 2 children ages 2 and 4 and instead of dealing with a cancer diagnosis, I should of been enjoying my family. They are my world and my everything. Due to my family history, I was under surveillance by my doctor at a young age. I was having yearly mammograms since the age of 28 as well as, trans-vaginal ultrasounds of my ovaries. Never would I have expected that I'd get a call saying I have Breast Cancer. At the age of 34, I was diagnosed with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) and my only choices at the time were to have radiation or a mastectomy. Having 2 little kids my choice was quite simple, I choose to do a DOUBLE mastectomy with reconstruction (because I felt there is no way I'm gonna let cancer win) and my husband supported my decision 100 percent.
After that I was in the clear and cancer free!!! Since my mother had breast cancer at the age of 40 and now me at 34, I was advised to get tested for the BRCA gene. Once again, I felt like I was punched in the stomach and found out that I tested BRCA 1 positive. I accepted this and tried to move on as best as I could, well why not I had 2 little kids to raise as well as being a wife to my best friend. I continued to be checked by my on/gyn every 6 months with an internal ultrasound, sonogram and ca125 bloodwork. After going over the results of the genetic testing with my doctor we all came to the agreement that by 40 years old, I should have my ovaries taken out. So keeping this in the back of my mind, I somehow continued raising my 2 little kids. I was a busy mom. I felt great and did it all. Every so often reminding myself that I needed to make that dreaded appt to have my ovaries removed.
Time past now, I turned 40 and my husband surprised me with a wonderful trip to celebrate. My kids were now in elementary school, I was exercising, I was back in shape and felt the best I ever did. So now at 40 I knew I had to go for surgery and right before turning 41. I went in for a an oopherectomy and thought this is great, I'm all set and I can continue on with my life. After about 7 days the results from pathology were in. I got a call from my doctor telling me to come into his office. I didn't know what to think... well I guess I did, but just tried to be positive. We got to the office and my Doctor sat my husband and me down. At this point I braced myself for the worst. Yup, once again, we got the dreaded news "you have ovarian cancer". I lost all control of myself, all I could think was "I'm gonna die and leave my kids, my husband, my family).
Back to surgery, about a month later I went for a staging surgery that took about 8 hours. I woke up to find an ileostomy bag which I had for 6 months, and a catheter that I held onto for 2 weeks. (other than that I was fully debulked with no visible signs of cancer other than those wonderful microscopic cells) I felt like dying, I was in bad shape. Still thinking of my kids and husband I knew I had to be strong because I now have STAGE 3C Ovarian Cancer, which meant to me, 'I'm pretty much screwed'. I had a lot of different things going on in my head mostly about death and how did this happen after taken so much precautions.
After being in the hospital for over 2 weeks, I managed to get home and start a life with the new me. Soon after that I started chemotherapy, I achieved remission for a short 18 months and have been on and off of chemo with no other remissions since the first one.
I'm still here fighting 5 years this May!!! My kids are now 15 and 13, still my babies and immune to my different treatment regimes. My husband has been a saint throughout this, never leaving my side, never missing an appt. He along with my kids, family and friends have given me the will to keep on fighting. My mother only survived a little over 2 yrs with her Ovarian Cancer diagnosis. Today treatments have come a long way, giving us all hope to live longer.
There are many things I am grateful for but my top three would be:
1. Don't sweat the negativity, focus on the day at hand and make it the best one ever. Stop and give a hug, stop and accept a hug!
2. This disease has taught me to notice the things that I've overlooked prior to this which is nature- the sky, the birds, the smell of rain, the rainbows etc.
3. This disease has taught me to take time for me, to enjoy every deep breath, and exhale every negative thought that may enter my head. I believe that life is too short to waste on negativity. I enjoy the small things more, and I cherish every moment spent with my children and my husband. I have faith that God knows what I need....cause I don't give up in hoping or believing. My goal is to keep fighting, and see my kids grow up, and to grow old with my husband, my best friend.