My story begins like many other ovarian cancer patients. I had sporadic symptoms of indigestion, bloating, and feeling full quickly that became more and more persistent. I thought I had developed a gluten or dairy intolerance and worked with a nutritionist to improve what I already thought was a pretty healthy diet. When that didn’t alleviate my symptoms, I was convinced it was irritable bowel syndrome and scheduled a gastroenterologist appointment for the earliest opening two months out. In the meantime, blood tests and ultra sounds came back normal. I was shocked when the gastroenterologist informed me he had made me an appointment with a gynecologic oncologist. Cancer had not been anywhere in my realm of thinking – I am low risk, there is no cancer of any kind in my family, and I have regular PAP tests and mammograms. But ovarian cancer it is, spread to my abdomen lining and bits of my intestine and colon, not unusual but very sobering. I am currently on week 7 of a 16-session course of chemotherapy, and so far, so good. I’m fortunate that I’ve suffered none of the usual side effects of chemo, like nausea and exhaustion, and although I may be sleeping more, I am still working and exercising. I’m also fortunate to enjoy a humbling amount of love and support from family, friends, co-workers, and clients, and for that I am truly grateful. I’m mindful of the statistics, but hey, I’m me – strong, a fighter – and I’m planning to beat this.
What I do want to do is make sure that as many women as possible are aware of ovarian cancer symptoms, and if they experience any for an extended period of time, that they talk to their physicians and not have the symptoms be brushed off as inconsequential. Thank you for joining me to break the silence on ovarian cancer. Through your generosity we are making a difference for the women, family members, and loved ones affected by this disease.
Your support is appreciated!