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Danielle Slavin

Danielle Slavin

Thank you for visiting. This cause is very dear to me, and I'll appreciate all the support I can get!

As you may know my cousin was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in April.

This is her story, in her words:

Many know that I’ve spent a lot of my high school/college years as an active and persistent athlete and runner. I felt invincible and my fitness ability was at its all time high. As parts of my life and schedule had changed throughout the years, fitness and running were still an important part of my life but at a slightly different level. But that was okay... until about a year ago.

My running and exercise were significantly affected and I had no idea what was wrong. All of a sudden, I couldn’t run more than 2 miles without severe pain in my side. Even playing saxophone, deep breathing, and some yoga poses didn’t do the trick and I felt like I couldn’t breathe properly because of a giant pain in my side. I thought maybe it’s just me being “out of my normal shape” and I subconsciously changed a lot of my fitness habits due to that.

After our beautiful wedding last summer I was (and always will be) on cloud nine. Definitely took advantage of “treating myself” and enjoying life which totally compromised my strict eating/exercise regime that I had pushed through for so long. The pain didn’t go away though- it got worse.

In October, it was time for my husband and I to run the annual Hartford half marathon as it one of our little traditions. The day before that race, I went to the doctor because I literally felt like I couldn’t breathe from this side pain and my doctor told me to cancel the race. My stubborn self ran it it anyways- we made it through and my husband held my hand the entire time even though it was the most painful race I’ve experienced in my life. That’s when I started to ask more questions.

I went to 3 different facilities for tests and X-rays and was told that nothing was wrong with me. First they thought I might have gall bladder disease, maybe some torn muscles, but still nothing really to raise a red flag for. By thanksgiving time I was so wrapped up in finishing out my first semester of grad school, I figured what the heck I’ll stop running and just focus on getting school and work done since that’s the priority for right now. The pain and breathing got better, so maybe that did the trick. Nope.

In January, I started noticing a lump in my left lower side. I could literally feel it when I was lying on my stomach/doing yoga and when I was stretching. I would lie on my back and could see a huge bump in my left side that was significantly bigger than the right. My light running was still difficult but I guess that was just me being “out of shape” after the slight hiatus. I made so many excuses for myself and had no idea that something was seriously wrong. But this was not normal- it was time to get this thing looked at.

Many, MANY different doctors later, we ruled out that this lump was a benign cyst. Scary, but not a big deal, right? Lots of women have these and they’re manageable with a simple surgery. So surgery was scheduled and we had a plan. When surgery came around, I woke up to the doctors telling me that they couldn’t take out what they needed to because they confirmed that the mass is actually an aggressive form of ovarian cancer that has invaded other organs in my stomach and the immediate action is to schedule chemotherapy ASAP and begin the long road to recovery. Plus, turns out that there was scarring in the right side where I had the previous pain during the past year-- one was a cause from the other. Complete shock to say the least....

So, now, we continue to meet with doctors, get second opinions, plan our chemo schedule (2 rounds down baby!) and schedule another (and successful ????) surgery. On top of trying to finish out my first year of grad school, to say that the past month has been a stressful one is a complete understatement, but you know what, it’s all gonna be good ????. I wouldn’t be able to say that without the incredible support from my family/friends and amazing medical team. I would not be here without any of you and owe you everything I have.

I want to share my story because I believe so strongly that it is absolutely necessary and essential to listen to your body. I made excuses for myself about my physical health because I thought it was my fault for not being as active as I normally was and that was a result of why I wasn’t feeling “myself”. Now that I’ve become more aware of this disease I’ve learned that most of the time, women don’t have a clue that something like this is going on until it’s aggressive and noticeable just like my story. That is not right at all.

Moral of the story: listen to your body. Don’t make excuses. Do not take your health for granted. Love yourself and listen to yourself all day and every day. My voice has power today and every day. Yours does too. ??????????

Together we can make a difference!
Best - Danielle


raised of $500 goal


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