When I was 49 years old, I noticed my abdomen was enlarged. I wasn’t having any significant pain, but I was still concerned. I had trouble with fibroids in the past and needed surgery to remove them, so my doctor initially suspected I had fibroids again. This time, when I went in for surgery—I was diagnosed with stage 2c ovarian cancer. That was back in 1992.
I am now a long-term survivor of 28 years, but I still remember being shocked and surprised by my diagnosis. I never knew of any other women in my family with the disease. I had no idea what to expect or what my life would look like.
After my surgery to remove the ovarian cancer, I had several rounds of chemotherapy treatments. Thankfully, I didn’t have many side effects from the chemo. I was able to continue working. Somehow, I got through it!
I believe my support system made a big difference in my recovery. My family and close network of friends gave me so much support. They were always there for me at my side when I needed them!
I also took part in a support group for people with cancer. (That was before MOCA was founded in 1999.) When I later heard about MOCA from my nurse practitioner, I started attending their support groups. Getting to know other ovarian cancer survivors helped me feel less alone and keep the faith. These women knew exactly where I was coming from. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of these groups over the years. Now, I want to be there to offer hope and support to other women.
I am so grateful I have never suffered a recurrence of ovarian cancer. I continue to attend MOCA’s support groups to listen and share my experiences. As a long-term ovarian cancer survivor, I want to let other women know there is always hope! I believe they should think in those terms. I also want women to know they should reach out to MOCA. There is always someone there to listen.
I enjoy staying connected with MOCA, attending the walk-run event and keeping up with the latest information and research about ovarian cancer. Treatments have come so far over the years since I was diagnosed. I feel grateful to be able to share my story of survival with other women and give them hope for the future!
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