In 2020, I was having some issues with bloating and feeling a little less energetic than my normal self. I wasn’t able to lose any weight, and I blamed a lot of it on the pandemic. When the bloating didn’t go away, I went into my doctor who then advised me to get an ultrasound after my liver numbers came back a “little off”. Although an ultrasound didn’t detect any issues, A CT scan showed I had a tumor on my right ovary. I was 41 years old and a very healthy person, minus the bloating. Looking back, I did notice “whispers” of ovarian cancer– low back pain, frequency in urination, and some bloating and digestive issues. Something like cancer just wasn’t on anybody’s mind, especially not mine!
I was scheduled for a debulking surgery about three weeks from the discovery of my tumor, and it had spread. I had my spleen and a large part of my omentum removed. Parts of my bladder, liver, and diaphragm were also removed. The surgery was 100% successful. After surgery, I received six rounds of chemotherapy that wrapped up in February 2021. I tolerated chemo fairly well, but I did need IV hydration after each session because I couldn’t get enough water—even drinking 80-100 ounces a day! I am currently on hormone replacement therapy, and it is working well for me to not put my body into menopause just yet. I also utilized cold capping during treatment. I was able to keep some of my hair to look as normal as possible for my children, who were 6 and 9 at my diagnosis.
I’m thankful for this experience. I believe my positive attitude and healthy habits will help keep a recurrence at bay. I’m also confident that those things helped me get through this process in just a few (very long) months and come out of it even stronger. My support team of family and friends is strong. They are there for me when I have a bad day. I have tools that I utilize to pull myself out of the negative thinking that can come with a diagnosis such as this. The information that is out there can be very outdated and it’s not always tailored to someone’s situation. There are so many different variables, so it is important to focus on the individual’s journey. Don’t believe everything you read. In a lot of ways, I feel like I have found my purpose—and life is just starting over for me! I have even started my own business that focuses on a positive experience in youth sports. When I was going through my journey, thinking about not being able to watch my kids participate in sports was something that hit me very hard. I am lucky to have that perspective for not only that part of my life, but so much more. I am not just surviving—I am thriving! It sounds weird to say I have cancer to thank for that!
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