I’m six years out and NED (no evidence of disease). I choose to look at my diagnosis and treatment as an event and not a lifestyle. I’ve had one recurrence, but I’m not going to sit on the sidelines and wait for it to come back. Life goes on, and I’m going with it!

I am a fit and active person. I had been in very good health, but over Labor Day weekend 2016—I got severe stomach cramps. I went in and got a CT with contrast. They called me the next morning with the news: Ovarian Cancer. I never had any of the “classic” symptoms, and this came out of left field.

I met with a surgeon the next day. She told me I had stage IV ovarian cancer and gave me the non-favorable statistics. I told her, “someone had to be in the remission group, and it might as well be me.”

I next met with the oncologists and after discussion (and a second opinion), I started with nine weeks of chemo (carboplatin and taxol). Then, I had “debulking“ surgery (who thinks up those names?) followed by another nine weeks of chemo. I had nausea and an allergy to the chemo, so I was filled with Benadryl, steroids and anti-nausea drugs. The chemo staff was a wealth of knowledge. They were really helpful in dealing with side effects.

I naively thought that since I was in good shape, surgery would not be difficult—and recovery would be quick. Wrong. I don’t care who you are; it gets your attention.

After treatments, I was good for three years then had a recurrence.  I was treated again with 18 weeks of chemo (taxol and carbo) planned. Without the break after nine weeks, the chemo was harder on my body. I made it through about 15 weeks of treatment before calling it good. My CA125 was back to normal, and my CT was clean.

During my treatments, I gave myself permission to do what I needed to take care of myself. Most importantly, I kept moving. I did low intensity workouts and kept walking. Keeping moving helped me mentally and supported my physical energy levels.

One of the best things I did was get involved with MOCA. Right after my first treatment, my friend invited me to join her table at the MOCA Black White &Teal Gala. I loved seeing so much support and took hope from the speakers.  Afterwards, I joined the MOCA support groups and have met some incredible, amazing women who understand and share their experience and knowledge. I now serve on the Board of Directors and work to continue that benefit for other women and families.

Ovarian cancer is a tough row to hoe, and treatment isn’t fun. Do what you need to do so you can get on with living!  Use the tools that MOCA provides to help you with your process.

The information enclosed in Survivor Stories should not be considered a substitute for the opinion of a qualified health care provider. MOCA does not recommend or guarantee any product mentioned. Please use this information to assist you in obtaining further information and in making your own health care decisions.

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