Yesterday is History. Tomorrow a Mystery.
Today is a Gift. That’s why we call it the present.Anonymous
This post is in memory of my friend Sarah who died of advanced ovarian cancer and of all other women taken too soon by ovarian cancer.
This post is also in honor of all women around the world who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and are currently living with the disease, whether currently in treatment or in remission.
A week after my 59th birthday, after having several of the ovarian cancer symptoms for several months, I had an appointment with my primary care doctor. She suspected something was going on and sent me for a CT scan the next morning. As soon as she had the results of the scan she called to tell me there was a large tumor on my left ovary and it might be ovarian cancer. Six days later I was in surgery.
A few weeks after the surgery I received the diagnosis of stage 2B ovarian cancer and began 9 months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. There were a few bumps in the road that delayed two of my treatments but when I was finished I was in remission. I will continue to see my gyn/oncologist every six months for the rest of my life. So far, I have not had a recurrence. I am grateful every day that my cancer was discovered early.
Many women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed after the cancer has spread. Only a small percentage of women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed at an early stage like I was. Those diagnosed early have a much greater chance of survival.
I was lucky that my primary care doctor recognized a need for an immediate CT scan and blood tests. I was lucky my gyn/oncologist could perform the surgery just a few days later. I was lucky my treatments began soon after my diagnosis.
I have so many people to be grateful for who helped me through my cancer journey – all the doctors, nurses and technicians in the hospital, my husband Henry who never left my side and took care of me every day, my children who put their lives on hold to be with me for my surgery and during treatments. I’m grateful for every card, gift, phone call, and visit from my friends, for the friends who came on the hottest day of the year to work in our yard, and for all the meals that friends brought over. I am grateful for all the prayers, some from total strangers.
This journey taught me a lot of things. I learned that a positive attitude is everything. I learned that with determination I can do anything. I learned that I have more friends than I ever imagined. I learned that prayer works wonders. I learned that I am stronger than I ever thought.
Most cancer survivors I have met say that the cancer changed them. I have to agree with that. I look at the world differently now. I learned I have to let things from the past go. I have learned not to worry about things I can’t control. I have learned to enjoy life every day and to appreciate the little things. I have learned that life is too short to put things off. I’ve learned to appreciate the gift of every day.
Here’s one last reminder of ovarian cancer symptoms. Remember, there is no test to detect ovarian cancer.