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26 Year Ovarian Cancer Survivor
Posted on January 18 2016
At age 32 I knew something was wrong with me. I hurt so badly during every menstrual cycle; when I would dig to plant flowers; just anything that required the use of my lower abdomen and back muscles. I had spotty bleeding.
My in-network doctor said I just had a urinary tract infection. "Go home, put your feet up, drink some cranberry juice." I did not get urinary tract infections; so this did not ring true to me nor my husband. I called back to the in-network doctor; whose nurse asked if I had trouble understanding my doctor's instructions. "No, I don't have trouble understanding; you are just wrong."
My husband called to my Ob/Gyn who lived in a different state. He directed us to an out-of-network doctor. My new, wonderful doctor thought I was a nutcase. He said he only ordered the ultrasound because he thought I was some "hypochondriac nut" -- his words. He just wanted to get it over with. I don't remember telling him this; but he said I came in and advised him that I either had cervical cancer or ovarian cancer (hmmm imagine that he would think I am a nut).
Yes, the technician's eyes. He asked me, "How old are you Susan?" I was 32 years old. I saw sorrow in his eyes. I asked if he could tell me what he saw; and he said I would need to speak to the Doctor. The Doctor calls. Wants to see me and my husband ASAP. He wants to do exploratory surgery; there is a mass.
It is Mother's Day weekend coming. No, the surgery can't wait. Be back there in two days for surgery. WOW. I work. I have children. No local family. No close friends that live here. What will I do? What will my husband do? From work and the day care center; emerged all types of angels. Angels who care a few extra hours for the children, who took up money for the extras my family needed at the hospital, parking, cards, flowers, encouragement and more.
Exploratory surgery - yes while I lay on the operating table they were able to have a rush biopsy; it is ovarian cancer. They take everything that I can live without: full hysterectomy, appendix, greater and lesser omentum (who even knew they had these things?) and I am sure other parts that I have failed to mention.
When I regained consciousness in my room; I had already been assigned an oncologist. He was sitting; just studying me. I think he was trying to figure out if I had the stamina to do this; he never said. He spoke to me of this cancer; what it would take to survive; his prognosis if I took the chemo treatments; his prognosis if I didn't. So begrudgingly, and after many talks with God, I went for six months of treatments, CA125 tests, even what they called a chemo wash, hair loss, sickness and; after six months I slowly pulled out of that chemo haze of treatments, sickness and isolation.
What I learned -- People are amazingly wonderful. My husband has a heart of gold (My hair would fall out heavily at night; he would get up early to try and pick up as much as possible from my pillow so I would not see it). My Aunt organized the people of her church in another state to send me weekly cards of encouragement. My daycare provider would stop by during the day just to check to be sure I was okay. The people I worked with phoned and checked on me constantly. A woman I did not know from another state would send me beautiful cards to keep my spirit up. I AM stronger than I ever thought possible.
I am grateful to my Lord and Savior that He gave me the chance to see my children grow into adults and to allow me to see my beautiful grandchildren. I am also grateful to my wonderful gynecologist who thought I was a nutcase and the oncologist who called me stubborn. For it is with all of these people; together; I am cancer-free and alive. 26 years cancer free.