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People handle cancer in very different ways. If you'd asked me last year when I didn't have it, I would have thought I would be very private about it if I did get it. Guess not!
If you don't know, I was diagnosed last November with stage 3B ovarian cancer. I have been through a roller coaster of hope, despair, horrible news, miracle news. I have wanted to curl up in a ball, hoping it would just go away to shouting from the rooftop so everyone knows everything.
Every once in a while I'll post an update on my newsletter, instagram, or facebook. I wish everyone fighting cancer could have the kind of support and encouragement I get each time I post. It gives me strength and resolve.
Today I want to reach out in two ways so that I can help others. The first, everyone should know the subtle symptoms of this horrible disease. There are no tests. There is no screening. And most oc women are diagnosed in late stages because of that. The second, a blood drive in my honor.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I don't mean to get you down with all this cancer talk. But it is a reality for me and many others. Together we can make difference.
Love you to pieces! Honestly. Truly. Completely.
So, about this stupid cancer thing. I was diagnosed on Nov 10, 2020. I remember the date because it was my 49th birthday. I had been experiencing throbbing in my lower abdominal area when I tried to sleep on my tummy. When I had blood in my urine I reached out to the doctor. My regular primary was unavailable so I had a phone appointment with another in the office. It was covid, no vaccine yet, so they didn't really want patients to come in. She treated me for a UTI, but when the urine results came back with no sign of infection, she did nothing. I had to push. Only appointment I could get was on my birthday. New doctor now. Still general practice. All he needed to do was push on the right side of my tummy to know the problem. He didn't think it was ovarian cancer, maybe cysts, maybe endometriosis. But he got me a walk-in CT scan that day. When my kind male technician wanted to hug me after the scan, I should have known it was bad. (He didn't. covid. 6 feet apart.) I was napping when my primary called and said it was a 13 cm mass that was "concerning". We had to take out a ruler to learn that 13 cm was 5 inches! She was honest and said it was most likely cancer. So it was then we knew. Two days later a needle biopsy to confirm. A day later an appointment with the Gyn/Oncologist to learn the details. My husband was not allowed in, so he heard the details on speaker phone. Biopsy confirmed ovarian cancer. One large tumor on the right ovary. Other smaller ones scattered in the abdomen.
I am on a mission to be sure the women I love know the symptoms. From the list, I only had weight gain and getting full quickly (which of course I welcomed because I was gaining weight! Dah!). We know our own bodies, please listen to yours.
So, my friend, these are the symptoms of ovarian cancer. If you feel you have any, have the conversation with your doctor. Frankly if you know something isn't right, talk to your doctor. Don't put it off because early detection can make all the difference.
Other symptoms can include:
For more information, go to ovarian.org and a local group called clearityfoundation.org. As with all cancers, the sooner they catch it, the better. And don't let your doctors tell you it's a UTI if it's not!
Additionally, I am honored that Mo's daughter is sponsoring a blood drive in my name.You may know, but I have had two blood transfusions during this journey of mine. When I saw that precious bag of dark red, I was immediately grateful that someone I'll never know donated their own blood so that I could get better. I won't receive your donation directly (that would be weird), but adding to the blood bank ensures people like me will have what they need when they need it. If you can't give blood or don't live in San Diego, consider giving a money donation.
If you do give blood, please let me know. I couldn't imagine how much it warms my heart until the first person told me they did it. (That was Kathy Girl, btw!)
To see Natalie (Mo's daughter) tell us more and why it is personal to her too, catch the first few minutes of that Monday Night Live.
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