I was admitted to Edwards Hospital one year ago today to have my ovaries removed because of a cyst on one of them. The surgeon wanted to do the surgery robotically, and he seemed optimistic that there was nothing to worry about. When he was checking me I. Before going into surgery he explained that there was a possibility that he might have to do a larger incision if he saw something he was concerned about.
When I woke in recovery the first thing I did was check my abdomen to see what my incisions looked like. I was relieved to see only a series of small holes across my belly instead a large one. My relief lasted a short while, however, when I was told that based on the frozen section they did, I was given a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Definitely a life changing moment!
Cancer is such a scary diagnosis. My thoughts immediately turned to my kids. Even though they were older (20 & 17) I began to worry that I wouldn't be around to see them get married and have children. I worried about leaving them with no one to take care of them.
When I out of recovery and in a room the first thing I did was google "ovarian cancer." What a mistake that was. I read all about recurrence rates, debunking surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. I didn't even know what stage my cancer was. But I was scared to death.
I survived 6 cycles of intraperitonal chemotherapy and continued to work on the days I didn't have treatments. I lost all my hair, ALL of my hair. I gained 30 pounds while in treatment. I completed my treatment on May 13, 2016 and completed my first post treatment 5k walk on May 30. I was pronounced in remission on May 26. I had my chemotherapy ports removed on June 14. I was
A year later I have run a few 5k races, joined a group called Cancer to 5K, and am using Heart Rate Training to prepare for my first post treatment half marathon in April. My application to run the Chicago Marathon was accepted, so I guess I will be running my first ever marathon in October. I have rejoined Weight Watchers, but am struggling to get back on track. I am convinced it is a combination of the time of year and the emotional and psychological scars that remain from my treatment.
To help me heal emotionally I have seen an oncology social worker who has connected me with so many helpful resources. I have connected with 2 different gynecological cancer support groups and worked with a mentor from Imerman Angels. I participated in an 8 week class on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. I've been seeing a counselor who has been helping me with the PTSD associated with my diagnosis using a treatment called EMDR.
I am still on a 3 month checkup cycle. My next checkup is in February. And the drumbeat of my cancer diagnosis goes on.