Two years ago on New Years Eve I still had my hair. I was spending my winter break from teaching recovering physically from surgery and emotionally from the news that I was suffering from ovarian cancer.
Two years ago on New Years Eve I was sitting in my oncologist's office for the purpose of reviewing the pathology report from my Christmas Eve surgery. The purpose of the visit was to determine the type and staging of my cancer, and to discuss the treatment options that were available to me.
Two years ago I left the oncologist's office with a stack of information from his nurse manager explaining the treatment options for high grade serous carcinoma.
And that was the beginning of a life changing journey....
I endured a second surgery to place two ports that would facilitate my chosen treatment. The first port was implanted into the upper right side of my chest, beneath the collar bone. The second port was implanted beneath my right breast. The second port would be used for intraperitoneal chemotherapy treatments.
I endured 6 three week cycles of intraperitioneal chemotherapy that began in January and ended in May.
I endured 6 "lost weekends" as a result of those treatments and their immediate side effects.
Two years later I continue to endure the emotional and psychological effects of being a survivor of a cancer that according to available research is going to return.
Two years later I continue to attend multiple ovarian cancer support groups.
Two years later I continue to "fight" to lose the 30 pounds I gained during my treatment.
Two years later I continue to visit my oncologist every 3 months in the hopes of identifying any recurrence early.
Two years later I share the story of my diagnosis and treatment with medical students at different medical schools through a program called "Survivors Teaching Students."
Two years later I have yet to return to running on a regular basis.
As I begin 2018, I will take better care of my physical and mental health. I begin a "restart" training plan on January 8th and will be more conscious about what I eat and drink. I am determined to live my life mindfully.