I lost my wonderful husband of 48 years in January of 2006. About 5 months later I noticed I was getting exceptionally tired in the early afternoons with unexplained bloating and abdominal pain. Thinking that this was part of the grieving process, depression and anxiety, I didn’t think much of it and planned on seeing my gynecologist at some point anyway. While out shopping one day, I happened to slip and fall hurting my left hip. As expected, I was sore but never bothered getting it checked out. My children finally persuaded me to see an orthopedic when the pain wasn’t getting any better. After reviewing the x-rays of my left hip, the doctor suggested that I see an urologist as there was something suspicious on the films. After a scheduled appointment and tests with the urologist, he suggested that I immediately make an appointment with my gynecologist. The meeting with my gynecologist seemed to be somewhat routine even though he suggested that I see an oncology gynecologist and have a total hysterectomy. I’d already had one ovary removed 52 years ago; just weeks after my honeymoon because of a large benign cyst the size of a grapefruit.
With my family there for support; the hysterectomy went well without any complications. It wasn’t until pathology came back with a surprising report and informed Dr. Orr that I had Stage 1C ovarian cancer. We were numb and in shock. What did we know about ovarian cancer? The next morning, Dr. Orr came into my hospital room and informed me what they had found. I made a follow-up appointment with his office to start our plan of treatment which included chemotherapy. Dr Orr’s nurse Cami was wonderful and explained every last detail. I remember asking her if I would loose my hair and she very passionately and caringly looked at me and said yes…but hey, it grows back and sometimes even nicer than the hair you had before! The chemo was tolerable and not as bad as I thought it would be. After going through the surgery and treatment plan I felt like a new person. Today, I realize just how lucky I was to be diagnosed at stage 1 and able to enjoy my grandson who will be turning three in March, and named after my husband. My children insist their father is responsible for “pushing” me and making me fall. While in my yard one day, cleaning the water fountain given to me by my children in honor of their father, sat a heart shaped leaf sitting in the bowl. It sat next to his picture and urn in my house everyday until an unfortunate fire in 2009 took my home and everything in it. After thirteen months of living with my daughter, my new home was ready and like something out of a movie there stood my new mailbox on its wooden post with a “heart” shaped image in the grain of the wood. Oh, and did I mention, our official acceptance date of incorporation from the IRS is Valentine’s Day, 2011? Please, educate yourself and know the symptoms. Early diagnosis can mean a survival rate of 90%.