Let me start by staying that at age 69, I have survived stage 3C ovarian cancer for OVER 7 years! Now that I have your attention, please keep reading – I want to share my story!
Toward the end of 2009, I noticed periodic discomfort above my pelvic bone when I sat down. This odd pain would subside after a few seconds, but several weeks later, I saw a little blood after I urinated. “Oh no,” I thought, and called my gynecologist. I got an immediate appointment in early 2010, and the results of the ultrasound confirmed two masses. My surgery one week later revealed not only cancer in both ovaries, but that it had spread throughout my pelvic area.
During the course of my first 17 rounds of chemotherapy, I discovered the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance (COCA) and Nicki’s Circle Support Groups. The women of this group gave me inspiration, support, and education, so that instead of feeling defeated by the tenacity of the disease, I felt empowered with hope and new methods to aid me in the battle for my life.
Even though my cancer came back a year later, through COCA, I learned about alternative treatments and therapies: yoga, mindful mediation, qi gong, naturopathic programs, and acupuncture. I sought counsel from a Naturopathic Doctor and dramatically transformed my diet and started new supplements. Both my physical and mental health improved because of my lifestyle changes. Even though I've had to go through chemotherapy two more times, I've been able to cope extremely well, and feel fortunate to say I feel my future is bright!
I sincerely do not know where I would be without COCA. In so many ways, COCA and Nicki's Circle have saved my life, and it is my sincere hope that my testimony helps others. Today, I tell women that there are three things they should not ignore:
- Your intuition. Most women diagnosed with ovarian cancer report bloating, difficulty eating/feeling full quickly, pelvic or abdominal pain, and a frequent urgency to urinate. It’s important to note the prevalence of these symptoms. Since there isn’t a diagnostic tool for ovarian cancer, intuition is your first line of defense.
- Your social circle/friends. Receiving a cancer diagnosis is scary and overwhelming. The scientific literature and medical jargon can add additional stress to an already traumatic situation. I derived great support from COCA and the information they shared.
- Your alternatives. Every “body” is different. While traditional practices may work for some, others may benefit from alternative approaches. Be open to different methods, new ways of thinking, and the guidance of peers.
I hope you are enlightened by my story and motivated to support COCA on June 10, 2017 at the largest ovarian cancer race in the country – Jodi’s Race for Awareness. Proceeds from the event stay within Colorado and are used to provide support, education, and advocacy to women with ovarian cancer. Please register today and tell them Sue sent you!