Carolina Gonzales Houston, TX
Just a week after my 19th birthday, I found myself in the E.R. suffering from exhaustion, feeling very thirsty and unable to stand that horrible pain in my abdomen. The nurses drew my blood three times in a row unable to believe the readings. The calcium level in my blood was a 16.4 when the normal range is 6 to 7. Immediately the attending physician started injecting me with a medication that would quickly lower the calcium level from its dangerously high position.
For two weeks no progress was made in diagnosing my condition. I was accused of having an eating disorder due to my severe weight loss, thyroid issues were thrown into the mix, and finally they just gave “it” the name of being Idiopathic. After many complaints about my hurting abdomen a CAT Scan was ordered.
A large tumor was growing in my abdomen. This tumor was simultaneously consuming my calories from my food feeding the tumor, and not me solving the mysterious weight loss issue. Thankfully i transferred to the Methodist Hospital in Houston and a surgery was ordered to remove the large tumor which was my left ovary. The surgery was successful. The size of my tumor was that of a volleyball. My right ovary and uterus were unaffected. My diagnosis was stage 3 small cell carcinoma of the ovaries.
A few weeks after my surgery in early October I began the first round of the seven treatments of chemotherapy I was to endure. The seventh treatment was a killer dose, but a stem cell transplant one day after my last day of chemo saved my life. I spent one month in the hospital making progress each day thanks to the stem cells working and doing their jobs. The stem cells were my own so my body responded wonderfully to the transplant.
When I was well enough and my counts had raised to a more stable level I started my radiation treatment. That took six of the longest weeks of my life. On June 30th 2011 I rang the victory bell three time declaring to everyone that I had completed the hardest mission on earth.
I was blessed enough to celebrate my 20th birthday in August of 2011 and start my freshman year of college. Being a cancer survivor is the most rewarding feeling. I am an empowered woman now. Nothing satisfies me more than being able to wake up and look at myself in my mirror and see a warrior, survivor, and a miracle of God.