My story began a long time ago. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 20. I had an ovarian cyst that my doctor was watching for about a year. It wasn’t supposed to be a problem. I was young and these can be common. After a followup visit, my doctor indicated that this cyst was larger and we should schedule a surgery to remove the cyst and my one ovary. I awoke from the surgery with a complete hysterectomy. My mother had to make this difficult decision for me because of the diagnosis and stage of the cancer (which was 2). I felt like I had been punched in the stomach and couldn’t breath. I had gotten engaged to be married just six months prior and was in the process of planning a wedding. Now I had cancer and also couldn’t have children. My fiance was so supportive as were my friends and family. They were my rock through it all, especially my now husband. I had a long bout of chemotherapy and a second-look surgery 18 months later.
I got married while undergoing treatment and have been for 30 years this October. I have been cancer free for over 30 years and try to live life to the fullest. I have a beautiful adopted daughter who will be 18 this year and thank the Lord everyday for the blessings He has given me. At the time I underwent this stage in my life, there were not all the organizations and groups available that there are now. I was always willing to speak to anyone I came across going through a similar experience to help them come through it. Only someone who has lived the experience can know what its like to hear those dreaded words.
I tell every woman I meet to always listen to your body and get checked if you don’t feel right in any way. Always better to err on the side of caution than to hear too late. I was one of the lucky ones because my grandmother lost her life to this disease.