I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 24 years old. I was shocked, stunned, angry, upset, scared, etc. I didn’t understand why this was happening to me. I had a horrific childhood growing up so I decided to go into social work. A month after I graduated with my BS in Social Work I was diagnosed. After working only one month at a “real” job I was let go. I had to go through four rounds of chemotherapy. When I was done with treatment I tried to live my life like I did “before” cancer. I didn’t want to be a survivor. I didn’t want to tell my story. I wanted to forget my story. Then at 9 years with no sign of disease my wonderful husband looked at me one day and said how long are you going to let cancer rule your life? How long are you going to live miserably? I was the person that smiled but never really did. People thought I was the happiest person in the world but I was really dying inside not from physical cancer but from mental cancer. I felt no one understood and I woke up wanting to be someone else everyday. I decided to get counseling at the wonderful Siteman Center in St. Louis. I am madly in love with my husband and I already wasted so much time and didn’t want to waste anymore. I was barely 2 years with no sign of disease when we met but he didn’t care. He is a Marine and he wasn’t scared of the unknown. Not knowing what is around the corner is life he said. He knows that all too well being a Marine during Sept 11th. The first six visits I cried the entire hour and was barely able to speak. I didn’t want to talk at all I didn’t want to face it. My counselor kept making me say “Angie you are a survivor be proud”. Slowly I started embracing it. I decided to take a huge step in 2010 and register for the Families Roc Ovarian Cancer 5K as a survivor. I am now 11 years with no sign of disease and no recurrences. So now I won’t shut up about it! I am a runner and did my first triathlon this year and my first half marathon last year. I fight my mental cancer with running and exercise now. I also spread the word as much as possible!!! The picture attached was when I took my life back and stood up to cancer!!!!!
Angela Shepard – St. Louis, MO
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