Michelle Cohn – Flemington, NJ

My best friend, Rose, was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer 7 years ago. Four years after diagnosis, she passed away. Despite hearing all the warnings from her, in November 2012, when I had severe heartburn, bloating and fleeting pains, I excused it all to stress from a very stressful year. When I finally went to my primary care physician, she recommended I go to my gynecologist. After a pelvic exam, she felt that perhaps my symptoms were related to stress, but just to be on the safe side she suggested I have a transvaginal ultrasound. After that, the roller coaster began. One week later I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, stage IIIc and began six cycles of chemo two weeks after that. After optimal debulking and six more cycles of IP chemo, I have been in remission for 4 months. It’s all so surreal to me as I think back to not even a year ago and how my life has changed.

It is so important to get the word out there about the symptoms. I got an e-mail from my friend who listed all the symptoms and felt somehow protected because I had no family history of cancer, had given birth to a child and breast fed. I gave out information cards to everyone at word and if one woman reads the card, clues into the symptoms and gets to her doctor, it would be well worth the effort. I also walked in a local Ovarian Cancer walk a week ago and my team raised $2900!

I live with a feeling in the back of my mind that it may or will come back and am trying to live life as best I can until I have to take up arms to continue with this battle. My adivse to the newly diagnosed would be to get to a gynocological oncologist and that you don’t have to consider this a death sentence. It is now thought of as a chronic disease that is treated as symptoms come up.