Karen Ingalls, Tavares, FL
In early spring of 2008 I was experiencing a bloated abdomen and increasing pant size. I had no pain; no indigestion; no urinary or elimination changes so I thought my bloating was just “being 68 years old and post-menopausal.” Four days before my annual pelvic and PAP, my rectal elimination began to show some change. I decided I would talk to my gynecologist about these two symptoms. When the doctor could not get the speculum in she palpated my abdomen and could feel a large mass.
As everyone says, “My life changed forever.” The CT scan and MRI confirmed what my doctor could feel. The next day I was in a gynecologic-oncologist’s office; had a total hysterectomy and colon resection one week later; and told that I had Stage IIC ovarian cancer. I received 6 rounds of Taxol and Carboplantin, and my CA125 dropped down to single digits. My BRCA1 and BRCA2 were negative, but I do wonder if there is not some genetic connection not yet identified.
I will soon celebrate my 5th birth-day of remission on June 20, 2013. I am a retired nurse who knew almost nothing about ovarian cancer, and obviously did not recognize the bloating as a symptom to be concerned about. My mission in life now is to increase information about this lesser known disease to women and physicians, and to offer hope and inspiration to women and their families. Those are the reasons I wrote the book Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir; proceeds from it go to ovarian cancer research. I reach out to communities by offering presentations and I volunteer at OCAF
I am grateful for each day; my faith in God which is my rock; and my family and friends who have always supported me.