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Stage 1a and scared

agale
Posts: 4
Joined: Jun 2003

On May 7, 2003 I was diagnosed with stage 1a borderline ovarian cancer. After a complete hysterectomy/staging procedure, my gyn. oncologist said I was cured and would be fine without further treatment -- just 6 month follow-up visits for the rest of my life. I would love to believe him, but having lost my husband to cancer less than 2 years ago, I find myself skeptical about being "cured" of cancer. Are there any stage 1a survivors out there who can provide some reassurance? Thank you!

mirtle
Posts: 32
Joined: Mar 2003

Agale, I'm a Stage 4 survivor. I was diagnosed in 1993. Of course, I am in the midst of a recurrence right now but it took nine years for it to come back. I also had a complete hysterectomy but I had some chemo on top of that. If you are not satisfied with the Dr.'s findings, get a second opinion. It couldn't hurt. It is scary but it is definitely not the death sentence that it used to be. Please let me know if I can help you.

eringolaw
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2003

Your message sounds familiar. I was diagnosed with a "low growth potential malignancy" ten years ago this September, and at 37 had a full hysterectomy et.al. No chemo, but it took me months to get back to work and a good year to feel normal. I don't know the exact stage of the cancer, either, because I was terrified to ask - me, the vocal one in the family. Look, no one can guarantee anything, and feeling "cured" won't protect you any more than believing that cancer happens to other people protected you before. Besides, you've changed, but don't know how yet. Concentrate on being a survivor - that is powerful. Something big challenged you, you won and you are stronger - new challeges are guaranteed to appear. My experience is that being a long-term survivor is not passive (like a "cured" patient), but active - and it takes work. Survivors deal with new emotions and thoughts - I have this incredible ability to predict a disaster around every turn (ever see that movie about the tidal wave - I've got my escape route planned), and every once in awhile I see a Mom with her kids and break into tears. Just part of the new package. At the same time, I've accomplished things I never expected BC. In a nutshell - be a survivor and don't worry about being "cured".

groundeffect
Posts: 651
Joined: Mar 2003

Agale, Please get a second opinion to give yourself some comfort regarding your first doctor's opinions. In the reading I've done since I was diagnosed with 1c, I've read that 1a is typically treated that way. It's supposed to be a very contained incident of OVCA.

I had six rounds of carboplatin and taxol chemo; it wasn't too bad, really, but one of the reasons I was given for having the full therapy is that, if it comes back, it would be harder to work on with chemo, so better to get it all in the first shot!

I'm sure your doctor is giving you the best advice they can. I talked with a friend who's a nurse recently, and she told me to have faith in what the docs are saying-they're out to "win the game", and it's their goal. That made sense to me.

You are scared, so don't be afraid to visit a support group and talk about it. I think I'm the only one in the group I've gone to that was staged as low as I was, but we all have a scary thing in common and it's good to talk about it!

Can you put in a few words about how your CA was discovered? It's remarkable that it's such a low stage, and I'm sure others would like to know what symptoms you had.

agale
Posts: 4
Joined: Jun 2003

Thank you for responding. I am in the process of getting a second opinion. I will talk with my doctors about the possibility of further treatment based on the outcome.

I did go to an OVCA support group, but all the women were stage III or IV, and several were in the midst of very difficult recurrences. I found it depressing and removed from my current situation. Fortunately, I have an excellent support group I've been involved with since my husband's death, and those people have been wonderful.

Regarding my symptoms -- my gyn had been following me for a simple ovarian cyst for a number of years. At my last routine checkup, I mentioned that I felt an occasional "twinge" in the area of the left ovary. Ultrasound revealed that the cyst had become complex and larger. He immediately sent me to an outstanding university hospital and a nationally-renowned gynecological oncologist. I am indeed fortunate that he was so careful and observant. I'm also glad I didn't hesitate to mention the "twinge" -- always listen to and honor what your body tells you.

groundeffect
Posts: 651
Joined: Mar 2003

The different symptoms women have are amazing! Isn't that amazing-you must have known subconciously that something more was wrong.

I find the support group that I've been going to, while composed mostly of Stage 3 and 4 survivors, to be a positive experience, and I've encouraged my fried who had Stage 3 to come. They're really the only ones who I felt really know the fear I have.

I'm glad you're going to get a 2nd opinion. It should give you some peace of mind.

My husband's cousin has had some suspicious symptoms. I may try encouraging her (again) to get a 2nd opinion. So many women have their complaints discounted until they are really deep into ovarian, it's a shame.

mopar
Posts: 1948
Joined: May 2003

I am so glad your situation came out okay! But, as everyone else has suggested, please stay on top of the situation. I had endometriosis since I was 16. In 2000 we discovered a fibroid on the uterus. My doctor referred me to an oncologist because my CA125 was 43. Although endo can elevate it, he had the good common sense to let an expert take care of it. There was a cyst on the one ovary which turned out to be cancerous. So they did a complete hysterectomy, including removal of the omentum and a few lymph nodes. I underwent 6 sessions of strong chemo (8 hours of infusion!). I am three years cancer free! but will always have my concerns from here on. Anyway, just continue to have periodic blood work (although it's just a screening). It does give some sort of guideline to what's normal for you and then you can be aware of changes. Prayers out to you!

Caregiver
Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi my name is Caregiver im here if you want to talk, Please don't be scared, im here have faith

your friend Caregiver

joshaff
Posts: 4
Joined: Nov 2003

hi agale. I am a 10 year suvivor of stage 111c ovarian cancer. Had a comlete hysterectomy and a colostomy(later reversed) and believe me I was scared to death. Had six chemo treatments and have been fine ever since. I still go to my oncologist once ayear and get a ca 125 hopefully they will come out with a better test soon. I still get apprehensive about a recurrance even though it has been 10 years, but I try to stay positiveand I still belong to a support group mostly to give hope and encouragement to newly diagnosed women and assure them this is not an automatic death sentence. you are so fortunate to have been diagnosed at such an early stage. Must have had a very good Dr.

joshaff
Posts: 4
Joined: Nov 2003

hi agale. I am a 10 year suvivor of stage 111c ovarian cancer. Had a comlete hysterectomy and a colostomy(later reversed) and believe me I was scared to death. Had six chemo treatments and have been fine ever since. I still go to my oncologist once ayear and get a ca 125 hopefully they will come out with a better test soon. I still get apprehensive about a recurrance even though it has been 10 years, but I try to stay positiveand I still belong to a support group mostly to give hope and encouragement to newly diagnosed women and assure them this is not an automatic death sentence. you are so fortunate to have been diagnosed at such an early stage. Must have had a very good Dr.

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