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Yesterday was my anniversary, but not the good kind

Hissy_Fitz's picture
Hissy_Fitz
Posts: 1869
Joined: Sep 2009

One year ago yesterday I was diagnosed with Stage IIIc Ovarian Cancer. I had seen my PCP the week before, about a gall bladder issue. At least I assumed it was my gall bladder, and was already fussing and complaining about having to have surgery. (Gee....I wish I could have had gall bladder surgery surgery instead. I promise not to complain, God, if you could just give me a do-over on that one.)

My doctor sent me for a trans vaginal ultrasound of my abdomen, and the next day I had an atomic gall bladder test at the same facility. I suspected something wasn't right because when I went back for the GB test, the tech who had done my US came over to chat and was just really, really out-of-the-ordinary nice and kind to me. I know I'm a fascinating person, with a magnetic personality (LOL), but I've had scans and tests and such before, and no one was ever this solicitous.

My doctor called me the next day, from his cell phone, on his way out of town. The radiologist had read my films and called to give him an urgent heads-up. "It's not your gall bladder," he said, "It looks like you have Ovarian Cancer." For the first time in my life, I was truly speechless. He went on to mention that I had a large (12.5cm) tumor on my left ovary and two small ones in my abdomen, then added, "The long-term survival rate is less than 30%." Charming bedside manner.

I saw a Gyn/Oncologist right away (actually, I was hysterical when his office told me they had no openings until the following week) and my surgery was scheduled for Sept 29, 2009. My body had other ideas, however, and on Sept 26 I was admitted to the hospital thru the ER with a total bowel obstruction. Had I not had the US, this would have been my wakeup call, I'm sure. I had a lot of complications and spent a total of 16 days in the hospital.

I was staged at IIIc and had Carbo/Taxol treatments, after which I was deemed NED with a clear CT scan and a CA125 in the single digits. I am now on "chicken soup" therapy....maintenance Taxol, which can't hurt and might actually help forestall a recurrence. At least that's the plan.

This evening when I go to Mass, I will offer up a huge prayer of thanks, and prayers for all "my girls", that we may all live long and prosper, as the Trekkies say.

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.

Carlene

leesag's picture
leesag
Posts: 625
Joined: Jan 2010

Carlene,

I raised a glass of wine in a toast to you tonight. On one hand,yes, it's a sucky anniversary. On the other hand, you are NED because you were diagnosed when you were.

God bless you and keep you and CHEERS! Here's to NED!

Hugs!

Leesa

Hissy_Fitz's picture
Hissy_Fitz
Posts: 1869
Joined: Sep 2009

You go, girl. I toasted myself with a Margarita and some Tex Mex on Friday, then tonight I walked 3.5 miles, just to show any cancer cells that might be lurking inside my gut that I'm tougher than nails and they better not mess with me.

Actually, I've committed to the NOCC 5K run/walk this Saturday and I wanted to make sure I can do it. But it sounded good, didn't it?

Carlene

Cafewoman53's picture
Cafewoman53
Posts: 738
Joined: Jul 2010

Carlene it is a happy occassion , I am hoping to be in your shoes in June of next year. Isn't it true that the longer you go before a reoccurence your survival rate is better?
I am looking forward to my anniversary and while it is sad we have to celebrate such a thing I hope we get to celebrate the same thing for years to come !

Colleen

Hissy_Fitz's picture
Hissy_Fitz
Posts: 1869
Joined: Sep 2009

Thanks, Colleen. To answer your question, yes....and no. No recurrence within 2 years is considered a really good sign, as far as long-term survival. But I don't think I can start counting yet because I am on consolidation therapy (AKA maintenance chemo), and it's almost unheard of to recur while you are on maintenance. I'm hoping, though.

Carlene

leesag's picture
leesag
Posts: 625
Joined: Jan 2010

Carlene,

Statistics can be manipulated to mean whatever you want them to mean. I say that you count this upcoming year on maintenance, cancer free, as proof that you are, and will continue to be, a survivor! Celebrate honey!

Hugs!

Leesa

nancy591's picture
nancy591
Posts: 1059
Joined: Sep 2009

My anniversary was Sept. 15th, 08 Looks like we are almost 1 year apart!

msfanciful
Posts: 580
Joined: Nov 2009

Amen and Happy Anniversary to you Carlene.

Sharon

kayandok
Posts: 1223
Joined: Jun 2008

Carlene, I remember very well your first post. I was impressed with your strength, even though you weren't feeingl so strong at the time.
Your wit, drive and passion for life inspire me!
kathleen❥

South Jersey
Posts: 89
Joined: Apr 2010

Carlene, so glad you are dancing with NED on your one year anniversary.
I celebrated my one year anniversary on July 27, 2010... I went out with the closest women in my life that helped me get through the toughest year of my life. When we went into the restaurant and the waiter said, "What are we celebrating ladies?" My sister quickly replied by saying, "We are celebrating life." We shed a few tears as I thanked them for their support and gave them teal bracelets, but the rest of the night was filled with a lot of laughter. We need to look at these anniversaries as a gift from above. Although my diagnosis of PPC, stage 3C was horrible, I will be forever grateful to my OBGYN that found it during a routine, elective surgery.
Praying for many years of good health to the ladies on this board that truly understand the emotions of this disease.

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

Celebrate every milestone! You are so knowledgeable about your cancer that I assumed you were deeper into this journey than a year. I'm with Nancy, a year ahead of you. And I know that a year from now, you will be like Nancy and me, symptom-free, but YOU will still be in remission! But even 'symptom-free' is a good place to be!

vj1's picture
vj1
Posts: 151
Joined: Jun 2010

So glad to hear the good news! I too had my one year celebration in May of this year. Have to keep strong and no gloom and doom in my house! Having this contact with you all sure keeps that in line!

Amanda_75
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2010

Carlene, Congratulations to you. I think you deserve to celebrate. Every day is a day to celebrate. I know we all share the same fears of recurrence, but we still have to move forward. I love your prayer for Mass. God bless you and all the girls who fight this monster every day.

Amanda

confuzzled
Posts: 21
Joined: Sep 2010

May you continue to kick cancer butt!! Many prayers are being sent.

lifewithgertrude's picture
lifewithgertrude
Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2010

woot!
i'm a 3c-er and doesn't it feel damn good to be a part of that "less than 35%??" hehe
Grats!

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