Being There: Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
Last updated: September 2022
I am in my fifth decade in Nursing Practice, with thirty-nine years of being both licensed and board certified as an Advanced Practice Nurse. I didn't get here effortlessly, as it requires consistent updates in practice and recertification with knowledge related to the health and well-being of adults.
As a result, I live this life in total awe of people, their many challenges, and the spirit in which they face them. For some, it is always the choice to fight for what they think is right, while others rev their engines; and prepare to flee.
I question some of the best healthcare systems asking how they live up to their claims of quality and excellence. Both of these concepts need the support of data. Now more efficiently than ever, healthcare members can carefully document every observation and action and follow it with results indicating an improvement or worsening of the patient's condition.
In my practice, when not convinced we used all measures to assist in patient care, I turn every stone to find the answers to my patient's medical, spiritual and psychological challenges. Until now, I have been healthy and blessed with opportunities to find credible data supporting this approach.
This time I am the patient, totally dependent upon the value the practitioners choose to bring to heal me. I know I need to give them the information I have to do their work and then step back and be the receiver of outstanding care.
An "aha" moment
I fully acknowledge I can be an annoyance to caregivers accepting the path of least resistance or those ultimately opting out when answers are not self-evident. So I warn you all that this doesn't start pretty.
This week I reconfirmed the importance of the patient's perspective. What prompted me? I acknowledged that in reaching the 9th chemotherapy day, where I received Carbo, Taxol, and Avastin, my body is rejecting all efforts to return to normalcy. Energy is minimal, and explosive GI symptoms still follow any effort to hydrate.
I met with the nurses who were willing to problem-solve only to hear that it was likely my body may have reached its end.
The teacher within me takes over
I am ready to celebrate many of my teal sisters' expectations for healthy and productive years ahead. I still hope the same for me.
- We now have treatment available like never before.
- Trust that research is ongoing.
- Become the squeaky wheel. Be an active member of your Treatment Team.
- Be accountable and responsible in spreading the word about ovarian cancer.
- Consider your local Health Department and ask to speak with a Nurse in Charge.
- Alert the public that 1 in 78 women may experience symptoms of ovarian cancer.
- Ask your local newspaper to print an article with symptoms that often are left undetected.
In truth, I may be at that crossroads again, where I take a step back and utilize all I have learned as a member of the Social Health Network. I plan to love myself and those around me. I hope for days of strength and joy.
From the American Poet, Mary Oliver, I plan to be prepared...
A goodbye is an opportunity for kindness, for forgiveness, for intimacy, and ultimately for love and a deepening acceptance of life as it is rather than what it was.
Which word, if any, best describes your reaction to being diagnosed with ovarian cancer?
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