Wasn't Sure I Would See The Day
In the spring of 2015, I remember clearly sitting with my gynecological oncologist in her office and her sharing that my ovarian cancer had come back. I had been disease-free for almost two years, my hair had grown back, and except for my 3 month visits and CA-125 blood tests, I had just about pushed my cancer journey behind me. Now it was time to start all over again.
An uncertain future
I just sat there with tears in my eyes and I remember saying this can't be true. Everyone told me I was caught early stage, I had the BRCA gene and that meant that the cancer was behind me. As the tears continued to roll down my cheeks I remember asking does this mean I won't be able to see my children graduate, attend their weddings, and never meet any potential grandchildren? In my doctor's very positive upbeat manner, she said we are going to fight this!
Facing cancer as a family
That second recurrence was a little tougher on me as things had changed at home, chemo for me lasted for over 16 months, my husband was diagnosed 24 hours apart from me with rectal cancer, we both needed surgery. (He ended up having two and had to go through radiation and chemo, and was discharged from his oncologist last December!!!) I had to give up my career, so finances and healthcare were a huge dilemma for us. Our daughter was college shopping and was a senior in high school it was just something for the storybooks.
That year was definitely a blur, but I felt so blessed that I was able to spend so much extra time with my daughter before she left for school. The exciting part was that both my husband and I were healthy and attended our daughter's high school graduation!
And that was not the only significant event, two years later we both attended our son's college graduation.
My second recurrence and celebrating milestones
Then in summer 2017, I was diagnosed with a second recurrence. It started off with another major surgery and for whatever reason, I was not as scared this time, I was ready to roll my sleeves up and deal with this disease once again head-on. I was put on Lynparza and am happy to say at this point I still have no evidence of disease!
But for me, that's not the most exciting part. I was able to experience my daughter's (non-existent 2020) college graduation, and last week our whole family was able to attend our son's second degree being pinned as a nurse, and then three days later we received a phone call from our son and his "girlfriend" that they were engaged.
A multitude of happy tears
Right after that call, I texted my gyn onc and said THANK YOU!! So while this journey has been emotional, scary, sometimes physically painful I can share that I plan on experiencing many more family milestones. (And who knows maybe we will even have some grandchildren in a few years.)
Since my initial diagnosis in 2013, I shed many very sad tears but this past week all I have done is shed a multitude of happy tears. I don't have a crystal ball, and I know my medical team does not either but I am going to do whatever I need to do to not let ovarian cancer win and plan on many more milestones to share with my family!
What stage were you diagnosed with?