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Respect Your Choices (And Others)

Last updated: March 2023

I was once told it was time to put cancer behind me and move on...

I am not sure about you, but I really did not enjoy being told what I am supposed to be doing with MY life after MY diagnosis. I surely did not enjoy being told how I was supposed to feel and when it was appropriate to move on. Many of us have chosen to use our voices to share our stories of diagnosis, our survivorship, and our hurdles because we can.

What can we choose?

We can choose to keep talking about it.

We can choose to not talk about it.

We can choose to write a book.

We can choose to do an interview.

We can choose to create a podcast.

We can choose to pretend it never happened.

We can choose what is best for us.

We can also respect what is best for each other

I would love for every woman ever diagnosed with ovarian cancer to get up on her soap box and shout her symptoms for everyone to hear. We need to be diagnosing this in earlier stages than we are. We still have women thinking their annual pap is testing for ovarian cancer when it is not. The only way for this madness to stop is to grow awareness and knowledge around ovarian cancer. Anyone with ovaries can get ovarian cancer.

It is OK not to be someone that shares every chance you get; we respect that. But we ask that you respect our choices to share our stories and raise awareness. We respect you and how you are healing. And that is OK! We are not all built from the same cloth, and we do not all desire to put our lives out there, but some of us do.

Why is sharing my story so important to me?

I should have been diagnosed years before I was. Like so many others, I should have had the opportunity to become pregnant and carry full-term. I should have been able to have a family of my own if I wanted to.

I was misdiagnosed with IBS 15+ years ago. Then I had a dermoid cyst that sat and did nothing for years while 3 different gynecologists monitored it for changes.

It took a miscarriage, some soul searching, and bravery to finally go to a fertility specialist. He is who removed my dermoid and got to tell me I had ovarian cancer. Within a few weeks, that became Stage 3 because that tiny little tumor hiding away behind that dermoid cyst had been there for quite some time. It had been leaking and letting the cancer spread throughout my stomach lining.

Had I known that IBS was typically a misdiagnosis or that dermoid cysts tend to hide other things happening in our bodies, I may have had the opportunity to ask for more tests. I could have requested more thorough examinations and asked more questions.

I had no idea what ovarian cancer was. This is just part of why I share my story. If it helps one person question the care they are getting to make sure they get the thorough care they deserve, then it was worth it.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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