At the age of 23, I was diagnosed with Ovarian Germ Cell Cancer. I am the youngest of a family of three girls, and I have always been the spoiled child my sisters envied. I do not have any children or pay any rent because I still live at home with my family, and my paychecks every week went towards shopping and going out with friends. After seeing the doctor several times for abdominal pain, he informed me that I had a very large mass on my ovary which had to be removed. I spent three long days in the hospital after having a laparotomy to remove the mass. When the doctor finished with my surgery, he informed my parents that he was able to safely remove just the tumor that was attached to my ovary, and the pathologist advised him it was non-cancerous. I recovered fairly quickly since I was in relatively good health prior to the operation. At my follow-up appointment, tears shed from my eyes when the pathology report now showed an Endodermal Sinus Tumor, also known as a Yolk Sac Tumor.
I was sent to see an oncologist the same week for treatment options. I wasn’t sure what to think when he told me he was cautiously optimistic about my prognosis. Did he think I was going to die? Is he going to be extra careful so I live? At this point I knew I had to give him every bit of faith, hope, and courage I had. Only a month after my laparotomy, I spent another two days in the hospital after a Robot Assisted Laparoscopic operation to remove the ovary, fallopian tube, and lymph nodes. I thought since I was already put through hell that I was going to be left alone to recover and get my life back. Boy, was I wrong.
Based on the aggressiveness of the cancer, they wanted to start chemotherapy right away. I was scheduled to spend one week in the hospital every three weeks as well as once a week during off weeks for treatments. My regimen was BEP; it stands for Bleomycin, Etoposide, and Cisplatin. I spent more time in the hospital sick than I did for my actual treatments. I lost every strand of hair from my head down to my toes. I just knew at this point my life was over, and this was what dying felt like. I lost just about all hope I had left.
It was then that I realized that I had to do something. I wasn’t ready to leave my family, nor was I ready to leave this life without a fight. So I did. I fought every day that I laid in the hospital bed and every day in between that when I laid in my bed sick. I have been finished with treatments now for about six months. My hair is growing back. I don’t wake up sick every day, and I am able to walk a mile. I like to refer to it as living my “New Life.” It has been one year since I was diagnosed, and a PET scan shows I currently have no evidence of this disease. If it wasn’t for the support of family and regaining the hope I lost, I wouldn’t be alive and in remission today. Cancer does not discriminate with age or race. It can happen to anyone!
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.