I am now a stage 3 ovarian cancer survivor since April 8, 2011.
At age 50, I had never missed my yearly female exam. I complained to my doctor about a painful knot in my pelvic area and pain down my leg. They sent me to the hospital, where I had both trans-abdominal and trans-vaginal ultrasounds to look at the entire pelvic area.
My gynecologist never told me the results of this test. I should have had a follow-up pelvic CT scan without delay. In fact, this pelvic ultrasound that they performed on May 6, 2010, I showed a pelvic mass 9 cm diameter. I was in so much pain.
My niece convinced me to go back to my doctor. On March 7, 2011, I returned to my doctor. Another ultrasound showed the mass 13.4 cm.
MY STORY: At age 51, I was a divorced, single mother of two adult married sons. I arranged for a short-term six-week leave from work. My plans were to recover at my mother’s house and return to driving, to my apartment, job, church, dog, and generally continue with my lifestyle.
I would have a total hysterectomy. They scheduled me for what would be an expected three-hour surgery. During my 6+ hour surgery, my family was invited into a small room where my doctor told them I would most likely not survive the surgery. I woke up in ICU; my two sons stood over me while my doctor explained that two other surgeons had also operated on me and I had cancer.
The tumor stuck to my colon and had pushed one of my kidneys closed. Over nine inches of my colon was removed, a stent placed into my kidney and a bladder catheter.
Sometime after midnight, I woke up and began trying to make sense of what had happened to me. The nurse allowed my sister to come to talk to me. As I looked at the outline of my sister beside me, I told her, “We have to pray.” I began to pray aloud. As I prayed, I praised God for saving my life, for keeping me alive. I told God that I’d place my feet everywhere he directs me.
In the months to come, I was in and out of the hospital, had chemo and lost my hair. I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of pain that I dealt with daily. One doctor said that I’d probably lose my left kidney, but God healed me and now both of my kidneys function normally. I experience ongoing chemo brain fog and it has caused a significant impact on my quality of life.
I never worked again and was placed on disability. I ended up having six more surgeries. I was able to move into an apartment in March 2012. I have been in remission since June 2014. I still have an IV chest port and I go to the cancer center every six weeks. I also have yearly hospital scans with a CBC blood test. I have eight years survival and I now have two granddaughters.
Submitted May 7, 2019
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.
Congratulations on making it this far, keep up the good fight. I was diagnosed in November 2018, hoping after these last 3 rounds of chemo I can say I’m a survivor as well. Thankfully my surgery was less invasive than yours. Sending you positive energy and prayers to continue on the beating cancer path.
Thank you Gayle! Praying for your complete recovery!
I just want to say congratulations on your recovery. I hope you keep going from strength to strength. God bless.
Thank you so much!
Thank you for your testimony of trials, errors, strength faith and hope! I’m sure you have and will touch many other’s lives. I am so happy for you to still be in remission and living life with love and the Lord!
Thank you so much. More people are surviving after cancer. It’s a hard battle and worth the fight.