March 2014, I had just returned to my home after a wonderful trip to NYC with my oldest daughter. We did lots of tourist things and walking, and I noticed that I was really tired out from all the walking. Now, I was 63 at the time, but in pretty good shape. I had also been feeling bloated after eating for some months before. No pain, just bloated and tired out, and some indigestion was showing up.
So, I went to see my doctor, who in turn, sent me to see another doctor about the indigestion and also a gyno. Long story short, they didn’t find any ulcers in the examination, and apparently the gyno did see something on my ovaries. I was off to see a gyno surgeon, who did a CT scan. The news came right after. My daughter came with me to my appointment, and we were both blown away by the results. Stage 4 ovarian cancer. How could this be??
They scheduled me right away for a full hysterectomy, and while they were in there, they took out my omentum, both ovaries, uterus, etc. All gone. They even scraped my diaphragm for cells. I was to get six chemo treatments once I healed from surgery, but that wouldn’t happen, as I didn’t heal. I got so ill and became septic. I went into septic shock and almost died twice. My family was told to plan my funeral. I was in a coma for two weeks and had no idea what my family was having to deal with. It was horrible.
I did not know much of what had happened to me, but I was paralyzed from neck to toes and had a trac inserted. My incision had split open, and because my body was so septic and swollen, they couldn’t put me together. I have a huge abdominal hernia now. I had to learn how to breathe on my own, swallow, eat, move, sit up, stand up, walk, etc. I do have ongoing nerve damage from sepsis, which makes life a challenge at times. It was a long three month stay in hospital. If it wasn’t for my amazing husband, my daughters, my sisters, friends, and physicians supporting and helping me stay positive, I really don’t think I could have done it. In fact, at that time, I didn’t even want to think about cancer. I just wanted my life back.
Because I wasn’t able to have chemo right after my first surgery, we found the cancer showed up again in 2015. A year after all that. It had moved to the lining of my liver and also had seedlings in my abdomen. Ugh! So, chemo it was. I went through six severe five and a half hour chemo sessions, which caused extreme illness, made me tired beyond words, and caused me to lose all my hair. I finished in December 2015. My CA125 level was down to 38. Yeah! We all celebrated New Year’s with a big thank you for my life.
Well, recently my level has risen again to 502. Oh boy. Now I am facing weekly chemo, but this chemo is easier on me. No vomiting this time, and I am hoping to hang on to the short hair that grew back. My hair used to be straight. Now I am sprouting curls. My oncologist in my home area was kind enough to have my treatment changed to a hospital near to my cottage, so I can get my treatments done there. I love our cottage on the lake, and my husband and doggies are so happy there too. It’s the best place for me to recover.
We did ask some difficult questions of the doctors this time. Am I just going through the motions with this treatment? Am I going to get through this? She told us that because I am a healthy 65-year-old with a positive attitude and seem to accept chemo well, I could live with this a long time. Apparently many people do, with chemo on occasion. Perhaps like a chronic condition. Hmmmmm.
Well, I made it this far, so why not continue? Can’t say I don’t get discouraged, tired out, and have bad days, but there are also good days, and most times I am up for the challenge. I think it’s so important to congregate a support system in order to call on them whenever needed. This group is also a lifeline for me. Nothing like hearing from those who KNOW!!
Here’s to fighting the good fight, and I send positive thoughts and love to my fellow cancer survivors! You are amazing!!
P.S. I am constantly telling women to pay attention to that bloated feeling and indigestion. Ovarian cancer certainly knows how to hide. We need to be more aware and proactive!
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.
Hello fellow Canadian!!♡♥♡♥♡♥♡
Wow, boy can you write well and to the heart! First I want to let you know that I have you in my prayers, then I want to let you know how I think that you should keep writing to others in this fine group of friends and strong fighters because we all need ☆★HEROES like you…☆★Your words are fighting words, strong, full of knowledge and wisdom, determined, a reminder that all fighters are in the driver seat, haha!! Your strength is priceless…☆★♡♥
I love your contagious smile and joie de vivre!! Besides being pretty, you write with so much enthusiasm you gotta be a happy person ! I thank as well all your love ones who stood by you..♡
Please Lois remember this one important thing, you may have ovarian cancer but t does NOT have you!!
KEEP FIGHTING LIKE A GIRL! !
Brigitte…..you brought tears to my eyes! I so want to help others who face this stealth cancer. Your encouragement in this regard is appreciated. You seem like a lovely lady….so nice to hear from you. Take care of you too and let’s keep in touch.
With love and hugs
I would be happy to keep in touch with you , Silverbell@live . ca
I also must tell you how I love your sentence to Carol; ” on this part of my journey”. So beautiful… So beautifully said !!
If I may, I have a suggestion on this great book she writes so well and with experience ,foods that heal… It is optimistic and how to eat better it’s really interesting, and well informed:
( https://juliedaniluk.com/ )
Here in this great club of fighters ( I also wrote about my sister on this site I would be so honored if you could write to her seeing that you’re positive vibe is very contagious hahahaha!
♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡Keep fighting like a girl Lois♡♥♡♡♥♡♥
With love from Canada,
Lo, this documented account of your experience will help so many. Indeed as Brigitte has observed, you are a HERO! We your family remember details of your struggle to survive that battle for your life with sepsis, which reside between the lines of your story. How inspired we are by your will and intent to live life and not just survive. Your words of wisdom to us about identifying and keeping first things first in life are powerful reminders that this portion of eternity is too short in the scheme of things to not find meaning and beauty. We, your family are so graced to call you Sister, Mom, Aunt, Wife. You are our champion!
Thank you sis….I love you (and my three other sisters) so very much. We are a fortunate family to have such an amazing support system built in. I call on each of you regularly as I travel this part of the journey.
Lois-I am a 2 year ovarian cancer survivor. Mine was stage 3 when found in March of 2014 at the age of 44. I also went through 6 grueling chemo sessions and a full hysterectomy including anything I didn’t need. After chemo I then underwent surgery for a double mastectomy as I carry the gene and had a very high chance of getting breast cancer. We are all in this fight together… You are in my prayers. Keep your thoughts positive and know you are not alone ? Thanks for sharing your story.
Julie….your story moved me to tears. You have faced so much and still keep up the good fight! What an incredible woman you are. You are so young to have had to go through this ordeal but it appears things are working for you. I wish nothing but improvement and a happy healthy future. Thank you for your support and I send it right back to you. Blessings!
Hi Julie, just came across your reply to this story from a couple of years ago. I was diagnosed Feb 2017 with Stage 3C ovarian cancer age 41. Also carry the BRCA 1 gene. I had a very insensitive breast surgeon tell me that she wouldn’t consider doing a double mastectomy on me for at least 5 years because I may not be around in 5 years…. Just wondering if your happy with your decision to have it done. How was the recovery? Have you had an OC recurrence at all? (I’m hoping not) Hope your doing well and continuing to Fight Like A Girl!!
You are a trooper. Thanks for sharing your story. What an encouragement. I am a cancer survivor & will keep you in my prayers. <3 <3 <3
I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers too Verita! Thank you for your support!
Lois, you will always be my little Sis, but most of all you are an inspiration … to me, as I have watched you travel this journey with inner strength, humour and dignity, and now to so many others as you encourage them through sharing your story! You are living proof that it is true, “with wings, there are no barriers!” My prayer is that you continue to soar above life’s obstacles into a life of peace, joy and freedom. I love you so much, Lo. Keep flying! Sue
Thanks so much my dear sister. You have always been an inspiration to me…..since we were little kids. I know you are facing your own health challenges and doing it with grace and courage. Sister love and support is amazing…..I love you so much. We will keep up the good fight and win.