September was the month I was diagnosed with cancer. I had awakened with terrible abdominal pain in my stomach and took myself into emergency. As soon as I arrived I was admitted. They ran many tests and came in to tell me that I had a large abdominal mass and it needed to be removed as soon as possible. The next day I was scheduled for surgery. After 9 1/2 hours, they came out to tell my mom that they had removed a 7 1/2 pound tumor that had spread to both ovaries and to the large intestine. My mom told me that they told her to go home and start making funeral arrangements – that I would be gone within 3 months. When I awoke, my family was all around my bedside and a docter was there to give me the news. At that point I couldn’t say anything and, when my family went home, I cried hard. The doctors told me that we could try chemo – it would have to be very aggressive – and it could cure me or it could kill me. My thoughts were ‘what do I have to lose?’
I took a very aggressive 6 months of chemo. My hair, my eyebrows and even my toe nails and fingernails fell out – but I made it through all of that. I got involved with others who had cancer and also became a volunteer at the hospital to give hope to others. When I felt sorry for myself I took a trip to the cancer ward at Children’s hospital and when I saw all of the kids that had cancer I stopped feeling sorry for myself. It was a long hard battle but now I’m happy to say that I made it. I was given three months to live September 9, 1989 and I just celebrated my 21 year remmision. I’m doing fine now cancer-free and loving life. Cancer taught me a number of things. I learned that cancer knows no age, color, or race – in some way or another it affects us all. I’m thankful and ready to live my life to the fullest. Cancer introduced me to who I am – and I like who I met.
This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.