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Vanessa’s Story (Ovarian Cancer)

Vanessa's Story (Ovarian Cancer)It was three o’ clock Thanksgiving morning in 2013 when I woke up from excruciating abdominal pain. I literally had to fall to the floor and crawl my way to my roommate’s bedroom next to mine because the pain was so sharp I could not even stand. I had no idea what to do and neither did she. The pain was so fierce that walking was a no go. For the first time I had to ride in an ambulance to the emergency room. This was very unusual for me as I was a generally healthy person. I was hardly ever sick or ever even complained about pain before.

So I get to the ER and everyone seemed to believe my appendix was acting up. So I agree, doing the necessary tests to make sure that that was causing my symptoms. The doctor came in and tells me that unfortunately it is not due to my appendix but that a CT scan shows a good amount of fluid in my uterus. An ultrasound was ordered but they still could not find the cause of my pain which resulted in an overnight stay and admittance to the hospital.

The next day the other OB/GYN from my doctor’s practice comes in and tells me I could just take some antibiotics and see if the fluid subsides or he could do an exploratory surgery and see what the problem is. At this point I was still in pain and extremely bloated. It looked like I was five months pregnant! So I decide to go ahead with the surgery and within the next 10-15 minutes I was whisked away and under anesthesia.

I woke up and all I could remember is the doctor telling me that if I had not chosen surgery I would be dead! It turned out my left ovary had a tumor 5 cm in size and it somehow twisted my tube and caused a tear, which caused internal bleeding, hence all the fluid in my abdominal area. I was in complete shock but so blessed even though surgery was not the thing I really wanted to happen.

A month later, two days after Christmas I got a knock on the door, and it was my aunt (who is my PCP). She came in and tells me and my mother to sit down and breaks the news to me. It was cancer. It took a month because she had the tumor examined twice to make sure that it was what it was. My mom burst into tears as did I. At 22 that is not what I wanted to hear. Nonetheless I am happy I had the pain and discovered it. After staging and biopsy surgery it was determined I was in stage 3, also heartbreaking news. In addition, it is a rare kind of aggressive cancer that I have, Ovarian Angiosarcoma.

Today I am fighting and will continue! I am a lover, a fighter, a survivor, and most of all, a mother! I could not do this without my motivation, my beautiful three year old (almost four) son JJ, and of course the love, support, and prayers from my friends, family, and community! I just finished my sixth cycle of chemotherapy and hoping/praying for a clean CT scan soon!

New Mexico
Submitted 07/03/2014

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.

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