In August of 2011, an old friend of ours emailed me saying she had been keeping up with Mary’s cancer and thanked me for documenting her journey. I was smiling while reading the email and grateful to hear from her, always encouraged when Mary’s story touches someone’s life.
But what I read next was unexpected.
She told me Mary’s symptoms reminded her a lot of her own momma’s symptoms. So she brought this to her attention and took her momma to the doctor. And they found out she had ovarian cancer.
She went through a different variation chemo than Mary’s but has the same oncologist. We have kept in touch and we have rejoiced together when both Mary and our old friend’s momma were declared cancer free.
But a week ago, I got another email saying her momma’s cancer is back.
She will be undergoing some different treatment and they caught it quickly. Which is why they check your blood levels every 3 months, huh?
But, oh my heart aches for them.
Her momma told our friend she was very encouraged by reading Mary’s story and that she said she admires my sister. :)
Well, in this neck of the woods, we admire anyone who fights cancer. So that includes you, momma of our old friend.
Ovarian cancer is one of the most misdiagnosed cancers. Most women are told they have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or even Crone’s Disease- which is exactly what my sister was told. Twice. I’m not gonna sit here and point fingers. That’s not my style and frankly I think that’s a waste of time. But I wish we could raise more awareness on ovarian cancer and educate women to trust their guts, annoy the bejesus out of their doctors, and get a accurate diagnosis. Stage 3 is the most common stage they diagnose ovarian cancer. Just one stage under 4. That’s only 1 stage under terminal. That’s only 1 stage under “this has metastasized and you can not be cured of this.” Can you imagine the change if women got diagnosed in stage 1 or 2?
The problem is, symptoms start off very subtle and can be commonly mistaken for cramps and bloating.
When it persists and something just doesn’t feel right, don’t brush it off. Don’t deny it. It’s better to be wrong than dead.