I am that one in 75

Becky Blog

September 7, 2017

My name is Becky and I’m 40 years old. I am that one in 75 women who will be diagnosed this year with ovarian cancer. I am a survivor. 

I started noticing in October of 2016 that I was having GI symptoms. I was having an upset stomach after a big meal and an increased in acid reflux. I thought my gallbladder was acting up and needed to be removed. I am very active and recently lost a lot of weight through diet and exercise. I thought that I was unable to tolerate certain foods due to a change in my eating habits. Starting in November, I was having minimal amount of vaginal spotting that would come and go. I also ran a half marathon in Disney World and had a lot of GI upset that week resulting in eating very little. I made an appointment with my OB/GYN for an evaluation. At the office, we talked about my symptoms and it was the thought that I messed up my cycle because of the weight loss. My doctor recommended putting me on birth control to control the bleeding. During an internal exam, she recommended a pelvic ultrasound just to make sure it wasn’t anything else. On December 30th, 2016, I had a pelvic ultrasound and afterwards, the doctor escorted me into her office to review the results. My OB/GYN doctor told me that I had a large cyst that needed to be removed with surgery. I was in complete shock. She assured me that it looked like a mucous cyst and was most likely benign. I was told I was “too young” for cancer and not to worry. She scheduled an MRI to look at the cyst more clearly and drew a CA125. My CA125 came back at 70. On December 5, 2017, I had a MRI. I received a phone call two hours after my MRI stating that the results were concerning and that they scheduled an appointment with a GYN oncologist the following day.  The following day, I met with the Gyn Oncologist.  After an exam and going over the MRI, the Dr.  stated that she wasn’t sure if the large mass was cancerous or not. Regardless, it would need to be removed. We went over every option in the case that mass was malignant. On January 30th, I underwent surgery not knowing if I had cancer or not. When I awoke from anesthesia, I turned to my mom to ask if I had cancer. But in my heart, I already knew the answer. I was diagnosed with stage 1c endometriod adenocarcinoma of the right ovary. The surgical team removed the mass, both ovaries, omentum, appendix and lymph nodes. The Dr. also performed a D&C on my uterus. The cancer was contained in my right ovary, but it crumbled during surgery. I was informed by the team that I would need to receive 6 rounds of chemo because of that. As I recovered from surgery, I prepared to start chemo. I had a port placed on March 3rd and started my first round of carboplatin and taxol on March 5th. Because of the taxol, I started losing my hair and was on disability from work due to my position as a nurse and a high risk of infection. Even with so much stress and loss, I never felt stronger. I was determined to beat cancer and get back to my new normal. On June 28th, I finished my last round of chemo and rang the victory bell. It was such an emotional day to realize how far I have come from first being diagnosed. While I recover from surgery and head back to work, I am starting a new fight. That fight is to increase awareness in this disease. Cancer does not discriminate. Ovarian cancer affects all ages and races. I learned so much from this journey and have met so many incredible people. Most importantly, I learned that I am truly a survivor.