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Dear Teal Walk folks and especially Louisa,
I want to compliment you on the extremely well run walk on Sat. I live in the Catskills but made a point to come down to Brooklyn for the walk. (I was diagnosed about 5 1/2 years. And while my journey goes up and down, I am still hanging in there.) I am so touched, impressed and moved by Louisa and all who made this event happen. It was a privilege to do my little part of putting one foot in front of the other.
All the best to all of you and a debt of gratitude,
My story is to let all women know of the importance of getting your yearly exam at the gynecologist and following up on abnormal tests.
Back in January of 2002 I went for my normal papsmear and week later I received a phone call that I had abnormal cells and it looked like dysplasia. This was the first time I ever had a bad pap smear so of course I went into hysteria and called all of my female support and everyone told me dont worry everyone gets a bad pap smear. So I went to the doctor for the follow up visit and they did a coposcopy and found a spot and sampled it. A week later it came back as nothing. I was told to follow up in 6 months. Around 6 months later I went in for a routine visit for a yeast infection not worried about the last scare since it was "nothing" anyway and a week later they called and said that I had a bad pap smear but this time it was something different. This time I went in to have a scraping and again was reassured that it was nothing and that I never had a bad pap smear but they just wanted to make sure. Well a week later just before Thanksgiving I was told that I have "Carcinoma Insitu" and that it was non invasive yet but it was aggressively moving up my uterus. Since this was all done with my Gynecologist I decided to get a second opinion with an Oncologist and opted for a partial hysterectomy because there was no guarantee that it would not spread if they did a coning.
I was very lucky that I only needed to receive a partial and I kept my ovaries but and it is a big BUT if I didn't go to the doctor and follow up when I did months would have changed my life. My message to all women is that "GO for your YEARLY exam and don't skip plus follow up and research your diagnosis even if they say its nothing!!! I am hoping to be there for the walk on September 12th with some of my friends and if I cant be there I will help in other way.
I was diagnosed in May of 2006 with Ovarian Cancer. This was a very big surprise to me because no one in my family ever had cancer. I was the only one, so we were all taken aback. It started out with a pain on my left side. In May of 2005 I had told my GYN Doctor that I had stopped getting my period. She said it could be from me being pre-menopausal. She made me go through a series of test's...CA125, thyroid, menopause and they came back negative. So she said don't worry, I will continue to monitor you every 6 months. In three months I called her again to say I still had not gotten my period. She told me to come in again and she did the CA125 again and still negative. Now in 6 months she mentioned to me that I should wait a couple of months because it could be my nerves from stress at work. So, now I waited until it was 9 months and I called again. This time I went back to her office and she still could not find anything. A year to the day I could not take the pain I had on my left side and went to a health clinic that sent me to the emergency room. At that point in time was when they found that I had ovarian cancer and a tumor on my aorta. They did not know what to do. I was in the hospital for a week and all that they were doing for me was giving me pain killers because they felt that they did not have the proper expertise in that hospital to help me.
The Dr's there started asking me for my primary doctor's name, my GYN doctor's name and any other doctor that I had been in contact with. After my husband and I were able to provide them with these doctors was when they came up with Dr Chuang. Dr Chuang was recommended to me by my GYN doctor. The doctor in the hospital recommended that we go see Doctor Dr Chuang and that I be moved from Horton Hospital to Mt. Sinai. At Mt. Sinai, Dr Chuang explained to me what needed to be done. He was not able to perform surgery until he had a specialist that would be able to help with the tumor I had on my aorta. I waited a week for the two doctors to be able to perform both surgeries. Due to both doctors expertise the surgery was a success.
While I was in the hospital Valerie and Arden came to visit me and told me about Woman to Woman. When I came home and Pamela called me and introduced herself as one of the volunteers and that was a survivor. That's when I started to get all of my questions answered. Pamela helped provide me with the comfort that I needed to realize that I can over come this.
Two weeks after I had surgery I started my chemo treatments. I decided to get my treatments on an out patient basis that was closer to home. My treatments were intense. I had to go for a week of chemo from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm every day for a week and then off for two weeks. I had to do 4 treatments so this really took a toll on me. These treatments were the worst thing that I ever had to go through. Every day I was poked with a new IV. By the end of my fourth treatments my arms were shot. On the last day of my chemo the nurse poked me four times before she realized that she just could not get into my veins any more. So she had to use a butterfly needle and get the chemo into me via my hand. This treatment took forever. Needless to say I was going to do whatever it took to make sure that I got this last treatment. Till this day my veins have not been the same. I have a hard time giving blood. Every time I give blood is like I am being but back in that chair when I was getting chemo again.
I have to thank my husband, son, sister, and family for all of their support. They were my rock to help me get through this. They all alternated to get me to my treatments and back home. I could not have gone on this journey without their help and support. I love them all dearly!
While I was going through my chemo treatment I was able to speak with Arden and expressed the need to want to help others as Valerie, Pamela and Arden did with me. It was comforting to have these three amazing women helping me through my process. I want to thank them for there support! Just like so may other people. The first thing I did was go on the internet. This provided me with a lot of information that was very disturbing. So having them guide me was a blessing.
In 2007 I join these women and now I am also a volunteer and I look forward to helping other woman that needs our support. I’ve met so many wonderful families and patients that have helped me as while as I have helped them. It’s any experience that I am happy to be part of and look forward too.
On September 26, 2008 I was diagnosed again with Ovarian Cancer. I had surgery again and was hospitalized for about 3 to 4 days. I did not have any chemo treatments but I did have to take a pill called Arimidex. It had side affects as well and after taking it for 6 months my Doctor has taken me off it.
I would like to say that my cancer came back in late 2011. My doctors decided to wait to see if they can stop it by giving me chemo. I had chemo from Jan. to April of 2012. I was giving another CT Scan in Jan. and they saw it was still growing and realized that it had to come out. So, in June of 2012 I had surgery. As of today I am all clear and have been told by my Dr. that I am in remission. I think this is a good thing to say. I am was very happy to hear those words.
Highland Mills, NY
My name is Rosanna L. and I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in December 2008 at just 25 years old. I was only married 4 months when something in my head told me to go buy a pregnancy test. I had not missed a period or had any symptoms of pregnancy but I found myself at a drug store buying a pregnancy test. (I now know God was on my side that day) To my surprise when I took the test it came out positive. I was soo excited because there was nothing more in the world than I wanted than to become a mother. I immediately called my GYN and made an appointment.
Going into his office I was both nervous and excited. They took another test there..........positive again!! The doctor drew blood just to make sure I really was pregnant because I was not having any symptoms. Three days later I went for another blood test and then the following day for the results. Was I really pregnant?? To my shock the doctor said my HCG levels were elevated but they had dropped so he assumed it was a miscarriage. He told me to come back in three days for another blood test. I was devastated!!!! How can I miscarry?? Well, the next day I started feeling slight pain on my left side. Going back to the doctor he immediately sent me for an emergency ultrasound. Well that was the start of it all!
The ultrasound showed 2 tumors on both of my ovaries and 1 on my uterus. I was then sent for a CATScan to confirm these findings. Going into my doctor's office and hearing the words "We think it may be Ovarian Cancer" was something i never thought I would hear. My life literally flashed before my eyes.
After seeing 2 different doctors I decided to go to Memorial Sloan Kettering in Manhattan. There the surgeon told me it looked like Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer and I would need surgery to remove the tumors. So on December 4th 2008 with my husband and parents at my side I went in for surgery. That is the day I became infertile. The surgeon had to remove both ovaries but luckily he saved my uterus.
He told me I would need chemo just as a precaution because it was Stage 3. I began chemo on January 12th, 2009. My long beautiful hair began to fall out! I was determined to finish chemo and become a survivor!!
My last round of chemo was on March 27th, 2009 and on April 20th, 2009 I was told I was in remission!!!!!!
"I am a 41 year old teacher and I was just about to go to visit my husband's parents in Las Vegas for Spring Break. My stomach was bothering me and I didn't want to travel with a stomach virus, so I made an appointment to see my doctor. She told me not to worry, that I had gas pains which can be very uncomfortable, but not serious. A few days later the pain got worse, I went to the emergency room. They told me I was constipated and sent me home. The pain was so bad that I went back to the hospital a second time. They gave me an enema and sent me home again. Telling me to follow up with my doctor. My doctor sent me to a gastroenterologist to have a colonoscopy. He said my symptoms were completely normal, and he gave me the prep for a colonoscopy to fix the "problem". Half way through drinking the prep, I began to throw up and was told to go back to the emergency room. They did a cat scan and finally found out that it was not gas or constipation, but stage 4 ovarian cancer! I have since had 2 surgeries and a 5 month course of chemotherapy. I am currently showing no evidence of disease and hope to spend this time educating others about this disease."