My husband Jack and I met and married when we were nearing our 50’s. I was thrilled to have such a great husband.
About 2 years later, Jack called me from his gym and said he was having some pain in his left abdominal area and was going to the emergency room. I sped over to the hospital only to find out that he was having a CT scan.
The results were not good: they saw a mass in his colon. I spent 10 days with him in the hospital while he was having surgery for colon cancer. I was beside myselfî except for when I was around him and tried to keep a really positive attitude. The surgery was successful and the doctor thought he would have an excellent prognosis.
I then began the process of getting him organized for his chemotherapy.
At about this same time, I started to notice that I had some pain in the same pelvic area that he had. I thought: this must be some sort of hysterical reaction. I ignored it for a couple of months until Jack was well on his way in the chemo program and seemed to be doing very well.
One day I was at the gym doing my usual step class. All of a sudden, I could not get my breath. I had been working out for over 10 years so this was very unusual. I couldn’t finish the class. I got off the step, put the step away and the instructor came running out to see what the matter was. I told her that I just could not get the wind to finish that class.
When I got back to my office, I called my doctor. A CT scan was scheduled for a couple of weeks later. I noticed that my pants were getting a little tight around the middle and I was starting to have a back ache. During the CT scan, I could see the radiologistís reflection in the glass. By the look on his face, I knew I was in trouble. Also, the nurses wished me luck in a way that seemed a little more than the usual good wishes.
I met with my surgeon who told me I had ovarian cancer. My CA 125 was almost 3000! I went in for out-patient procedure and had four liters of water drained from my left lung. I immediately felt better!
I had my surgery about 2 weeks later. It turned out to be Stage 3. I remember lying in my hospital bed the first night after my surgery. I was feeling really sorry for myself and wondering how I was going to manage everything: husband on chemo, full time job and OVCA. At that moment, I decided that that was enough self pity and if I were to survive, the only answer was get going! I wanted to make sure that at least Jack could survive cancer (he was a widower) and I was going to make it my business to see that that happened.
I did a clinical trial at the hospital which included: taxol, carboplatin, cisplatin, gemzar, adriamycin, and topetecan. I was slightly taken aback when the chemo nurse was putting on her heavy duty gloves to administer some of these drugs. I was pretty tired by the end of the treatment which lasted about 5 months. At the end of the treatment, I was going to the hospital every day. I managed to walk a couple of miles a day during the chemo and I think that really helped me from a physical and psychological perspective. I did manage to work full time and help my husband who at that point was done with his chemo and radiation and was doing very well.
That was 10 years ago and by the grace of God, great surgeons, great care and plain old ordinary good luck Jack and are fine. I am running about 6 miles per day. I think the main reason I survived was that I was focused on Jack and not myself.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not grateful. AND! Since my chemo, I have never had a bad hair day.
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