A Chapter In The Book of Life....My Life

September 16, 2008

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September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and in honor of this month, I want to share a chapter of my life that was affected by this disease.

In addition, I have included some very important facts, risk factors, and signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. At the very least, please go to the bottom of the page and click on the link.

A Chapter In My Life

Unfortunately, Ovarian Cancer was not my first go with cancer, when I was pregnant with my son Nicolas, I was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer....you might want to read THIS post, I will be picking up where I left off.

It was July of 1999, I was 26 years old and life was good. I had a beautiful boy who was a year and half old, I had been given a clean bill of health from my previous cancer and life seemed pretty normal.

Things changed in an instant as I walked in for what I thought was my routine check up and was told immediately that I needed more tests. The doctor felt a mass in my abdominal area.

The next week was like a blur...I had every test known to man kind to see if this was in fact Cancer, the only thing we could conclude from the tests was that it was a tumor and it needed to come out. I was scheduled for surgery within two days and pretty much signed my life away in case something happened to me while I was in the operating room.

My surgery was not scheduled until after lunch, it seemed like forever and nerves were getting the best of me and my family. It was a long day.....

I woke up about 7 hours later to find myself hooked up to a morphine pump and an NG tube....when I opened my eyes, I saw about 10 family members standing around the room with the look of pity in their eyes....I knew the prognosis was not good!

After everyone said there goodbye's....my husband at the time had walked everyone out....my Mom and I were the only two in the room....I looked at her and said..."It's Cancer, isn't it" She put on a brave face, but I could see right through it....it was back and it was a whole different ball game.

We had confirmation that it was Ovarian Cancer, but had to wait 2-3 weeks for the staging. Also, we needed to know if it was a regrowth of the first cancer or a new cancer. The doctor prepared us for the worst case scenario....if it was regrowth of the first cancer, it had probably invaded my lymph nodes and blood stream. We would be looking at a Stage IV cancer and preparing for an uphill battle.

I was eventually sent home from the hospital to recover and await the final pathology report. About 2 weeks after my release we got the phone call to come in and discuss the results.

To our surprise, it was not a recurrence of the original cancer, it was different...still cancer, but not the worst case scenario we were prepared to deal with. It was considered a stage III Ovarian Cancer.

At this point we were ready to start my treatments. We scheduled a surgery to have a port implanted in my chest to make my chemo treatments a little easier.....we also went to see a local girl who specialized in making wigs for cancer patients. I was told that within two weeks of my first treatment, my hair would start to fall out.

The week after my port was implanted, I started my chemotherapy. I was frightened and did not know what to expect. My Mom dropped me off at 10:30am that morning.....I watched the toxins drip into my veins for 6 hours wondering what they were going to do to my body and my spirit. My mom packed me a lunch and had included a special book about Mothers and Daughters....till this day, I cannot read what she wrote in the inside cover without shedding a tear. It was an emotional day...

I got extremely ill within 2 weeks of my treatment and was placed in the hospital.....I had a staph infection...it was during my hospital stay that my hair started to fall out....I woke up lying in a white bed surrounded by my beautiful hair.....it was devastating....a day I will never forget.

I was eventually released from the hospital and sent home. Upon my arrival at home, I was visited daily by home health care nurses....I needed daily treatments, but was to weak and sick to go into the doctors office.

My second treatment was put on hold until I fully recovered......but soon enough it was time for round two. Exactly two weeks after the second treatment....I became very ill again and was placed back in the hospital.....my blood was septic and I had a temp of 105...I honestly thought I was going to die that evening.

The port in my chest was infected, every time they gave me chemo or IV fluids, they pushed the infection further into my body and bloodstream....thankfully the infectious disease doctor on call that evening, knew enough to pull the line from my port immediately. They were concerned about heart valve damage, but by the grace of God, I escaped it.

The very next day, they surgically removed the port and gave me a pic line for future treatments......

It was a very long 9 months.....we were in the heart of the winter season when germ counts are at their highest...I was continually sick because my immune system was so not kicking in to fight off infection.

There were days that I felt I did not have the ability to fight this disease, I was sick and tired all the time. I would find myself at family events and holidays thinking....Is this going to be my last Christmas? Will I ever get to plan another birthday party for my son?

As the days passed, I kept wondering what the man upstairs had in store for me....was this going to be a happy ending? or was this going to being the final chapter in my life?

Time went on....I started to feel a little stonger and the glimmer of hope came back....I can do this, I can fight this.....I am not ready to give up.

Although I was determined to win this battle, I had a lot of unresolved issues and questions running through my head......I resented God for putting me through this....why me?....I asked myself this question daily.....I needed to understand.

Today I understand......I was given my given official remission in May of 2000..It has been 8 years and I am still here.....just when I thought my life was going to end....it began.....I was given a second chance and life is better than ever....I am a survivor....and I have a story to tell!

If I can educate just one person about this disease, then I know I have done my job. Please take the time to read and share the info below.....it can happen to anyone at any age....



Ovarian Cancer is one of the most deadly of women’s cancers. Each year, approximately 21,500 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In 2008, approximately 15,500 women will die in the United States from ovarian cancer. Many women don’t seek help until the disease has begun to spread, but if detected at its earliest stage, the five-year survival rate is more than 93%.

Please click HERE to learn about Ovarian Cancer, it's risk factors, and signs and symptoms.

50 comments:

Michaela said...

Yes, you are a survior! Your story is one of strength and courage! Thank you for making us aware to "Feel the Teal"!
Best wishes,
Michaela

Kate said...

I stand behind you and beside you my new friend. I am glad, so glad you are hear to share your story....may it help even one...

Kate

Jboo said...

Like Kate, I'm so happy that you are able to share your story. You are one strong woman with an amazing family! Take care.

Jan

Sandy Toes said...

You are a survivor and can cheer those on that are faced head on with cancer! I am sure you appreciate and look at the gift of "life" different than most of us! Thank you for sharing!
-Sandy toes

3D said...

Your story of courage, fighting and winning is inspiring me today when I really need it. Thank you.

Keep smilin!

a Tonggu Momma said...

As you know, this is a cause near and dear to my heart. Thanks for sharing your story and educating others. to everyone reading this -- GO GET CHECKED!!!

preppy little dress said...

wow, thank you so much for sharing your story with everyone.

on that same note, i lost an aunt back in july to ovarian cancer! it was so sad, i don't wish this on anyone!

be strong and know god has a plan for each of us!!

Krista ~ Bits and pieces said...

Thank you for sharing your journey through this disease and for opening my eyes to be more aware of the symptoms.

As commented on before you are a survivor~ Thank goodness you are! I am so grateful that YOU were able to share this story with me!!!

HUGS dear friend,

Krista

Krista ~ Bits and pieces said...

When you have a quick minute please take a look at my blog!!!

Hugs,

Briana's Mom said...

You are totally amazing. I can't believe how much you went through and how you survived it all. But you did - you are a survivor. I admire you so much.

Michelle said...

Lisa,

Thanks so much for sharing this story...you ARE a survivor! I just can not imagine going through all you have been through...especially with your son being so young. You are really an amazing lady who now has a story to share and help others.

Blessings to you!

Lisa said...

You are AMAZING!!!!!! Oh my goodness, what you have been through is just crazy! I am so proud of you! You got through it all and you are a SURVIVOR! Thank you so much for sharing your story! I'm going to put the banner on my side bar! I'm so glad that you are a part of my life! : )

Bridget said...

That is quite a chapter and you are quite a survivor. I am so happy that you are in good health and are part of a wonderful family. Thank you for sharing your story and your insight! I wish you nothing but the best!

Amy said...

What a testimony you have!
Thank you for sharing it with so many.

God Bless,
Amy:)

Jodee Leader said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. That was one tough battle, and you were one tough cookie! I am so glad you continue to be cancer free! You go girl!

Kayce said...

Lisa you are so amazing. Thank you for sharing your story and going through those memories again for us. I actually went to the doctors yesterday to have my ovaries checked out...funny you posted this.

YOU are here with us today to remind us of what is important and to educate us all. God Bless you!

Kerry said...

Thank you for sharing, Lisa. You are an amazing person- I read and reread your posted link. Thank you for educating and for enlightening me. You are truely a blessing.

Thank you friend.

Heather said...

Lisa -

Thank you so much for posting this - just imagine, for a moment, all the lives that are touched by us reading this...ourselves, our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, our friends...a survivor, YES! But also a brave, beautiful woman able to bare the gritty parts that others may be "in the know".

God used you eight years ago and continues to use you today. I am so happy you are here and am sad you had to go through such pain. I am thankful for your generosity of spirit and for the joy you share with others.

Blessings to you:)
Heather

Shelly and Family said...

WOW Lisa what a story! I am sitting here in our hotel room just in awe...you are truly one amazing woman and I can't begin to tell you what this new friendship with you so means to me. This is another one of oyur stories that I will never forget...

sara said...

Thank you for sharing your story of survival & faith!!!

Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

Thank you soo much for sharing your story..
it is a scary thing..
Hugs to you.
YOu are a very strong lady..
Love ya girly..

Our Complete Family said...

You are amazing! I can not even put into words what I am thinking right now. I am just wowed at your courage, strength, determination, grit, will power, and so much much much more! Thank you for sharing your story and for making all of your blogger friends aware of Ovarian cancer and the signs. Lots of love, hugs and prayers~ Leslie

kerri said...

Thank you for sharing your corageous battle with us, you are inspiring to all women.
I am so proud you fought to enjoy all your blessings, well deserved friend. ;)

Colleen said...

Yes you are a survivor and I thank you for posting this. My Grandmother who I was very very close to died of ovarian cancer. This is why I made the choice at a young age 39 to have my last ovary taken out. I now deal with early menopause and it can be brutal at times but I'm here and alive. I am happy you are here to share your story with all of us. I am also very lucky to call you friend. {{{{hug}}}}

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

Lisa, I am just so amazed by your story. Eight years!! Way to go! I just sit here reading your post with my mouth hanging open, because I cannot imagine going though what you did. Certainly changes your perspective. Thank you so much for sharing!
Carrie

3 Peanuts said...

Lisa,

I don't even know what to say...I am in awe of your strength and what you have fought through. You are a reminder to us all to be grateful for every single healthy day we have. I am so glad that God gave you what you needed to face such a time. I pray that the rest of your life is filled with health and happiness.

Kim

jiangxigirls said...

Thanks for sharing your story. You are an amazing woman. Thanks again for sharing.....

Shawnstribe said...

Lisa, thank you so much for your story!!!!
i lost avery Dear Friend to ovarian cancer.
I am so thrilled that you are a precious survivor.
I look at your blog, beautiful and your stunning family photo, and i join you in celebrating life,your life.
Thank you again
xxx
s

Laura said...

Lisa,

Thanks for sharing your story. What a beautiful ending.

laura

Steffie B. said...

Bravo girl....I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face and a smile for your attitude and faith......

EllieNat said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I am sure you have such an appreciation for life. I am thankful that you are here to share your story.

3 Peanuts said...

Lisa,

I have been so touched this week by your story...I posted about it on my Thankful Thursday today. I hope that is okay. i think many women need to read about your courage and your story.

Hugs,
Kim

Our Complete Family said...

Lisa~ I know I already commented on this post, but I wanted to wish you a wonderful day filled with love, fun and hopefuly some sunshine! Thinking of you and your sweet adorable family~ Les

LaLa said...

What an amazing story..thanks for sharing. Love that family pic : )

Mom To Six said...

Amazing testimony! Thank you for sharing and enlightening us about this horrific disease.

Blessings,

Ohilda

paige said...

sweet lisa, thank you for sharing your courageous battles with me. you are truly an amazing woman & i love your zest for life...no matter what comes your way.
you inspire me
thank you...
xo

redmaryjanes said...

Incredible post! I am going to put that ribbon image on my blog just for you!

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

Hi Lisa!
It's Carrie again...I wanted to say that I will happily post the pumpkin dip recipe soon...and still try to think about where I got it. Our wine charm business is still up and running, though my sister and I are both pregnant so we are a lot slower these days! :) I think the link is in the post to the etsy site. I hope you don't feel any pressure, just wanted to answer your question!
Carrie

jennifer said...

Wow, that is an unbelievable story! Thank you for sharing it with us. I'll bet that little boy of yours is so proud of you!

E said...

Thank you for helping to educate and I am glad to hear you are well! My Mom also beat late stage 3 ovarian cancer, six years ago next week!

Susie and Gordie said...

I found your blog through 3D's blog. I loved your story of your becoming a Mom via different methods and surviving the dreadful disease. I fought my own battle, a battle in becoming a Mom. After 2 ectopic pregnancies and years of IVF, I now have 2 beautiful daughters from China. I hope your journey to China for your daughter happens soon!

Jennifer said...

I found your blog a few months back and have been drawn to it again today. I love your new look! You really are an inspiration to us all. You seem like a wonderful Mommy & person. Blessings, as you continue down the road to your precious daughter in China!

Denise C said...

Oh bless your heart....you are so precious Lisa!!! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! I know it has really touched me...and I am certain it will touch each person who is blessed to read this!!! May your willingness to share this save many lives is my prayer! You have such strength and grace...and FAITH! I stand in awe of you sweet friend! I am so glad we "met"!!!
Sending you huge hugs!!!
Love,
Denise

Don and Lisa Osborn said...

Hi Lisa,

I want to thank you for posting your story. I think the word courageous is overused in our society but I consider anyone who has had cancer and fought it COURAGEOUS!

I am glad God spared you. He obviously had some AMAZING and wonderful plans for you. I pray that each day you are able to see the beauty of the day and praise Him for bringing you through the terrible trials you endured.

Lisa, today you have reminded me to remember my blessings. In 2004, I had a very large brain tumor removed. While it was not cancerous, it could've been deadly. I felt so grateful for being spared after it was removed. I need to hold on to that gratitude EVERY day and look for the blessings however big or small in each day.

Thank you, thank you, thank you~
Lisa

this is the story said...

Lisa, Your story simply amazes me. I'm in awe of your courage and strength and so happy you have survived the unthinkable. Congratulations. I know your story will touch so many...
Lucy

Michelle said...

Oh Lisa,
I cannot begin to imagine all that you have been through... being struck by not one, but two different types of cancer. You are a survivor and an amazing woman. I am so thankful that I have "met" you. God has big plans for you. I am sure of it!

Hugs,
Michelle

Amie@HeartSmiles said...

WOW lisa.. What a story. Thank you for sharing this with us. This is near and dear to my heart as my MIL is an ovarian cancer survivor. Thanks for taking the time to educate all of us, and make us aware of the importance of check-ups.. Also, thanks for the reminder to count your blessings each day... each moment.

hugs to you!

:)
Amie

my3 kids said...

Wow what an amazing story of your life. We are so happy that God gave you a second chance at life. I went through something similar but with my heart. I was only 24 and our son was 2. They told my husband I was going to die but here I am today. We are surviors!! God is good! It's nice "meeting" you..your children are beautiful:)

Carol VR said...

Glad to hear your better and have survived this.

Thanx for the heads up on signs and symptoms.

Jennifer said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Your strength is amazing. I know you will be an inspiration to others!

Jen