In early April 2017, I was doing my knee exercises (still working on strengthening knee after my ACL repair in October) and yoga, lying flat on my back, when a large bump appeared in my abdomen. I got up and made an appointment with my gynecologist. After an ultrasound and exam, my gynecologist referred me to a gynecologist / oncologist / surgeon for a hysterectomy. On May 26, 2017 (Scott's and mine 28th wedding anniversary- next year we are doing something much more fun!) I had the surgery and was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. I never really had obvious symptoms- any discomfort and fatigue I had, I attributed to getting older. (I first felt something in my abdomen in mid March, but it seemed like it went away and I assumed it was gas. I wish I had followed up then.) I would recommend if you feel that anything is off, please go get checked out. An ultrasound is an easy test and of course, the sooner you discover ovarian cancer, the better. Also, if an ultrasound shows a mass you must see a specialized gynecologist / oncologist / surgeon to perform the surgery. My surgeon, Dr. Donna Pinelli, was confident she removed all the visible cancer tumor and told us after chemotherapy, I will be cured. My cancer (maybe all of ovarian cancer is, I'm not sure) was a very high grade- very fast growing cancer. The good news is that fast growing cancers respond very quickly to chemotherapy and die very quickly. After the surgery, I had a snafu because of my previous blood clots and medication and had to closely watch my hemoglobin levels. Luckily, and after receiving excellent medical care at Jupiter Medical Center, it stabilized and I did not need a blood transfusion. Since I've been home recovering from surgery, my iron is up and is probably normal by now.
This Thursday, June 22, will be my first cycle of chemotherapy- it will be an IV treatment. I then have a break for three weeks. Cycles two through six are a little different- on these cycles I will receive chemotherapy on Day 1, Day 2 and then on Day 8. Two of those days, I will receive chemotherapy directly into a port in my abdomen so the area is "bathed" with the chemotherapy; the third day I will receive chemotherapy via an IV so it goes throughout my body. I then have a two week break before starting the next cycle. If all goes well, I should be finished with chemotherapy by mid October. My doctors think I should tolerate the treatment well since I am (relatively) young and in general good health. My biggest concern is nausea and getting dehydrated, but I did very well on an anti-nausea medication in the hospital so that is very encouraging. I'm ready to get started with the treatment, get it over, and get well. This is my job for the rest of 2017. I'm not doing it alone and I am so very grateful for all the help and support of family and friends.
I have the most amazing and wonderful family and friends. I know several of you are learning of this for the first time now- it was such a whirlwind of activity since May 23, my first visit with the surgeon, I wasn't able to reach out to everyone. You can let any mutual friends know about my cancer, in fact- that is helpful. My intention with this Caring Bridge is to keep everyone up to date and informed during my treatment. Who knows- maybe, I'll blog! Thanks for reading and caring about me. As unlucky as I was to get cancer, I am super lucky with my family, my friends, and my medical care. Love, Gail