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Aug 28, 2017 Latest post:
Aug 1, 2018
My new journey began on July 7th when I went to Abington's Emergency Room thinking and feeling like I was having a gallbladder attack; I had woken up at 3:00 am with terrible pain in my right side and shortness of breath. After two hours at the ER, the attending Physician told me that I did not have a bad gallbladder, but a mass laying "over" my right kidney and liver; It was "to be treated as Cancer unless proven otherwise." Six hours later, post a few more tests, Rich and I made the decision to leave Abington and to get to Jefferson, where we are blessed to know the best doctors in the world! Within 48 hours, Dr. Michael Mastrangelo met with me, on a Sunday. He took the time to discuss my case, take notes, and read my written report from Abington. The following day, Dr. Mastrangelo's marvelous team, led by Dr. Takami Sato, followed up with all of my scans and tests from the ER. YES! These are the very same compassionate and brilliant doctors who took care of my beautiful and beloved mother, Bonnie. They were not sure IF my localized skin melanoma had spread into my body, but Dr. Sato ordered a series of tests to find out. MRI of Abdomen, PET scan, MRI of Pelvis, and a Biopsy--over one month--showed the diagnosis. Stage 4 Advanced Ovarian Cancer. Dr. Mastrangelo and Dr. Sato arranged for Rich and me to see the TOP two GYN Oncologists at The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson within days. Rich and I met with Dr. Norman Rosenblum first (Surgeon), followed by Dr. Russell Schilder (Medical Oncologist/Chemotherapy), a few days later. These two incredible men have been partners for over 28 years; First at Fox Chase Cancer Center, and now we are so fortunate to have them at SKCC-J. Drs. Rosenbaum and Schilder developed a "Winning Game Plan" for Rich and me. Chemotherapy first (nine treatments over a twelve week period), followed by a scan to see how terrifically I responded to the Carbo-TAXOL, then surgery, followed by more chemo. Rich and I were relieved to finally know what was going on: "Knowledge is Power"--and we wanted to get Rockin' and Rollin' right away! I had my port put into my upper right chest on August 16th. My first chemo treatment was set for August 22nd. This latest path in my life has a Ministry, Mission, and Message. My Ministry--God Is Walking With Me. My Mission--Each One, Teach One. My Message: Please listen lovely ladies...Please pay attention to your bodies and don't ever be embarrassed, ashamed, or afraid to ask questions from your family doctor or OB-GYN. Ovarian Cancer is called the "Silent Killer" for a reason. There are no major, blaring symptoms other than what most of us post-menopausal, pre-menopausal, peri-menopausal women think is "normal" for our age. 98% of the time that may be the case, but IF the symptoms are above the range OR if there are several occurring simultaneously OR if they are getting worse over time--you might be crossing over the safety line. With that said, fatigue, urinary frequency, bladder leakage, gas, bloating, pelvic pain during certain activities--all can be signs. Dr. Schilder told me that on any given day, a woman in her 40's/50's/60's could have any or all of these things. I don't want you to panic, I just want you to pay attention to your bodies, slow down, and discuss with your doctors if you are experiencing any of these issues--and if they are affecting your life--request, no, demand!, an Ultrasound of your pelvic area. Many times your OB-GYN will not even be able to feel enlarged ovaries during your exam. Don't forget: The PAP smear only shows Cervical Cancer--not Ovarian. Please Girlfriends/Sisters, share MY Message with all of your family, friends, co-workers whom you love, admire, and respect. Pay it forward! I love all of you and I want to help you--this is what is going to keep me going through the next nine months of my life. Someone out there can learn from my experience and hopefully be saved from going into this challenging place. Thank you for reading my story and for being a Prayer Warrior for Rich and me. The Power of Prayer is a Gift from God, and I believe in the bountiful blessings and peace that it brings to each of us. My name Kelly means "Warrior Woman", and I am going to fight and beat this Cancer.