Candice’s Story

Site created on March 4, 2018

On February 23 my world was rocked, I went in for a post op appointment and my OB/GYN told me I have ovarian cancer. Well, I technically don’t have ovarian cancer but squamous cell carcinoma (aka skin cancer) in a tumor on my ovary. More on this later….. Maybe I should start at the beginning. I will spare you the gory details.

For well over a year, I have been dealing with a lot of female issues and they found that I had a uterus “riddled” with fibroids. I had a hysteroscopic myomectomy surgery in May to remove the one they thought was causing the issue. Thought that would help, but it didn’t. So, after a lot of annoying phone calls and visits to my doctor, she agreed to do an abdominal myomectomy to remove the rest of them. I had my surgery on February 16 and they were shocked to find a 10cm tumor surrounding my left ovary. They removed the tumor and fallopian tube, and no one ever even considered that cancer was an option. The type of tumor I had was a mature teratoma. Those are the ones that can grow teeth and hair and, no, I do not know if mine had teeth. Less than 2% of these types of tumors come back cancerous. Within the 10 cm tumor was a 2.4 cm spot of squamous cell carcinoma. Yes, I am the freak with skin cancer on my ovary. I met with an oncologist on Wednesday and he said I would be hard-pressed to find anyone who has experienced or treated this type of cancer. I guess it’s that rare. Due to the rarity, they want to get aggressive. They want me to heal for a few weeks before a PET scan and then they want to do a staging surgery to see if it has spread. Even if stage 1, they want to give me chemo. I do have an appointment at Stanford to get a second opinion, someone has got to know something about this right?

I wanted to start this because I know that if I have to call a gazillion people after each appointment, then I am bound to forget someone, and this is an easier way to keep everyone informed. I know that the next year is going to be hell, but I am confident that I will beat this. 

Newest Update

Journal entry by Candice Sanders

I can’t believe that I’m almost halfway done with my treatments. It’s funny how something can seem like time is flying, but also feel like it’s been a lifetime.

I have joked and said that chemo has been the easy part of this process. I am one of the fortunate ones who hasn’t experienced a lot of nausea. I attribute this to my dutiful nurses (Paolo especially) who make sure I keep up on meds and don’t miss a dose. Bone pain and fatigue are no joke though. I feel like all I do is sleep for about a week straight.

For those who don’t know, I have had some complications with my port. I developed blood clots in my jugular and down my arm which causes a lot of pain. To top that off I had an ear infection and pharyngitis. That was not a good week. Since I have blood clots, I was put on blood thinners, on May 10 I ended up in the ER with a hemoglobin level of 5!! For those who don’t know the range in women is 12-16. They had to give me a blood transfusion of 5 pints (almost more than half of my body’s blood supply) and that included a 4 day stay in the hospital. I was so happy to be released and I am sure my family and friends were too because I am sure I smelled pretty awful.

After many doctor appointments, I believe she had come to the best solution to fix my blood problem. I started on blood thinners again however they are giving me a Lupron shot to put me in pseudo menopause, so I won’t have that hemoglobin issue again. Yay, night sweats and hot flashes during the hot Paso summer! I apologize in advance for any erratic behavior, I promise it’s the hormones and not really me. :)

Thank you again to everyone for taking the time to read my story and for all of your kind thoughts and well wishes. It warms my heart to think of how many wonderful friends and family I have on my side.



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