Pamela’s Story: Stage IC Ovarian Cancer

Pamela’s Story: Stage IC Ovarian Cancer

I was recently diagnosed with stage IC ovarian cancer and would love to share my story. My story is rare in the fact that I found the cancer at stage IC and I am a firm believer that having things checked and listening to your body saved my life. Thank you for listening...

I am one of the rare, very few, people who can say I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, Stage IC.

My journey started with what I thought was kidney stones.

After a trip to the emergency room and then to the gynecologist, I was scheduled for an ultrasound.

I agreed to schedule the ultrasound ONLY because I was off on Martin Luther King Holiday. Until this all occurred, I never went to the doctor. I have NEVER met my deductible on my insurance! I only agreed to the ultrasound because I was already off.

I remember sitting in the room, waiting for the doctor after the ultrasound. I remember sitting there thinking, "I am hungry, I have stuff to do, I am ready to go!” I still can remember the doctor’s exact words when she walked into the room. "Your ultrasound is quite remarkable. We need for you to talk to a surgeon.”

"Remarkable,” that was the word she chose to use…

I met with the surgeon and was told I had two cysts and a few fibroids that needed to be removed. I had a 40th birthday trip that was planned and it was paid in full, scheduled for two months away. Taking more time off from work was the LAST thing I needed to do. But after going back and forth about it, and with my children being very persistent, I scheduled the surgery.

The day I received the phone call from the hospital to schedule it, I told the lady on the phone, "Ma'am, I can not be off of work. The ONLY way I am doing this is if you can schedule this on a Friday." After rearranging two doctors’ operating room time, my surgery was scheduled.

The week before, I called to leave a message that I had decided not to have the surgery. The staffer’s voicemail wasn't working that day, for some extremely odd reason, and by the time I was able to call her back that day, I had talked myself back into having the surgery.

My doctor told me, "I've been doing this for 30 years. If I get in the surgery and anything seems cancerous, I will know.”

The doctor saw nothing unusual. However, nothing seemed normal to me. I had one surgery down, but I was sick for two days after and developed an infection 3 days after. My body literally felt the worst it had ever felt. I was tired constantly, I had constant pressure in my stomach, and I had pains that were not going away.

The day of my post-op appointment, work was extremely busy. The appointment was at 10:00am, and at 8:30 I had to call to tell them there was no way I could make it in. By 1two:00, the doctor called and said, "You need to make a new post-op appointment. We found cancerous spots on your left ovary.”

I rescheduled the post-op and sat and listened to the doctor tell me I was being referred to an oncologist and that the hysterectomy is recommended, now. I remember the doctor saying, "If this was my wife, we would have this scheduled tomorrow."

The next week, I sat and listened to the oncologist tell me, "Your cancer is Stage IC. I need to schedule you a hysterectomy as soon as possible. The cyst on your left ovary, which has the cancer, ruptured during your last surgery.”  I was also scheduled for a CT scan immediately to make sure nothing had spread after the last surgery. The CT scan came back clear. The cancer was contained only in the left ovary.

I agreed to the hysterectomy. We agreed only to take the ovary that was cancerous. The right side had endometriosis, and it had grown into the uterus. He told me that he would remove the ovary from the uterus and put a stint in it. This would prevent me from going into menopause. I was only 39, and going into menopause was not something I needed to do.

After the surgery, I remember waking up in the recovery room, my husband standing beside me. My first words were, "Do I still have one ovary?" He said, "We will talk about it later..."

It turned out to be a full hysterectomy with both ovaries gone, at age 39. The doctor took the right because it seemed "abnormal." The right ovary, as well as several other biopsies, was sent to the pathologist.

The next day, while in the hospital, they started me on the hormone replacement patch to prevent me from going into menopause. Two days later, I developed another infection and was placed on two different steroids. My emotions and body were literally on a roller coaster! Nine LONG days later, the pathology results came through clear from the surgery. The surgery was successful and cancer was gone.

I remember listening to this and saying, "So I am technically not a cancer patient anymore." Which was not correct-- I will still have regular blood work and scans for 5 years-- but for now, I can say I am cancer free!

I am a FIRM believer from this point forward, that if ANYTHING seems unusual, if you feel like something needs to be checked, HAVE IT CHECKED! This saved my life!

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