Turning 60 in the spring of 2020 looked odd. We were in the middle of a pandemic where everyone was scared. I was working from home and thought the tightness of my waistband was due to too many fridge visits. Frequent urination (10+ times per night) and constipation were unusual for me but not painful or particularly alarming, especially with so much other stuff going on. Eventually I noticed discomfort when laying on my stomach and laying flat in the bed I could feel “something” in my abdomen. Bloodwork and an x-ray from my PCP resulted in a diagnosis of severe constipation and a prescription laxative. A week later I called them back and said, “I don’t know what’s going on, but that didn’t fix it” and a CT was scheduled. I’ll never forget sitting on my front porch when the doctor called that afternoon and said I had a 20cm (the size of a brick) mass and needed to see an oncologist asap.
Waiting for surgery was nerve racking but my family, friends, and lots of prayer kept me optimistic. I woke up from surgery to an ovarian cancer diagnosis. Stage 3A. Not the news we wanted, but news we could handle. That became my family’s mantra. Every step of the way we just trusted God and the journey.
Ovarian cancer changed my life. It has brought so many anxious times but many, many blessings. Harts of Teal is right at the top of those blessings. In the beginning I didn’t know what I didn’t know. None of us did. Sometimes that was a good thing but being able to share with other survivors is huge. They listen, they understand, they help, they encourage, they share resources, they sympathize, they pray for and with me, and they love me. I can’t imagine what my life would look like without Kim and Andrea and the other survivors I’ve connected with along the way.
For me personally, I needed to find a purpose for this diagnosis. I now understand it is to share the absolute love of God, educate others on something I was clueless about, and show how it’s possible to live, really live, with cancer.