It’s not something you ever expect or want to hear…that your friend has cancer.
Last month one of my close friends found out she had a tumor on her ovary. She had surgery to remove it and I thought that was that. She was told there was a chance it could be cancerous, but I was positive it was going to be benign and that my friend could go about her life.
A few days later I had a message from my friend’s mom saying to call back because they got the results back and my friend was very upset. My heart began to race. What does this mean? I thought she’d be ok? As soon as I got on the phone with them the dreaded words were spoken. “The tumor was cancerous.”
I tried to hold back tears as I took a breathe and started rattling off questions…what happens next? What stage is it? Will she need chemo?
Luckily, the cancer was caught early. She was stage 1. And the type of ovarian cancer she had was a rare form that responded well to chemo (if she needed it).
It has been a tough month to say the least, but I believe in my friend and know she will come out of this stronger than ever.
Before she went to the doctor my friend had been complaining of stomach pain, had a lack of energy and had digestion issues she couldn’t explain. She thought maybe it was something she ate or that it was stress related. But when nothing would let up she went to the doctor, where they gave her an ultrasound and found the tumor.
We all live such busy lives that it’s easy to write off any symptoms we may have. And more than likely our symptoms are nothing…but there is always a chance that they could be something. I like to joke that I’m a hypochondriac and I go to the doctor whenever I feel that something is off with my body. Because you’re better safe than sorry, right? So here’s my PSA to you: Don’t ignore any symptoms you have. If you don’t feel right, go to the doctor and get checked out.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer:
- Persistent abdominal bloating, indigestion or nausea
- Changes in appetite, often a loss of appetite or feeling full sooner
- Feelings of pressure in the pelvis or lower back
- Needing to urinate more frequently
- Changes in bowel movements
- Increased abdominal girth
- Feeling tired or low energy
On a similar note, about 5 years ago my gynecologist discovered an ovarian cyst during my annual exam. It was as big as a grapefruit and I had to have surgery to remove it. It had destroyed my right ovary and they had to remove that as well. Cysts are pretty common in women and usually there are symptoms that go along with having a cyst, but I had none (which is surprising since it was so big). Luckily, my journey ended after it was removed. But all the same this is a good reminder to get your annual exam even if you think you are healthy.
This past Saturday was the Celma Mastry Foundation One Step Closer to the Cure Walk/Run in St. Pete. This is a race I’ve wanted to do in the past, but this year it meant even more to me to be there. Not only to support my friend, but the many other women who have been through ovarian cancer.
My friend Ashley and I did the 1 mile walk. We started at Albert Whitted Park, walked past the Dali and turned around near the St. Pete Yacht Club.
I ran into a handful of other friends who had run the 5k and the 10k in support of the cause or in support of someone they knew.
I loved the shirts and medals they gave out…so colorful!
After the walk we went to brunch at Cassis.
And my favorite brunch dish at Cassis…Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Ragout.
It was a great morning and I was so glad to have been able to support a wonderful cause.
For more information about ovarian cancer and the Celma Mastry Foundation visit http://ovariancancerfoundation.org/