This I Believe

Connie - Sacramento, California
Entered on September 19, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe the truth will survive. I am a five-year survivor of Ovarian Cancer. I was just diagnosed with a recurrence of this silent disease.

Why am I writing about a cancer that whispers? Who’s at risk? All women are at risk. Each day seven women are diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer and each day four more pass away from it. No two Ovarian Cancer patients are alike. There are many factors that separate each cancer patient from one another. This is only an excerpt from my story. My point in writing this is to potentially save women’s lives.

Even if you’ve had a hysterectomy which included taking out both of your ovaries, you can still get ovarian cancer, because the ovarian cells are still there. Shocking though this may be, it is the truth. The following are symptoms you should be looking for. The main point is that you “hear” one or more of these whispers for two or more weeks.

(1) Abdominal bloating, swelling or pain

(2) Digestive problems, gas or nausea

(3) Unexplained weight gain/weight loss

(4) Changes in bowel habits or frequent urination

(5) Abnormal vaginal bleeding

There is no proven test to diagnose Ovarian Cancer. If you recognize yourself in the above-reference symptoms, please request a Transvaginal Ultrasound (TU) and a CA-125. The CA-125 is only used as a marker (35 or under is normal) because it can give you false negatives/positives; that’s why it’s not a test. The TU can potentially detect a mass and then you have to have surgery to find out if it’s cancer or not.

I wrote this to a friend after being diagnosed with Stage 3C Ovarian Cancer, the most lethal gynecological cancer a woman can have. On August 1, 2002, I wrote:

Dearest Friend:

Three weeks ago changed my life forever when I found out I have late-stage cancer. It gave me insight like I’ve never known. It brought beauty that I’d never seen. It brought me closer to family and a sister I had been alienated from. God blessed me with a mother who loves me with all her heart and her caring touch and love have brought me this far; just where God wants me to be. It gave me an outpouring of prayers and encouragement that I didn’t realize was possible. It gave me a closeness to God I didn’t realize I didn’t have. I was close, now I’m really close. My prayers always include wishing His will in my life, and thanking Him for all I have or ever will be, because I am His. His love has given me a calm I’ve never felt before because I know He is in control. I am grateful that I have learned to live life for the first time; through new eyes. I was just racing through life before. I am thankful for each sunrise He gives me now. Looking up and looking forward is where it’s at.

God bless, Connie