Of course, things were not perfect. I had recently gained about 15 pounds, and in the past two months I had had some slight bloating. But I was not too worried. I've been craving weight gain up to night shifts and bloating made me think about what was happening every month during PMS. The only problem was that these bloating never disappeared.
I got rid of all this because my boyfriend, Gabriel, and I were going to Lake Havasu, Arizona, to meet his family and see my brother's newborn twins. As soon as we arrived in Arizona, I started to feel really sick. The bloating became intense – I suddenly looked eight months pregnant – and I knew something was really not going well.
At first I thought it was a partial intestinal obstruction. It is quite common for your gut to become stuck after thefts and a change in eating habits. So I went to the pharmacy and I loaded prune juice and laxatives, determined to make me poop. But after two miserable days of being in pain, it became clear that I was not going to solve this problem by myself. Despite my protests, Gabriel and his mother made me go to the hospital. (Nurses make the worst patients sometimes!)
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In the hospital, doctors did a ton of tests and discovered the source of my now extreme bloating was "ascites" – an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity. The most common cause of ascites is cirrhosis of the liver from alcoholism or excessive consumption of alcohol. But because I had never drunk a sip of alcohol in my life, I knew that I had very bad news.
The doctor ordered a computed tomography scan and found two large tumors on my ovaries and a foot tumor in my body. intestine. On October 15, 2017, I was diagnosed with metastatic stage 4 serous stage ovarian cancer. I did not ask for a prognosis. As a nurse, I knew my chances: I have a five year survival rate of 17%
I was completely devastated by my diagnosis of ovarian cancer . I am 42 years old, far too young to have cancer! Gabriel, his mother and I were holding each other and crying. Part of what was so devastating was that I am a health professional, but even I did not spot the signs – the few of them were there. In hindsight, the weight gain was unusual and I had to pee more than normal. But the rest of my symptoms – just like bloating – were so sweet that I never realized that they could be serious. It's the worst part about ovarian cancer, how creepy it is.
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I've also been terrified. How was I going to explain this to my children? They had just had their world torn apart by divorce and their father chose to be out of their lives, and now they could also lose their mother? I cried for them, for me, for my new relationship, and for the loss of everything I had just built.
Later in the evening, Gabriel told me to put on a dress, which he had a surprise for me. He took me for a walk in a nearby national park, then he knelt down and offered me to say that he wanted nothing more than to be my husband whatever happens. He had the intention to propose me this weekend all along and said that my diagnosis of ovarian cancer did not change anything that he felt for me. I said yes, of course. It was October 15, 2017 and I was engaged to the love of my life. It was the best day of my life.
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Living with Cancer
We flew to Washington and immediately began planning the wedding. I wanted to get married as soon as possible because I did not want to be a bald bride! In addition, we would have to work around my treatments. I underwent surgery on November 6th to remove as many tumors as possible and I knew that I would have to start chemotherapy as soon as I would get it back. I had decided to do something small in my living room with our families, but my eldest daughter and my best friend decided to make us a wonderful surprise wedding and we got married a little over a month ago after my diagnosis, November 25th.
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The day was absolutely perfect. I found a beautiful dress online for only $ 50. We wrote our own vows and my eldest son was ordained online and was the one who married us. All my brothers and sisters and their families had gone down for the wedding, which made the day even more glorious for me. I was with the man I loved, surrounded by all those I loved.
Back in Washington, I started chemotherapy on December 8th. Until now, I have done three of the six treatments planned and my body seems to respond well. (Fun Fact: Because I wear the BRCA1 gene, chemotherapy works better for me than for people who do not have it.) I had a serious infection after my second treatment and it did not work well. looked horrible, but other than that, I do not feel too sick. My side effects of chemotherapy are quite mild, mainly nausea, fatigue, bone pain, neuropathy, taste changes and blurred vision – and of course I've lost my hair – but they do not are nothing. I rock the cup buzz if I say it myself. In addition, my husband shaved his head with me in solidarity. (19659002) (Get the latest health, weight loss, fitness, and sex news right away in your inbox.) Sign up for our "Daily Dose" newsletter.
My CA125, a blood marker associated with certain cancers, increased from 2250 to 56.9, which is encouraging. I have a computed tomography scheduled next week to see if my tumors shrink. (Cross your fingers!) Even when I'm in pain, I can not hate him – I'm so grateful that I'm still alive to feel it.
People ask me what is waiting for me and honestly I do not know. Right now, I focus on taking things one day at a time and savoring every little moment. I am still broken about cancer, but I do not give up. I am not a statistic. My body is young. It's strong. I'm still crying, but I have to live – and I'm more determined than ever to build my good life.