Now this is a post I never thought I would have to write. Because as we all know, mom's just shouldn't get sick. And if you know my mom, then you know that she most certainly doesn't deserve anything bad happening to her. But life just doesn't always work out the way I think it ought to go.
About 4 weeks ago, my mom started experiencing abdominal discomfort. She knew something was wrong and went right to the doctor. About a week and a half ago the puzzle pieces all started to come together and the signs were all pointing to ovarian cancer.
Ovarian Cancer is an interesting beast. They can't 100% confirm it until they do surgery.
Today was my mom's surgery. Even though all the signs pointed to ovarian cancer, I think there was, in all of our minds, a small hope that some huge mistake had been made and that surgery would show some other less horrible option.
But, that was not the case.
The surgery found cancer . . . everywhere. And the surgeon skillfully removed it from as many places as she could- ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, omentum, sections of the small intestine, sections of the large intestine, sections of the colon, the appendix, the lymph nodes, and more. Technically speaking it is in stage IIIc.
Chemotherapy will be starting soon.
Interestingly, as I drove through my little town today I noticed teal colored ribbons on all the trees, lamp posts, and street signs. I had read online that teal is the color ribbon that represents ovarian cancer. So I drove around until I found the woman who was tying the ribbons. I asked her if they were for ovarian cancer. She replied, "Yes, today is the kick off of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month."
I loved the timing. I certainly am more aware of ovarian cancer today. And I hope you all are too!
And the website is www.ovarian.org.
Here are the signs of ovarian cancer. Perhaps posting this will help someone else. Awareness and knowledge are key to detecting this cancer.
Ovarian cancer is difficult to detect, especially, in the early stages. This is partly due to the fact that these two small, almond shaped organs are deep within the abdominal cavity, one on each side of the uterus. These are some of the potential signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer:
Pelvic or abdominal pain
Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:
Upset stomach or heartburn
Pain during sex
Constipation or menstrual changes
If symptoms persist for more than two weeks, see your physician.
Persistence of Symptoms
When the symptoms are persistent, when they do not resolve with normal interventions (like diet change, exercise, laxatives, rest) it is imperative for a woman to see her doctor. Persistence of symptoms is key. Because these signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer have been described as vague or silent, only around 19% of ovarian cancer is found in the early stages. Symptoms typically occur in advanced stages when tumor growth creates pressure on the bladder and rectum, and fluid begins to form.
A rectovaginal pelvic examination is when the doctor simultaneously inserts one finger in the rectum and one in the vagina.
It is helpful to take a mild laxative or enema before the pelvic exam.
Have a comprehensive family history taken by a physician knowledgeable in the risks associated with ovarian cancer. 5% to 10% of ovarian cancer has a familial link.
Every woman should undergo a regular rectal and vaginal pelvic examination. If an irregularity of the ovary is found, alternatives to evaluation include transvaginal sonography and/or tumor markers. The most common tumor marker is a blood test called the CA-125.