Facing a Challenging Illness
I wanted to start this blog for all of the women out there who are scared stiff because they’ve been given an incurable and/or chronic cancer diagnosis. I have spoken many times to women frozen with fear once they’ve received this diagnosis. Cancer in general is a fearful thing to live with but when your cancer has a high rate of recurrence and comes with unfavorable survival statistics, it can be paralyzing.
I know because I was given such a diagnosis. In October 2011 I was diagnosed with stage 3c ovarian cancer. I didn’t know much about ovarian cancer other than it was cancer of the ovaries. I had no clue that the statistics associated with it were so dismal. I thought I would just get chemo and then be okay. When my doctor first told me she thought that’s what I had, I couldn’t really wrap my head around the news. Then she referred me to a gynecological oncologist who would probably perform a biopsy to verify her diagnosis. However, before I even had a chance to visit his office for my scheduled appointment, his office called me to schedule surgery!! Needless to say I was stunned beyond belief. Yet, I still was expecting to be permanently cured. I just thought I had to go through an ugly period of an operation and chemo before I was set free. So, when I returned to my surgeon’s office after surgery for a check-up, I asked him what I thought was a rhetorical question. I asked him if I’d be okay once I finished chemo, totally expecting him to say yes. Imagine my surprise when he said probably not, that I had a 75% chance of recurrence. So, I then asked him again, “so if I finish chemo the 2nd time, then I’d be okay, right”? I don’t know why I asked him such a silly question. I think I was going to keep asking him this question until he said yes. However, I quickly began to realize he was never going to say yes.
When I left my doctor’s office I was in a daze! Eventually, I came out of my comatose-like state to face the reality of what he said. I lived a very short period of being fearfully frozen and then I snapped back into reality. My inner voice told me I had to deal with this and become proactive. That led me to research all the horrible statistics about late stage ovarian cancer. My cancer was considered late stage because it had partially invaded nearby organs and probably gone into my lymph nodes. Recurrence of this stage cancer ranges from 70 to 80% depending on what site you read. Survival beyond 5 years can range from 35 to 55%. Not good! So, facing these odds I needed to know what I could do to beat them. Facing your own mortality and/or an alternate way of life from what you’re used to can be daunting. However, once I faced these issues head on my mindset opened into areas of my psyche and spirituality I never explored before. I also came face to face with the survival part of me I never even knew existed. To this day, I continue to deal with inner battles I need to overcome to live my best life ever. It’s a continuous learning and growing process but it’s given me such a new perspective of life that I find inspiring and amazing.
So, the survival part of me decided I needed to become proactive in my spiritual, nutritional, and physical life so I could endure the challenges this disease posed. In doing so, I learned and am learning a wealth of information on how to minimize stress, eliminate unhealthy eating and engage in spiritual practices that relax my mind and connects me with the God spirit within me to sustain me through these challenging times. I am anxious to share all that I have learned with others.
For anyone interested, I want to use this site to talk about some of the nutritional things I’ve learned that can help ward off a recurrence and some of the alternative treatments that are touted for doing the same. I’m excited about the things I’ve learned and hope there are many women out there who want to share their experiences. I also want to make myself totally available for women who are just starting this journey and may need help moving beyond the fear.