My OVC Journey

Submitted on 2014/03/09 at 8:39 pm

Thank you Kathy for providing this place for those of us with a cancer diagnosis to post our comments and perhaps help others who are newly diagnosed.
I was diagnosed with Clear Cell ovarian cancer stage 3a in March of 2013. It’s easy to say those words now, but at the time, saying them out loud made them far too real. For those of us with no family history of this kind of cancer, the first thing we ask is “why is this happening to me?” “How could this possibly be right?”
Before diagnosis I was a healthy 59 year old woman with one grown up child and a good career. I watched my weight and diet and was always thought of by my friends as “the healthy one”.
The funny thing is, one year down the road from my diagnosis and 5 months past the completion of all my treatments. I can read the previous paragraph and say that it is all still true! Yes! Cancer can’t take all those good things away from you unless you relinquish them. I am now a 60 year old woman, with one grown up daughter and a good career. I still watch my weight and I exercise more now than I ever did. I feel more certain of my good health now than ever.
It’s true what you say about Faith. At the time one received a diagnosis such as ours, we need a strong faith in something or someone beyond ourselves. Something to focus on and move toward. Something or someone to help with the shear weight of this disease. It does feel like a physical weight, especially early on.
I think I can say I got over the whole “why me” thing very quickly. There isn’t much time for self pity. Instead I asked myself “why not me?” I’m in good company here. Cancer doesn’t differentiate between ethnicities, economic status or whether you are a good a person or not. It’s an equal opportunity disease!
I work in the health care field and have done so for 29 years. I decided to use what I know and what I could learn to give myself a better quality of life post diagnosis. The more I learned the better I felt about my future. I may have cancer, but cancer doesn’t have me. I have choices which effect my outcome.
In my line of work (psychiatry), we encourage goals, both long and short terms ones. I found this helpful in our situation too. For instance, early on I made returning to my job a goal as well as eating better than before and exercising in a more productive manner. All these things have been accomplished in a short 11 months since diagnosis. I am NED (no evidence of disease) currently and I’m very humbled and grateful for that. Gratitude is a project for me now! I go out of my way to show gratitude and kindness to others on a daily basis. It feels good to be able to help others who are less fortunate. Some may say that I am the less fortunate one here. I don’t feel that way at all. Cancer isn’t something I would have desired or asked for but it has opened up a whole new phase of my life. A time of meeting truly selfless people, a time of seeing deep within my own self and exploring what is most important to me. If not for this illness I don’t know if I would have turned my eyes inward the way I have now. I know myself so much better and guess what? I like what I see!
We can’t ignore this disease, we have to acknowledge it and then move on to a positive place. My very best wishes to you Kathy and all others who find this site and find something useful to take away with them, while at the same time leaving something behind for others to find.
Bonnie

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