Over the past 3 1/2 months the same question comes up in many conversations, at night when I'm tired, hurting and crying, and runs through my mind often. Why ME? Why do I have to go through the suffering's, worries and unknowns of Ovarian Cancer? Why didn't I know about the symptoms so that I could have caught this earlier when it was a Stage 1 and not a Stage 3? I should have known. I'm a Physician Assistant for goodness sakes, I have done thousands of pelvic exam's and abdominal exam's over the past 10 years. I should have realized that the mass in my abdomen was not normal compared to all of the other exam's I have done. I did know it was there, but I had had it for so long that I guess I thought it was my normal anatomy, until it started growing. I did know that something was wrong in December when I called Dr. Klomps office (my gyn). But then I figured it was close enough to a new year that I would wait until I had to start my deductible over in January. But then January came and went and I didn't give it anymore thought until March when the back pain started and the mass started to grow.
SO Why ME...Why Not ME?
Because I have the medical knowledge with a Bachelors Degree in Health Promotion, a Masters Degree in Physician Assistant Studies and so many amazing connection's to do something about the SILENT KILLER which takes too many lives, because of little discussion about it in medical schools, CME's and doctors offices, little education of patients, minimal testing on women and fewer research studies than lets say Breast, Colon and Lung Cancer. The number one and number two complaints (after colds and UTI's) that I've seen in my 10 years in medicine are Back Pain and Abdominal/Pelvic Pain. Never once did it cross my mind that maybe my patient had Ovarian Cancer. It makes me wonder if I have ever missed an Ovarian Cancer because I thought the back pain was related to a muscle spasm or Pelvic Pain was related to an ovarian cyst or fibroid tumor. I will say I have never felt a mass on an abdominal or pelvic exam like I felt on me, but then again mine was Stage 3 and of course I could feel it. That makes me hopeful that I never missed a Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer. But what about those Stage 1 cancers? Why didn't I catch it early when it was a Stage 1? I had WHISPERINGS of Ovarian Cancer for at least 2 years. My main symptoms was urinary frequency which I had for years and just related it to drinking a lot of water, I had frequent bowel movements for the last year and a half, which I related to my brother-in-law making me Slim Fast Shakes in the mornings, I eventually had to quit drinking them because they hit when I would get to work. But then I started eating Aunt Leslie's homemade wheat bread and eating 3 grapefruit a day that I was able to blame it on. Unfortunately for me it was from a mass pushing on my bladder and Ovarian Cancer that had spread to my Sigmoid Colon.
SO WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS NOW?
I'm going to continue to write about it and talk about this experience as much as I can so that hopefully other women will become more aware of the vague WHISPERINGS of Ovarian Cancer symptoms, and not let them WHISPER until it is too far advanced. I'm NOT going to worry that I won't make it, because I am a SURVIVOR and an OVERCOMER. I have far too many people to reach and teach, birthday parties to attend, nieces and nephews to watch grow up, places to see and vacations to take, patients to treat and someday I hope a wedding of my own to attend and somehow, some way children to raise. Nope, I'm not going anywhere, anytime soon!
HOW AM I GOING TO USE THIS TO BENEFIT OTHER'S?
It's time to start a non-profit organization, get involved with the National Ovarian Cancer Organization, use my connections to help me get this going (if you have any pass them on), be involved in research, talk as much as I can to as many women as I can to spread the word and wear as much teal as I can purchase. I have the education and experience behind me to be able to make a difference, a big voice and mouth that I will open even more, an army of supporters behind me to help in any way they can and a Heavenly Father that will give me the direction that I need to open doors that I dream will be opened. I look forward to the future with faith, determination and will to be that voice that I know He needs me to be, to touch the lives of women and families across this vast country as I advocate for a great cause, that hopefully will save lives to this SILENT and Deadly Killer. Wish me luck!!!!