Entering Year 10 with Stage 4 OvCa

I look like any healthy 44-year-old gal. Maybe a little younger when I put in some effort, as I never had children. From the outside, you'd never know. I am unbelievably blessed with an amazing husband--if everyone had a partner like this the world would be such a place. Not perfect, he says, but oh so very good and always wanting my life to be good--and good it is! Come a little closer, though, and you'll see that something has definitely shaped my life. The C-word.

I had my third recurrence in 2020. Uhuh--like the year needed even more to recommend it, right? Well, it had to come eventually. The last time was 2018. This time, a dawning realization in me finally bore out in the diagnostic criteria after four months of my suspecting. Much to my surprise, I was offered radiation therapy instead of going straight to chemo. Kind of a stop-gap measure, but one which I embraced. Carbo-taxol a third time (although it works for me still!) wasn't so appealing. Abdominal radiation sounded better. Hey--I'm trying to grow my hair, here. Radiation sounded like a breeze compared with chemo; not as slick as cyber-knife treatment, maybe, but the doctors assumed the one enlarged and growing aorto-caval lymph node wasn't alone. Plus, I had some additional red flags: early satiety, I looked increasingly to be in the third trimester of pregnancy, and can-we-find-a-stronger-word-for-this constipation. Bring on the rays, right? Ahem. It's still not great.

Well, that was October, and here I am ,with a much better CA-125 back down as low as it ever was during chemo and a node shrunk to about half the size but not gone altogether. My waist-line has returned, at least for a little while though I'm not back to my usual weight and shape. That part is harder to guage right now, what with a pandemic Christmas and all. My energy is... go-oood... if I think I can remember what my energy is supposed to be like after all this. 

Amazingly, I no longer struggle with the feeling that impending death means I shouldn't start anything new. Once you head into ten years of impending death, the idea starts to seem a little far-fetched. You get used to it, like anything else, and so small knitting projects become sweaters, a one-off book-group becomes a years-long study circle, and you start to make budgets and plans again for things that span one, two, even up to five years. A future post-mortgage? Maybe.

So... After radiation treatment, I decided I wanted a new house--a bungalow. My bones keep breaking and they keep having to operate to pin me back together. Plus, right?-- that fatigue factor, and a three-story home isn't so peachy. Incredibly, the housing market has been flourishing in our city during the pandemic, and we sold this place in a pinch and managed to find a lovely new bungalow with all the wish list checked off. Lots of space, light, new-ish, west-facing fenced yard in a lovely neighbourhood, etc. We move in March!

ALSO, I decided to get back to my ethics advising work for government, and I expect to start part-time work very soon. Actually, I had reached out in August and it's finally culminating into something now. This is big, as I stopped working five years ago.

ALSO, I have agreed to sit on not just one clinical research team as a patient partner, but to sit on another and to help with the review of translational research applications for funding through Ovarian Cancer Canada. I provide some input as a patient living with the disease to researchers in the planning and evaluation stages of clinical trials and other research. This won't help me, very likely, it's for future ov ca patients, but who knows.

Rolling with it. I'm still rolling with it. Ten years with stage four serous epithelial ovarian cancer. I toggle a bit between denial, wishful thinking, and debilitating anxiety, but I don't think I'm letting it get me down.

3 people like this post.
5 people threw a punch at your cancer.
Gina, Sterling sent you a prayer.
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Every time I think of you, you post! A friend went on a yoga retreat and I thought of you. I’m happy you have a good husband. You have such a good attitude and the last 4 years of your posts seem different than previous posts, like you found some kind of insight, some wonderful insight, actually after your brain tumor was removed. Whatever it is, I’m very happy you are in a good place. Love to you and husband😘.
1 Very Palpable Hit likes this comment
Thanks so much, Marcia. Your comment rings true. It hadn’t occurred to me ad such, but I would agree. So nice that we are connected in this way. Keep well. The world is a better place with you in it. Hugs-Palp
Marcia likes this comment
WOW. What a wonderful post. Keep on rolling!!!! Let's see some pix of your new house!
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I will☺️
Prayers for comfort 🙏
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I've been thinking about you lately
I know it has been along time since we chatted on here. But you were just a mental boost for me. So I'm here for you.
Prayers my friend


Chat chat chat away.
1 Very Palpable Hit likes this comment
How warm and kind, Gina. Thank you! I miss our chats. Stay healthy as ya can, ok? ❤️
Keep on rolling, happy to hear all your updates. New House, part-time work....YOU are an inspiration!!
All the Best fellow Canadian!!
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Vital Info

Posts

July 10, 2011

Ontario, Canada

June 15, 1976

Cancer Info

Ovarian Cancer

June 28, 2011

Stage 4

over 6.1

Grade 3

Yes

The losses of my future and a good deal of my present.

You are as much about what you don't do as what you do.

You all do it. :)

Complementary therapies of massage, acupuncture, diet, meditation, yoga, tai chi, prayer, and naturopathic medicine.

supraclavicular (aka scalene) lymph nodes, both right and left; pelvic, abdominal lymph nodes; fallopian tube. Brain 2016. Para aortic lymph nodes 2018.

They all want my tissue.

The gift of your presence is especially important.

Seek out all possible solutions.

Accept all the love and support that comes your way and marvel.

November 23, 2011

April 11, 2012

Twice so far.

I found a lump in my neck above my collarbone, and I had been having shortness of breath when speaking and exercising. Also tightness of upper chest when exercising.

TBD, Feb 2016 - Brain

Ovarian Cancer Walk of Hope http://my.e2rm.com/personalPage.aspx?registrationID=1242519&langPref=en-CA&Referrer=http%3a%2f%2fovariancanada.org%2fWalk-of-Hope%2fHome

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