How it Feels While “Waiting for Answers”

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I first read about Riley in our local newspaper. Riley lives about 40 miles from where I live, her discovery of ovarian cancer at only 18 years old had to have been a nightmare beyond any we can imagine. Reading her blogs has and is an inspirational read. I know you'll be touched by this as I was. Read one of Riley's posts below.
Sharon Leigh

It has been about a week since my surgery and I am still in shock with everything that has happened since that first visit to the doctor… but especially at the miracles Dr. O’Hanlan made happen! I see such a huge difference in my stomach now that all the tumors are removed and although I don’t know the severity of my diagnosis yet, I am feeling so much better. Thank you so much to everyone who commented and left encouraging words. Reading all of your personal stories and battles with cancer has reminded me I’m not alone, that there is hope, and to stay strong even as this journey begins for me.

The fear I have has not gone away, due to so many unanswered questions, but reading and talking to people I can relate to really has helped. Although everyone’s support has made my outlook on this situation so much brighter, I still cannot believe this is my life…

It’s crazy to me to think that three short weeks ago I was living my life just like any other teenage girl and now I am here desperately waiting for results to tell me how bad my CANCER is. It seems so unreal. I remember when I first heard the doctor say the word “Cancer” in the same sentence as my name. My life flashed before my eyes and I did not know what to do next. I realize now that ignoring it and pretending this is all a dream that I will soon wake up from is so much easier than facing the truth, but I understand that I do have to come to terms with this to fight it. Often times I find myself wondering why this had to happen to me and why my family was chosen to go through this, but at the same time I am happy It was me who was chosen to go into this war because I could not bare to see one of my siblings or friends go through all of this. I am staying positive and I am keeping my smile on my face, but it is still so hard to sit here showered with flowers and “Get well soon” cards knowing I am fighting a battle that so many people haven’t been able to win, and that scares me. It feels so good to get all this love, but breaks my heart that cancer is the reason why.

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Current condition: I feel great...

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I'm feeling great, not 100 % yet but pretty close. My personal trainer has helped tremendously, I'm getting stronger each time we train together. This is so important to me since I want to feel like the person I used to be, the desire to be as I once was.

That might be an unachievable goal, my family thinks I'm very negative, I feel I'm more of a realist. It's tough dealing with cancer three times and believe it's gone for good.

That's being realistic.

I'm setting up my appointment for a Pet scan, I'm being somewhat of a coward as I don't want to hear anything but this: "It's Gone".

Since I have been feeling so well I've started upgrading my house, first a new garage door then new flooring in one of my bathrooms. One could consider this a downside to feeling better because now I'm spending money. There is nothing wrong with my garage door or the flooring in the bathroom.

Why am I making these changes? Because it makes me feel good. We cancer patients deserve feeling better after the nightmare we've been through. That's my opinion anyway. Our skiing trip is coming up soon I was beginning to get worried that the snow pack would be more of a block of ice. Praise God the snow is coming back. Yea !!

Keep me in your prayers as I don't want to come back with a broken clavicle, that has already happened on another ski trip.

In Jesus,
Sharon Leigh

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Feeling Great, How Good is That?

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I finished radiation last Monday, what a relief! The treatments were very short and easy, at times I'm very tired, well let's say a lot of the time. After finishing, I was given a certificate of completion. Going through this was tedious but the personnel actually made it a piece of cake, they were great.

On that same day I canceled my membership to my gym and signed on with a another. I explained my health issues then asked for a personal trainer who would listen, and most of all, hear what my goals are. I'm planning on a ski trip in March, probably seems risky, well let's face it, it is risky, with compromised bone marrow and being very weak after 10 months of treatments. My family is a little against me going. Oh well I'm going anyway.

Getting back to my personal trainer, I couldn't be happier, he served in the Marines. That in itself works for me as we are a family of Marines going back to WW2. Ron is his name, Ron has his Masters in Physical education, a Bachelors in Social Science and he taught grammar school for 33 years. Very qualified for me plus he's my age. He listens then designs my workout, I already feel better and am somewhat surprised that my body responds as if I haven't missed all of this time. Yea!!

Of course the exhaustion kicks in and then it's time to lay on the couch. Recuperation takes time and I'm impatient, I'm also not in a hurry to find out what the next Pet Scan will show, I'm just wanting to enjoy the moment. That's my story for now.

Many blessings In Jesus,
Sharon Leigh

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Radiate

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A new day, a new adventure. Radiation... and thought I was already radiant:))

As I go through my second adventure with Ovarian Cancer first I dealt with the chemotherapy... now radiation. I've had nine treatments with more to go. It has been really easy, 10 minutes on the table and then you're done; hard to believe anything can be so precise. In the first appointment they explain everything to you, that is, the size of the tumor, how many treatments you will receive, how this can affect your body, and then you're ready for the tattoos they use to know exactly where to direct the rays.

The first seven treatments were easy, then after the eight I became very sick with an extremely nauseous stomach accompanied by exhaustion, the only time I was able to get out of bed was when I ran to the bathroom.

Now I'm dependent on anti-nausea medication, hoping this will all end soon. We who suffer with this type of disease and treatments know what an ongoing nightmare we live in, sometimes optimism is hard to find.

I'm not really a negative person I just want my life back, there's so much to do yet. I'm already planning the next Fashion/Seminar luncheon our foundation has. There will be so much to share with our guests, Education is key to our health.

I'll have a lot to talk about.

Blessings,
Sharon Leigh

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I Love the Christmas Season

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Haven't bought a tree for awhile, I had lost the happiness that was once here in my home during the holidays, sadness had piggybacked in with no warning.

My front and back yard decorations used to compete with Disneyland at Christmas. I loved it! Inside was the same with homemade decorations Mom made, a beautiful flocked tree, the scent of cinnamon and apple spice permeating from the kitchen.

This year has now changed my entire thinking, I want to celebrate life, I want to celebrate my Savior's birthday. What changed? It started with the thought of dying from the ongoing fight with ovarian cancer, my heart was crying out why wasn't this nightmare over with yet? Eight months of this for me was enough I felt. After all the stage of OC was a one, well I recently was told the stage is three not one.

No more chemotherapy Yea! That alone almost killed me. it's on to radiation, I realized my conversation and deep feelings were very negative, I was not going to survive, " Prepare the Trust," get the will ready, make sure my kids knew my plans for the memorial service. It was getting very dark here in my world.

Much too dark for me, I'm normally a very up happy person, why would I let this destroy me? Satan loves to attack us in that manner, keep us down convince us there's no hope. "Wrong"

Our hope is in Jesus, He is the reason for the Season. Now my attitude has changed, I temporarily forgot, being so caught up with the latest reports.

The front yard is now lit up with trees, Angels, gifts and of course reindeer. The snow flocked tree is standing watch over my living room, decorations are being taken out of their dusting boxes.

I want to live again being thankful for what the Lord has given me, Christmas is such a special time. Family together again, lots of noise in the house, way too many dishes in the sink. How I love it!

Merry Christmas in Jesus
Sharon

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Veterans Day

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November 11, 2015

About 15 years ago we visited Arlington national cemetery, seeing first hand the graves of our soldiers who died to give us our freedom, it was an emotional experience. We also discovered that not only current burials are there but Civil War burials too, with one tomb reading "Unknown Soldiers."

The home on which the cemetery grounds are located belonged to Robert E. Lee, he became known as a traitor, the house and property were taken away from him.

I see a kindred relationship in this history with our own ongoing battle with OC (ovarian cancer).

General Lee along with today's leaders fought for their lives every time they went into battle, as we do when going through chemotherapy and surgery.

There are days when we are confident we are winning and others when we can't see the victory ahead of us.

We are like the suffragette women "Strong ! Willing to keep up the fight, confident we will persevere."

In comparisons with other wars and battles some of us won't walk away as winners, we won't become president of the United States of America, we will though be rewarded with .... "The Bronze Metal" for meritorious service in a combat zone.

May God bless you and God bless America.

Sharon Leigh Rude

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018
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Ovarian Cancer

This year in America Ovarian cancer will strike an estimated 25,500 women, and kill more than 14,000! Ovarian cancer remains the deadliest gynecologic malignancy and the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States.

What’s the problem? There is no early detector for Ovarian Cancer!

It’s been 25 years since a test for ovarian cancer was introduced to help diagnose this disease.
Should this get your attention, YES!
Should you do something about it? Yes!

I sailed along in life eating well, working out regularly, I didn’t smoke, didn’t have a drinking problem, only the occasional glass of wine. When one day I was told you have cancer. I have what! Wake up Sharon you have ovarian cancer.

It was found in the first stage, why? the early detection exams listed below found my cancer. I grant this there was a history in my family as my sister died from ovarian cancer. My question has always been this, I was examined for eight years before this was found.

Why can’t these tests be used as a regular, early detection tool for the discovery. All of the reports indicate that there is not substantial evidence to back this up. I am not an MD I am just a person who wants to do something about women suffering and dying unnecessarily. These women are not the only ones suffering, their family members are with them every step of the journey.

1a blood test of the serum CA 125 level (CA 125 is a high level of protein in the body)

2 transvaginal ultrasonography (TVU)

3 a pelvic exam

There is a new biomarker ...that has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for making a diagnosis of Ovarian cancer but only for monitoring the recurrence and progression of epithelial ovarian cancer. HE4 it will improve the ability to properly treat women in whom ovarian cancer has been diagnosed. The hope is it will be used in the future for an actual early detection in conjunction with the CA 125 serum.

Lets hope and pray that soon there will be the early detection break through we have been waiting for and end this nightmare.

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