E’s Ovarian Cancer Journey

As you may know, September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Jenny and I have written before about why this is an important cause for our family – we lost my mom to the disease nearly 25 years ago. The cause took on another meaning for us at the beginning of this year, though, when our friend Elizabeth was diagnosed. We’re honored to have Elizabeth as a guest poster today, to share the journey she is on. I find her incredibly inspiring, and I know you will too.
— Emily


When I started blogging four years ago, I never dreamt I’d be a *guest blogger* some day.  We were beginning the process of adopting our son from China and I figured blogging would be a great way to keep family, and a few friends, in the loop.  Mostly because I’m lazy and didn’t feel like giving updates fifteen different times.  So my blog, EEK… I have a blog, was born.  (EEK are my initials.  I thought it was terribly creative at the time.  Now I wish I could have a re-do.)

Steve, Olivia, Quinn, Turner, and Elizabeth

What started as an *adoption blog* became a pretty typical mommy blog.  It morphed into a grief blog as I lost my mom fifteen months ago.  And then in January, it turned into something I NEVER wanted it to be… a coping with Cancer blog.  And here I am today, a *guest blogger* because I am currently surviving Ovarian Cancer.

Last winter I went to visit my family doctor because of some crazy bloating (lovely, I know).  I’m talking; the* I looked pregnant* kind of bloating.  I no sooner had the word *bloated* out of my mouth and my doc had a diagnosis out of his mouth, Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  We had a good chuckle over this *old lady diagnosis.*

He asked if I was stressed.  Three kids four and under, the holiday season and the recent death of my mother.  Stress?  Check!  Drink more water, exercise and take fiber pills.  If it didn’t get better, I was to see him again after the New Year.

Over Christmas I gained 10 lbs in two weeks.  I was a faithful attendee of Weight Watcher meetings and knew FOR SURE I wasn’t simply overdoing it on the cookies.  When I went back he gave me a lecture about changing metabolisms; blah blah blah.  I was irritated but thankful when he sent me for a CT scan.  His nurse called me the evening of my scan.  The doc wanted to see me the next morning.  She had no other information.  I was smart enough to know that when a doc wants to see you immediately, it is NOT good news.

The events of the next week are a complete blur and yet deeply etched in my mind’s eye.  “The good news is all of your major organs look good.  Blood work shows healthy function of all of them.  BUT there are some masses on your ovaries that I am very concerned about.  I’m not going to use the *C* word, but I am going to set you up with a really great oncologist.”

That was Tuesday, by Friday morning; I was on the operating table with a full hysterectomy and a diagnosis of Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer.  They would give me a few weeks to recover from surgery, which also included the removal of a small part of my intestines and a fatty flap (which has a fancy name that I can’t remember) in my abdomen, and then I would begin six rounds of intense chemotherapy.

The questions, the fears, the anger, the despair that followed were intense.  What would we do with our three kids during intense chemo?  Would I survive this?  What would I look like bald?  What if I couldn’t tolerate the chemo?  What if it didn’t work?  I had panic attacks.  I couldn’t sleep at night.  I cried a lot.

Yet in the midst of it all, what held me up, what got me through was/is my faith that God is in control.  He provided so many things in that season.  In fact, He used many of YOU to do so.  Mommin’ It Up and several other bloggy friends held a fund raiser so that we could afford to hire a part time nanny to help us out.  Without her help (and those of you who gave) I honestly don’t know what we would have done.

E in May 2011

Chemo was a rough road.  Being bald is no fun.  Not having energy to do the things as a mommy I normally do was humbling.  Asking for help is NOT my strong suit, but I learned how to do so quickly.  My kids are comfortable with the word Cancer.  They are sensitive to people who are different.  Cancer is not a death sentence at our house.  They know how to pray.  They see that God is a healer and a comforter.

Friends, true friends, are those who sit with you during chemo. They pray for you, non-stop.  They make you meals.  They take your kids.  They do fund raisers for you.  They send money when they don’t know you just because they can imagine what it would be like to be in your shoes.

I had a CT scan two weeks ago and have once again been declared Cancer-free.  I am thankful for that.

E at her Cancer-Free party in July 2011

My hair is growing back.  My energy is 100%.  In most ways, life has returned to normal.  I’m still trying to figure out what Cancer has/is teaching me.  What it’s teaching our family.  What it might want to teach you.  Honestly, I don’t know.  I do know that God is going to use it.  I just don’t want to miss it.

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11 Replies to “E’s Ovarian Cancer Journey”

  1. My jaw dropped at the words, “My energy is 100%”. You are amazing!, my energy isn’t ever at 100% and I’ve never had cancer. Your story is very inspiring.

  2. Amen! What an inspiring story . . . you may have touched, or are touching lives – even at this moment – who you may not know of, and may never know until you meet them face to face at Heavens Gates. What a beautiful Child of God with a beautiful story of God’s faithfulness! Again, AMEN!

  3. Love it, E! Not the cancer, of course, but all God is doing in your life, your honesty and transparency and seeing people defy the stereotype of “egocentric Americans.” Must admit it all still brings tears to my eyes.

  4. Thanks for having Emily guest post. I’ve been wondering how she was doing, and reading this made me really happy (happy tears!!). May God continue to bless Emily and her family — her little ones need her!!!

  5. I didnt know E before Mommin it Up told us about her. from the very first day i have read every post. This was a journey of strength that i am so blessed to have been a part of. I hope that one day, years from now you will go back and re-read your posts. TRULY A WORK OF GOD. you have inspired me and reinforced that He IS IN CONTROL through it all. Thanks ladies for the guest blogger!!!

  6. This link was sent to me via a friend on facebook, right after I was diagnosed with Ovarian and Uterine cancer a month ago. I had already battled Cervical cancer (twice) and won (twice). My mother passed away from cancer at 41, leaving behind 5 children. I was diagnosed at the same age she was, 39. I had my surgery two weeks ago (a total hysterectomy) and am already feeling better. I was like you, not sure what to take away from the ‘cancer experience’. At first I was angry…I have two kids…how could this happen to my mother AND me? But then I realized that I don’t know what my mother would have looked like after age 41. Would my kids have called her Grandma or something else? Cancer inspired me to make my ‘Bucket List’ and not only do the the things that I want to do, but do the things my mother never got to do. So I hug my kids tighter, let things go that would normally bother me, say ‘I Love You’ more often to more people, and start crossing things off my list.

    You are an amazing woman, with a beautiful family. And CANCER FREE!!

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