I am a 39 years old Advanced Ovarian cancer survivor who is very happily married to my very best friend and soul mate where we live in San Jose, CA with our Blue Merle Sheltie "Blue Belle" and our Manx cat "Tonto".We have a pretty happy life together most of the time when I'm not fighting this cancer.
Most people would consider me to be a hard headed modern hippie; a very avid supporter of good karma and doing good things for others in life while promoting peace. I always live by the Golden Rule "Treat others how you would want to be treated". Life is way too short to be disgruntled or to feel hatred towards others; so when you are sitting in traffic and the person in front of you drives too slow or just makes you mad; always remember that person's life is worth waiting for.
I also believe strongly in honesty and I don't believe in taking advantage of others. The only way to judge anyone is by their heart and soul and most of all their personality. For example, someone's wallet or personal possessions will never make them a better person; instead its how they treat themselves and others.
I was diagnosed with Stage IIIc Ovarian Cancer on Nov. 15th, 2002. What a nightmare that was to wake up to. I was only going in for a routine surgery to remove a cyst on my right ovary. While I was slowly awaking from that surgery, I kept hearing nurses and doctors saying, "it's Ovarian Cancer stage 3". I kept thinking, "gee, I hope they aren't talking about me." I would go to sleep and wake up, hoping that it was all just a bad dream.
When I finally did wake up, I saw this bright light shining in my face; nearly blinding me for a split second and then as my eyes focused slowly on my finance; he was standing right over my bed smiling at me gently holding the engagement ring that he had given to me when he had first proposed to me nearly six months before. The ring was placed neatly in the beautiful wooden box that it came in and it was open so that I could see it sparkling in the light.
He just told me that he didn't care that I would never bare his children and that he loved me more than anything and was more than ready to help me battle this nasty monster of a disease hand in hand. It was as if he already knew that he was in for the fight of his life. Just hearing those words made me feel better than ever about the dire situation; it warmed my heart.
Instead of focusing on this horrible, horrible lifechanging trauma; I got to plan my very special wedding. My husband and I had originally planned to get married in April, of 2003, but that soon changed. We were married on December 3rd, 2002 just 2 days before my very 1st chemo treatment of Taxol & Carboplatinum and just 9 days after being released from the hospital. We felt the need to be very strong together so that we could beat this terrible disease together, hand in hand.
What a roller coaster ride that was and it still kinda is. We really are what soul mates are often consisted of; parallel similarities in how we both grew up and the amount of fun we always seem to have together, we are also both left handed, our parents are both divorced, fathers are staunch Republicans who are remarried, and our mothers love Obama just as we do.
We have gone through a lot in those nearly 7 years of marriage. We went through 4 more major surgeries after that one, quite a few handfuls of near death experiences, many, many trips to the emergency room, and also many trips to Tahoe for some nice deep powder, trips to the beach, concerts, and we even bought a home together. Despite having had 5 major abdominal surgeries, I still have a good quality of life and I sure love it! I still feel incredibly lucky and am thankful for everyday that I am given. I was incredibly fortunate enough to have had 3 and half years of being cancer free,. The Curse did return in April of 2006. I had started back on Chemo in August of 2006 and I was told that I will remain on chemo indefinitely (for the rest of my life or as long as my body can take it). I was very lucky to be on new drug called Avastin which is made by Genentech. It didn't make my hair fall out while it deprived the tumors of much need blood supply. In May 2007 I was taken off the drug due to some internal bleeding and painful bowel blockages. UPDATE: I just finished some heavy duty chemo for which I started in August 2008 (more Avastin and a pill called Etoposide) with heavy duty side effects; nausea, some hair loss, cramping in the abdominal area, and metal taste in my mouth. I took 3 and half months off of work and just focused on healing. I am still enjoying every waking moment of living! I was able to donate my long hair to "Locks of Love" back in May 2008 (all 16"). I'm still fighting! Another UPDATE: Just had a 5th major Abdominal Surgery on March 15th, 2009. Am still recovering from that surgery and just got rid of a semi-permanent nephostomy bag. I had gotten a serious infection while in the hospital and my kidneys got infected. My right kidney was blocked by either the cancer, scar tissue, or from stitches from the surgery. On June 18th after a 3 hour surgery a stint was inserted successfully into my right ureter. No more nephostomy bag for now!) I had to taken off the chemo because it nearly killed me by rupturing my intestines. Now I just had the 5th major abdominal surgery to remove some tumors on March 15, 2009 and am still recovering from that surgery. Don't get me wrong, that chemo was powerful and knocked the cancer down some. I live for right now and can still have an active style with either one of those things. So yes, my key to life is "Right Now". If you are up for finding out more about my daily adventures, please feel free to visit my blog often (http://shoppingkharma.blogspot.com). Warning: my blog is not meant for the faint hearted as it does come from my deep within my heart much like this website; however it does describes in great detail the pain that I often suffer from, politics, and much more. It might be too controversial for most, but it is honest and real. I certainly hope that you don't feel bad for me at all because my only wish is for you and others is to be happy for what you do have. Just be thankful for all the things that you probably don't think much about but you should. Please realize just how lucky you are if you do have children or even a family or just someone else that loves you unconditionally. None of us know when our time is up and we really have to make the most of right now. Never fret or stress over the past, instead just concentrate on what do in the present that affects the future. I sincerely hope that my honest true story has inspired you. If you happen to know of any cancer patients that you feel could benefit from my experience, please feel free to give them my email address or just send them to this site. Us cancer patients have to take care of one another. An American life is lost to cancer every 21 seconds, that's over 700,000 just in the US which is far more than terrorism. Priorities need to be reevaluated because we really need to focus on this terror and to find a cure in this lifetime.