Stage IIIc Ovarian Cancer... that was the official diagnosis, back in July, when I had surgery. Do a Google on that and you'll get loads of webpages. At first I didn't read them. I followed one school of thought which I'll lightly call, the Ostrich School of Head in Sand. I didn't want to know the statistics and I didn't need to know because I was busy enough having major abdominal surgery and recovering and then chemotherapy took over my life and focus for a good while but now what? What's next? EVERYBODY is asking me that. It's a very obvious question. So, am I done? Have I earned my freedom? Did I pass?
For those who want to know, according to Cancer.org about 3 in 4 women with ovarian cancer live for at least 1 year after
diagnosis. Almost half (46%) of women with ovarian cancer are still
alive at least 5 years after diagnosis. Between 70% and 90% of all women with ovarian cancer, at some point, have a recurrence. Women with advanced (stage 3 and 4) ovarian cancer tend to have multiple relapses and undergo several rounds of chemotherapy. For women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the risk of recurrence varies based on multiple factors, including the stage at diagnosis. About 68% of women diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer, who had successful surgical outcomes, will have recurrence at some point. [Citation: Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (www.ovariancancer.org) and SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975–2005, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, Md., http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2005/]. If ovarian cancer is found
(and treated) before the cancer has spread outside the ovary, the 5-year
survival rate is 94%. However, only 15% of all ovarian cancers are
found at this early stage. Please stop asking me if it was caught early and treated... No. Stage IIIC is advanced, spread, and the 5-year survival rate for what I had is 35%. Now you know.
met with my surgeon yesterday. I asked him if he thought I was cured and he
said, no. ...But but but I was NED (no evidence of disease)! He
explained that due to his actually having been inside my body during the
surgery and his having a vast amount of experience he hopes that I'm
cured but the reality is most cases like mine relapse. I
appreciate his honesty. You might be
asking or want to ask me why I'm writing about this? Because, I want
everyone who comes in contact with me to know. This is why I'm not
having a party to celebrate the end of chemo. This is why I'm happy yet
careful. I'm celebrating and I'm thankful and yet I'm not going to take
anything for granted. It's wonderful to live each day as a brand new
day... coined, "Living Sincerely" by wise cancer survivors. Excited to be alive and planning a bright future yet still very aware and
mindful of my reality. It's fragile. I've graduated from having sand in
my eyes and ears. I'm fully aware of my situation and that's bringing
me to a very safe and happy place... closer to G-d and closer to my family and friends. It's
What's next? That depends. It's impossible to plan these things... (I give you permission to laugh). I decided early on to live on the assumption that I am not only lucky but miraculous. I'm not a statistic because, like I've said before, you're either 100% alive or 100% dead and I know which one I'm choosing if anyone asks. I have a LOT of work to do. Staying alive is a full time job. Breath in. Breath out. I choose happiness! Whether it's for 1 year or 100... I choose to live each day as happy and meaningful as I can make it... for me.