September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month

adarryladarryl No Man Stands So Tall As When He Stoops To Help a Child. Icrontian

I recently changed my profile picture to a teal ribbon which is the banner for ovarian cancer. This month is set aside as the time to recognize, not commemorate, ovarian cancer. In April, my wife was diagnosed with Stage 3c epithelial ovarian cancer, had two major surgeries and is now half way through her chemotherapy in an effort to arrest, not cure, her cancer. Only 40% of the women diagnosed with this stage of the disease survive 5 years from point of diagnosis. I have told friends and family that our world just stopped spinning when we received the diagnosis and prognosis. When the one you hold most dear is in peril, life takes on a whole new meaning. I thought I would pause for the moment and tell you about Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and my beloved.

My wife's name is Cathy. As an online gamer, she was known as "SwissMiss." She doesn't do that anymore preferring the single player genres such as Far Cry 3, 4 and Primal. She is an adventure gamer who loves titles such as, Syberia and Bioshock and their sequels. Cathy is my best friend and my fishing partner. She can handle a 20' bass boat with the best of men and a true master of fishing the plastic worm. As a school teacher, she is the best I have ever seen. Students of all ages from Kg - 12th grade have flocked to her with any and all problems from academic to social emotional benefiting from her charm, wisdom and grace. She is a people person who has compassion, forgiveness and unconditional love for all. She lights up a room whenever and wherever she enters. I am blessed to have her as my spouse.

When her oncologist met us in pre-op to escort her for her second surgery, I told him, "She is the only reason I draw breath; please take good care of her." A tear fell from his eye as did mine after we spoke. To lose her would cut my heart out. I am prayerful that I will not, but there is NO CURE for ovarian cancer only remission which is all too temporary. Today, we are cancer survivors; tomorrow we don't know. That is the ugly truth of all ovarian cancers. There is no tomorrow, only today.

Please reflect on the women in your life and the significance of September as Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.



  • adarryladarryl No Man Stands So Tall As When He Stoops To Help a Child. Icrontian

    In 2017, approximately 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States and approximately 14,000 will die from it. It is the 5th leading cause of cancer deaths for women. Its cause is unknown though the presence of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genes increase a woman's risk. Genetic risk may also exist in families who have a history of other types of cancer. It mostly effects older women though my wife is an exception to this trend. Pregnancy and taking birth control pills tends to lower a woman's risk most likely due to the impact of these events on her hormonal system.

    Ovarian cancer is insidious and cannot be detected through yearly routine OB-GYN exams designed to check for cervical or uterine problems. Trans-vaginal ultrasound and the CA-125 blood marker test are definitive though are seldom used unless a woman is reporting other symptoms. As a result, ovarian cancer tends to be detected only in its late stages when it is much harder to treat.

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    I'm really sorry to read about your lovely wife's diagnosis. If you have any fundraiser links or links to support a cancer charity of your choice, feel free to post them here; we often wish there was some small thing we can do to help but often don't know how. Hang in there, man. Anything this community can do for you, we'll do our best.

  • adarryladarryl No Man Stands So Tall As When He Stoops To Help a Child. Icrontian
    edited September 2017

    Thank you. I really appreciate the thought. To honor this month, my wife and women you care about, pass on this information. Women need to know that their yearly visit with their OB-GYN is not good enough. A woman needs to request the CA-125 blood marker test especially if they are experiencing any unusual symptoms like abdominal pain, irregular cycles or tender spots in the abdomen. Many times ovarian cancer is wrongly diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in the earliest stages when it is most treatable. If you have a loved one who is experiencing irritable bowel type symptoms, encourage them to see their OB-GYN and get the CA-125 blood test done. Wear a teal ribbon in September!

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