January 19, 2017 – the day that would change my life, the day I would hear the doctor on the other end of the phone say “I have your biopsy results back and they’re not good, you have ovarian cancer. It’s aggressive and we need to get you to an oncologist, quickly.”
There are many things throughout the year that I can’t remember. There are certain things I remember like they just happened. And there are tons of things I can kind of make out in a fog, and others I will stare blankly at you and say I have no idea what you’re talking about – yesterday, I don’t remember how I walked across the street to Imo’s to get my lunch, realized this as I was walking through the lobby of the hotel.
The day started just like any other – I was recovering from surgery a week prior, to remove a “dermoid cyst” the size of cantaloupe. I got up, wished a friend happy birthday, rode with my mom to take the kids to school and came back home to rest. I was giving my doctor until 1pm to call me before I texted her again to see if she had the results yet. I wouldn’t need to text her…the phone call came shortly after my mom stepped out to get lunch, a lunch I would never eat, but one my body desperately needed.
I sat at the kitchen table and waited for her, she could tell by the look on my face I’d talked to the doctor. “Dr. McDonald called, I have ovarian cancer.” My mother basically fell apart, to which I responded by saying “I can’t do this right now, I’ll call someone to come and help you, but I need to find help. I’m going to my room, please just let me figure this out.” I texted Sonya, and told her I couldn’t help my mother at this moment in time, could she please come over as quickly as she could. After receiving a message that she was on her way I picked up the phone to call my friend Anne, a fellow three time (different types) cancer survivor to see who she knew at Siteman Cancer that could tell me where I needed to go and who I needed to see. She had just the person and she worked her magic – I called with nothing but an email copy of the results and got on the books for two weeks later, Anne took the same results and went to the doctor directly, one business day later I’d be walking in to meet with Dr. Hagemann.
Out of everything in the results, the only thing I knew for sure was that it was Grade 3, high grade, and that was NOT good – I needed to get it out as quickly as possible. I had no idea what stage it was, but knew the chances of it being an early stage was rare (I’d find out a few weeks later I got lucky and it was).
The last thing I remember about the day is looking at my phone, rolling over, crying (it was more of a quiet sob) and falling asleep – the same person I’d wished happy birthday to, had texted me, thanked me for the gift I’d sent along with him, and shortly after said it’d been a pretty crappy day – I wouldn’t reply until the next morning, knowing I would need to tell one final person the news.
January 19, 2018 – the day I would take back control and tell cancer to “suck it”. Today, I’m not sitting at home, crying by myself (I’m not sure if I’ll cry today, guess I’ll find out), several of my girlfriends are with me near snow covered mountains. Today, one year later, I’m going to spend the day going down run after run, after run on the mountain with some of my girls. The girls I sent texts/emails to and said “hey, January 19th is my cancerversary, I’m not letting cancer win, wanna go skiing for the weekend?” The majority of whom were able to make it – the others had circumstances out of their control which wouldn’t allow for them to be able to.
One year can change so many things. One year ago, I had no idea what was going to happen or what the outcome would be. One year ago, a fire was lit inside of me that said “oh hell no, I’m not going down like this.” Ovarian cancer, you may have changed my life, but I refuse to let you take away my life – so today, I choose to “celebrate” the day my life changed…probably for the better in more ways than one.
The next few days I’ll have posts and stories galore about all the fun we had – I’ll introduce you to each person with me, and fill you in on a couple that weren’t able to make it over the course of the next month. What I hope you see by all of this, is that despite probably not really being okay with this whole ovarian cancer diagnosis (because really, I’m still not okay with all of this…not even close), I’m making a choice to make the most out of it. I refuse to let cancer win. As Brittany always tells me when I text her a random, “I need to do this, but I really don’t want to…what do you think??” — B: “you know what I think, I think you do it! Because if you don’t you’re letting cancer win, who wants that?!?”
January 19, 2017 – you taught me I can do hard things, I was made to do them. Jamie, Peggy, Jen and Tasha – Thank you! Carrie, we miss you!!