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Today, thousands of Canadian women are living with ovarian cancer and another 2,800 will be diagnosed this year.
Each of these women is central to a family. Every one of these women has people who love her. Just being there to support and honor her means everything. That’s why I’m participating with thousands of others at the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope.
The Walk celebrates the hope I carry with me every day – the hope for a future without this disease.
This year’s goal is to raise $2.1 million. Every dollar I raise supports Ovarian Cancer Canada, the only national charity entirely dedicated to this important cause. Funds will be used to provide support, increase awareness, and fund vital research so that we can change the future for the women we love.
Please provide your support by giving generously. Better yet, if you are up for a challenge this September, come out and join me. Together we can make a difference.
The Fall of 2010 was beautiful weather-wise got more golfing done then during the summer. Beginning of October I started feeling off not sick just off. After two weeks of this went to the doctor and was prescribed Pantoloc for indigestion. One week later.
A normal day, got up Dave made me breakfast and I went to work. Shortly after lunch I came home not feeling right and curled up on our bed. When Dave discovered me he insisted we go to emergency. This time I didn’t protest just went. Prior to this I felt discomfort and just didn’t feel right not sick just not right. I remember sharing with a friend saying it’s not the flu just icky but still functioned went to work did what needed to be done. On two occasions while walking was stopped dead in my tracks from abdominal pain it passed I moved on. Would get up go to work, come home make supper do laundry, clean up feeling tired no guilt in that. I worked all day.
Once in emergency I saw a doctor who listened to what I said, examined me and said he was calling the gynecologist on call. He arrived and examined me and ordered some tests blood work, x-rays and an ultra-sound on a Sunday. He shared that he just came to Canada been here two weeks, we joked with him that he should be playing with the Riders, they could use his help for he was built like a football player not a gynecologist.
The results to the tests were coming in and it was getting late. I asked can I go home ? He replied waiting for one result. When the doctor returned he looked at us and said I can’t send you home I believe you have cancer. I laid there wondering Now what? Then turned to my husband then to my doctor and saw tears. Thinking oh my goodness it will be different in the morning. Then I was told that there were no beds and I was staying in emergency. A bed was later found in Maternity after being admitted I asked if they had any information on ovarian cancer. They took me into this room gave me these manuals, I looked it up started reading my heart stopped and quickly realized “this is not good” for some reason I questioned the age of the manual opened the front cover and read the year 1996 and decided research should of come up with something. I was given a sedative and slept a little. Waking up I was still in the hospital, this was not a dream, it was real.
The doctor came shortly and said to me Karen this is not good you are going to have to promise me one thing “You will have to be strong and do everything you can to beat this.” I will pray for you and gave me a hug I will never forget . Now what? Later that day I was told surgery as soon as possible “tomorrow”. Reality was starting to sink in this was real. Oh my who was going to tell the children, my parents, sister, family and friends? The hospital was having a planned power outage for repairs and all the patients would have to be relocated for 24 hours. I told my doctor I would wait to have my surgery after the outage, so I was sent home on a pass. Our children arrived we visited, baked then the call came for my pre-op. How was I going to do that and go to the Johnny Reid concert after all I had tickets. I explained this to my doctor he said he would make it work. I arrived at the doctor’s office was taken right in, what needed to be done was done. I was told to enjoy the concert and he would be waiting for me at the hospital after the concert. Still cannot believe he did this for me!
Surgery, Friday October 29,2010 @ 11:30am. Surgery took longer than they thought, tumor was the size of a orange but was floating had not attached to any thing. I had a hysterectomy and bilateral salpringe-asphorectomy. Now to wait for pathology reports. And wait.
The doctor called me on November 22 and asked if I received any results I said no he informed me my doctor should have my results. I waited and waited and on November 29 a large envelope arrived from Allan Blair not till Dec. 1 did I receive a call from the doctor’s office knowing what I was to be told I asked if I could see the doctor sooner was told no I would have to wait and I did Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday the longest days of my life. In the meantime I received a call from Allan Blair saying my file was forwarded to the Saskatoon Cancer Clinic because my oncologist was taking time off for she had Cancer as well. Now what? Days later I received a call to meet with my new oncologist in Saskatoon for my treatment plan. I arrived with my husband and sister and my treatment plan is explained to us. We had no start date because of work load they would call when I had an appointment. I would just have to wait. Karen, be sure to have your hair piece in place your hair will fall out quickly. This was Dec. 12, two days later they called with an appointment my first chemo was Dec. 19 Round one.
We left in a snow storm Sunday afternoon. Our son David and his soon to be wife Crystal met us in Saskatoon our daughter Audrey joined us later. We went out for supper tried to have a normal visit, took my pre chemo drugs and waited for morning. Early at the Cancer Clinic all hooked up, can’t breathe, turn beet red allergy reaction. Now what? Call the doctor check my heart adjust the meds get all hooked up the nurse reassures us that this is quite common. My six hour cocktail begins. We need to get out of here as soon as we can because the final decision on my hair piece has to be made.
David and Crystal leave for Regina. Audrey comes home with us. Our daughter Krysta is waiting for us at home. My nephew has his school concert tomorrow and I will be there!
Christmas was great it was all about family and friends how nice to have both. New Years was difficult we were left alone and I wondered if I would see another one.
April 2011 finished chemo. That was the scariest day of my life no more drugs to kill this demon, what if it keeps growing? You take each day by day wanting things to be normal. What is normal? Normal isn’t normal. Things just aren’t the same and you slowly adjust to a new normal. Just wanting to leave this cancer beast behind.
Stats are stats. 2600 women will be diagnosed this year. 70% will not survive 5 years. If caught early 90% will survive. Where do you want to be? The most important thing is know your body. All symptoms are vague. As women we know we need to listen to our bodies and know when to investigate if something is wrong. After all if our spouse or children were hiding something we would find it right? Always take that bit of time for yourself. It could mean your life!
As I reflect back on all of this I feel blessed for everything that has happened. My best friend stood by my side all the way. Our children were great. My sister a warrior. My card shark nephew. And every individual that did or showed any kind of good deed or kindness will never be forgotten. There are so many of you.
Everyone’s journey is different. You find your safe places and people these are blessings and we are so grateful. You meet new people make new friends and lose friends along the way. So embrace each day no matter what it brings for it is a gift never to be received again. Life goes on thank God and trust in God. Life is meant to be lived. Greet each day with a smile. Fill your lungs with fresh air and ignore the lady who is complaining about celebrating another birthday!
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