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My sister was misdiagnosed or maybe it was under-diagnosed in Feb 2010. The Ultrasound image showed a small spot. One might even call it a shadow. That's what her Doctor called it, not large, not clear, not threatening. The Doctor felt it was not something to be worried about at all. He was sure it was not the root of any of her health concerns. The irregular bleeding, the sore back, the cramping, the bloating, the unexplained feeling of 'yuk', all of her symptoms could be explained by other logical reasons, menopause consumed most of them. The weight lose was brushed off because of her physically active job. The feeling of fatigue and anxiety was explain away because of our mother's health and how that was affecting Cathee. We buried Mom August that year.
Cathee's health rapidly went down after Mom's death. Again she was misdiagnosed, this time with C-diff. Understandably, that was the infection that the doctors could not bring under control with mom which played a contributing factor in her death. A highly contagious infection. All five of us siblings spent weeks with mom so it was not a surprise that one of us would've contracted C-diff. While the doctor spent precious time treating this the cancer was growing. So quickly, so angrily consuming her.
A short time before Cathee's 50th birthday in Sept, 6 months after her shadow appeared, she was diagnosed with stage 3 aggressive ovarian cancer. The diagnosis was 15% chance of survival in 5 years. She fought everyday for 5 years and 2 months. She hounded doctors, she researched, she drank drinks I don't think I could even have in my home, let alone consume. If you were near Sherwood Park and wondered if there was a shortage of kale and asparagus for a few years that was my sister being healthy.
It would take me days to share the whole story of her journey. It would take me weeks to share the journey of those who's lives were altered. I don't know the tally of surgeries, how many days that stretched to weeks she spent in hospital beds. How many new friends she made on the way and how many old friends she connected with. I don't think there are enough numbers to count how many tears were cried for Cathee, for her family, for her friends.
It was not a shadow, it was not non-threatening. It was ovarian cancer it could have all been so different if we knew. If she knew to have the test redone, if she knew to have a CA125 test. If she knew. If we knew. If someone knew, so very different.
I am still haunted by the nightmare I had weeks after her diagnosis, I dreamt the whole story, I woke in tears, when I realized I was dreaming I felt peace, thank God this was only a dream. I would tell her in the morning. Maybe it was a premonition, maybe she could get her doctor to run some tests. Then I realized my dream was our reality, the sadness was real, the shadow was cancer and my sister was dying. I cried....
Thank you for reading this far! I love you for taking the time to listen a little to my sisters story. I miss my blister, my BFF, my confidant and my cheerleader and on occasion my nemesis. Help me educate and bring awareness in whatever way you can.
Below are the words of Ovarian Cancer Canada message they would love to share with the world:
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.
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