Livia's Virtual Run for Ovarian Cancer
My journey began just six months ago at the age of 48.
As a nurse for 20+ years, my focus has been caring and advocating for the health and wellbeing of others. My uncle was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and alongside his family, I was advocating for his care and upcoming Whipple procedure at the end of November 2020. Just days from his surgery, I began having some pain in my right lower abdomen. I went to my doctor's office as the pain worsened when I was laying down and changing positions at night. I was referred to the emergency room for a CT scan. I was soon notified I had a very large tumor growing off my right ovary. That same evening, I was having surgery to remove a 15cm tumor. The mass was adhered to other organs and wall surfaces and ruptured in three locations. I was told if I had waited another week, the outcome would not have fared so well.
In a matter of days, I received the call asking me to come into the surgeon’s office. That’s where I heard the words, you have ovarian cancer. My mind began shifting from being a patient to being a nurse; I instantly wanted to know everything from point A to Z. I soon realized there was no cure, no reliable screening test, and no clear signs or symptoms to go from. Ovarian cancer is known as a silent killer, and I learned why. Cancer struck twice in my family, nearly at the same time. My uncle and I knew our journey would not be easy, but we were blessed to have each other to hold and support.
My chemo plan consisted of six treatments and what seemed to be never-ending side effects including allergic reactions, scalp pustules, vision changes, severe joint/muscle pain, and numbness to my legs and hands. Many of the side effects are still with me today as I work through my recovery phase; every day brings on its own challenges.
My cancer journey has shown me the priorities in life and opened my eyes to what is important and what is not. How do I feel? Scared, overwhelmed, tired, sad, powerful, and blessed. I go through my emotional roller-coaster every day but I look forward to the smiles and joy the day brings. Today is tomorrow’s yesterday – I try to remember this simple phrase to help prioritize what I need to do. What’s passed is the past and I cannot change those things; tomorrow comes with its own unique set of challenges. My focus is on today and what I can do to make a difference.
Today, thousands of Canadian women are living with ovarian cancer and another 3,100 will be diagnosed this year. One in 2 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer doesn't see another 5 years. We deserve better and that's why I'm participating in the 2021 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. Every dollar I raise supports Ovarian Cancer Canada, the only national charity that champions the health and well-being of women with ovarian cancer and others at risk of this disease. Funds will be used to fund vital research, spur advocacy efforts, and provide support so that we can help women with, or at risk of, ovarian cancer.
I am here today to advocate for all the women across Canada and band together to be part of the solution in finding a cure for ovarian cancer. I walk strong alongside my Teal Sisters and their families, friends, and communities. Donate to my fundraising page to help women like myself live fuller, better, longer lives. Together we can make a difference!
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