'The Lemonade Stand' for Ovarian Cancer Research!
I am going to tell a story. It isn’t mine, but it needs to be told, heard, read and pondered repeatedly.
This is my mom (69) - a beautifully resilient woman who has late-stage ovarian cancer. What is most bizarre about this diagnosis is that she has NO ovaries – zilch! Many moons ago, she had a radical hysterectomy that removed her lady nuts (sorry mom, parts). She continued living life merrily with no symptoms, no pain until – wait for it – the loathsome “Big C” had metastasized to her abdomen. We assume mom had cancer for a long time. It’s all so hard to make sense of…
She now has so much cancerous gobbledygook that an operation was a “NO GO.” They zipped her back up after what was hoped to debulk her and slapped her with a plan of 3 rounds of chemo to loosen the clinging scoundrels from her liver, stomach, bowel, and the countless other organs, that if I named individually, would cease to entice the senses and engage attention.
The BIG truth is that her symptoms were a distended belly (a few weeks) and then nausea and vomiting – these brought her to the ER in a flash, even though they weren’t worthy of ER poking and prodding. It just goes to show that you can never be too lax about health oddities…
I had a hunch, after speaking with my mom, that something was amiss, so I left a social gathering on Canada Day to be with her. Fast forward 91 days later (today, September 29th) – her reality has altered 180 degrees since then. Her diagnosis – low grade serous ovarian cancer – emerged from that ER visit and subsequent tests thereafter. She is now a statistic – one in 1000 women who will receive this same diagnosis in the days, weeks, months, and years to come.
The bottom line is, we need improved screening and testing for this disease. A simple blood test – CA 125 – in some cases can reveal such a diagnosis and can mean the difference in preserving precious lives. My mom’s life is an example, like so many others who are suffering identically. Let’s push with whatever might is needed. We need your help!
This story – her story – is ongoing. My mom is in the fight for her life, and she wants to warn other women that pap smears DO NOT screen for ovarian cancer. There is no early detection! If you’ve had a hysterectomy, you are not in the clear. Listen to your body and self-advocate for the CA-125 testing and TVUS (transvaginal ultrasound) if you feel something is not right. Or, if you’re at a higher risk of genetic cancers BRCA1 or BRCA2, get tested! We can only work with what we have right now, and together, push for better! DONATE! DONATE! DONATE! Welcome to The Lemonade General Store’s first ‘Lemonade Stand’ where we virtually sip! Stay tuned to our site for future fundraising events to support women’s health.
Sarah & Marlene (mom)
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