A few weeks after being diagnosed, I found one – ONE! – survivor of Small Cell Ovarian Cancer ( #SCCOHT) on social media. Finding her was an *enormous* mental turning point for me. Someone that was like me. Young, healthy, shocked by her diagnosis. Someone I could turn to. To ask questions, cry, and eventually laugh. Someone who really understood. The hardship, the strength, what this journey would look like. But most importantly – someone who actually LIVED. That meant I COULD TOO!
You know who you are, but you may never truly know what you meant and mean to me. If I can be that to just one other survivor – that small beacon of hope – well that’s has to be part of the silver lining, doesn’t it? I’ll never stop telling my story and sharing anything I can. For me, I think the benefits are innumerable, but here’s a brief summary of my answer to this inevitable question (and yes, people have actually asked!):
Why do you talk about cancer so much?
- So others know they’re not alone;
- To aid in processing my own trauma and ongoing recovery;
- To help cultivate much needed awareness, because…
- Awareness leads to funding and research…
- And Research saves lives!
A few months into treatment, I started a Facebook group for survivors and family members of women facing SCCOHT. It has grown and grown, not due to anything I have done, but because telling your story and supporting each other is SO VALUABLE. We’ve already talked about the importance of finding your tribe, and we will even more in the future. It’s just that important. In case you happen to know anyone that is facing this particular diagnosis (SCCOHT), our group can be found by searching for Small Cell Ovarian Cancer on FB. We hate that anyone needs to find us, but we’re an amazing group of strong women (and men – family!) who support each other through it ALL. I have no doubt the support in and of itself helped me survive.
Before I go, you know I’m going to plug the symptoms of ovarian cancer. They can develop at any stage of the condition. If anything persists for two weeks or more – contact your OBGYN! Your primary doctor may not be as familiar with the symptoms, and especially if you are young, many can be brushed off as gastrointestinal issues, anxiety, muscle pain, etc. It never hurts to get checked out!
- Pelvic or abdominal pain or cramping
- Feeling full quickly after starting to eat or lack of appetite
- Indigestion or upset stomach
- Feeling like you have to urinate more frequently or urgently than normal
- Unexplained exhaustion
- Pain or pressure in the lower back or pelvis
- Bloating and/or constipation
- Increase abdominal girth or abdominal swelling
- Pain while having sex
- Weight loss
- Difficulty breathing
I’m here if you ever need ANYTHING. All three of us are! Love to you all.