First Year of Ovarian Cancer Remission: A Special New Birthday
JUNE 20, 2008 is a day I will never forget. I was awakened from anesthesia after having been in surgery for 6 hours. My doctor was standing by the bed and when I looked at the clock I knew I had cancer. His words of “I’m sorry,” were kindly said, but they did not stop the tears of sorrow and fear knowing I had ovarian cancer.
On that day I was born into a new life, never to return to the old one again. During that day and the next I heard words of encouragement, prayers, and “sayings” from family and friends. At the time it all seemed empty and meaningless, because I could not talk about, or hear the word, cancer then. I needed time to assimilate what had just happened to me.
Alone in my hospital bed one night I thought how a newborn baby might say, “Stop! All the bright lights and loud voices are too much. I have just entered this new world and I need time to adjust. Just hold me; whisper in my ear; and let me know you are always there for me.” That is what I needed also.
Journaling through Ovarian Cancer Survival
Journaling was a tool I had used many times in my life while coping with family abuse, alcoholic parents, untimely deaths, and divorce. Over many years I have written poetry, short stories, and one novel; or I just put into words whatever I was thinking or feeling. Now, I wrote in my journal several times a day as I sorted out my feelings, wrote out questions, and planned for my future. Writing is like meditating for me, and it helps me to clarify my mind, and get my heart in the right place. I did not worry about grammar or structure…I wrote from my heart and soul.
I have been blessed to have this last year to spend with Jim, the family, and our dear friends. I saw parts of the country I had not seen before. I learned to be more patient and understanding; I became ever closer to God; and I shared tears and laughter with many people. Hopefully I have been able to help others through my words or actions.
On June 20, 2009, in my heart I sang “Happy New-Birthday to Me.” It was a quiet day with people I love in the beauty of the world I treasure. I knew that whatever rainstorms may come my way I would always try to let my light outshine any pain or fear.
Footnote: The symptoms of ovarian cancer are subtle and mimic menopause, menses, colitis, and other common disorders or conditions. If any of the following symptoms persist for 2 weeks, go see your gynecologist and request (or demand) an abdominal ultrasound and CA125 blood test.
Here are the symptoms:
- abdominal bloating
- abdominal pain
- frequency in urination
- any change in bowel habits or form
- feeling full at meals sooner than usual
- painful intercourse
Ovarian cancer does not discriminate as to age or race. The youngest documented case is 18 months old; also an 8 year old; and some teenagers. Know your family history and if you are at risk. http://www.mayoclinic.com/ovariancancer.
Karen Ingalls recently celebrated her 5th birth-day of being in remission without any recurrences. She continues to journal, writes a weekly blog at www.OutshineOvarianCancer.blogspot.com and is in the editing phase for her novel to be published. Ms. Ingalls does presentations about ovarian cancer to churches, service organizations, and book clubs; and is an active volunteer with the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Florida.
She is a retired Registered Nurse with a Master’s Degree in Human Development; author of the award-winning book Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir; and a survivor of ovarian cancer. Proceeds from the book go to ovarian cancer research.
http://www.BeaversPondBooks.com is offering a 20% discount on Karen’s book during the month of September