When you're diagnosed with any kind of cancer, it's easy to feel isolated and alone. Sharing your story with others in support group, as a mentor, as a presenter in the Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women's Lives program can be cathartic for you AND can inspire others.
If you have a story to share, please reach out to us at COCA@Colo-OvarianCancer.org.
My name is Marcy Newman and I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer on August 21, 2014. At only the age of 47, my diagnosis came as a surprise, as I had been dealing with fibroids for years, and the cramping and having menstrual cycles I experienced and thought were due to the fibroids, were my only symptoms.
Again, because I had fibroids for many years, the intensity of the monthly cramping and discomfort had gotten to the point where I felt my life was compromised.
I finally decided to have the fibroids removed, and through a pre-surgical biopsy cancerous cells were discovered. I was immediatley referred to a gynecologic oncologist, and 2 weeks later I had a de-bulking surgery and my cancer diagnosis. Because I had a strong family history of breast cancer, I also underwent genetic counseling and testing and just prior to my surgery, I dicovered that I was also BRCA1+.
My front line treatment protocol was part of a phase 1 clinical trial during which I received Paclitaxel, Carboplatin, Avastin and a PARP Inhibitor. Once I completed the standard 6 rounds of chemotherapy, I stayed on Avastin as a maintenance drug and received it monthly, until my CA125 began rising and my official recurrence was "diagnosed" in November of 2015.
From that point on, I have been managing my cancer through a variety of treatment protocols. I have used Estrogen Inhibitors, PARP Inhibitors, traditional chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, clinical trials and even immunotherapy. I have used eastern medicine along the way to support the rest of my body in sustaining itself throughout the course of ongoing treatment. In addition to homeopathy and diet modification, I also receive Reiki and Acupuncture on a regular basis. I believe it is a combination of both
eastern and western modalities that have kept my body strong and able to experience long periods of stability despite ongoing treatment.
What has been most important to me along the way is to keep on living. Connecting with other survivors helps to normalize my situation and make me feel a part of a larger community. I also keep moving and living…participating in the world….finding joy in the small things….appreciating the miracles of nature and keeping proper perspective as to what a small piece of life this disease is. While I may have cancer, it does not define me.
We may not all find a cure, but it is important to realize that we can LIVE while we have this disease.