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Abbreviations & Acronyms
dx diagnose, diagnosis
FSH follicle-stimulating hormone
IBS irritable bowel syndrome
IVP intravenous pyelogram — study to look at the kidneys and ureters
NED no evidence of disease
s/s signs & symptoms
SLS second-look surgery
TAH / BSO total abdominal hysterectomy / bilateral salpingectomy and oophorectomy — removal of, respectively: uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries
tx treat, treatment
US ultrasound
WAR whole abdominal radiation
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Donna McNulty

Submitted on 08/28/2003
I wasn't feeling well for quite a long time....I'm 49 years old and was told that I was entering into peri-menopause. My stomach had swollen to the degree that none of my pants fit me. They told me that this was normal for a woman to gain up to ten pounds in the midriff area during menopause. I had gas and bloating constantly accompanied by nausea and indigestion. They began treating me for Acid Reflex. When I tried to eat, it would be only a few bites and then I would be full. I had to urinate all the time. I could only go a small amount and then felt like I had to go again. They told me I had a bladder infection and treated me. My stomach was becoming tender, so much bigger....and the fatigue is indescribable. I thought that my hypothyroid condition was acting up, especially because of my exhaustion and that I was putting on weight. My husband Nick, daug. Carrie, and sister Terry, told me that it seemed as though I was sleeping my life away. I stopped going to work. I no longer could get a good night's rest. While in bed I could only lay in certain positions. When I tried to sleep on my back, I felt something in my stomach; something I knew didn't belong there. It caused pressure on the inside of my stomach....and pushed into my back. Just by touching my stomach, I could outline the object. It was the size of a grapefruit. I felt like I was pregnant but knew I wasn't. The medical field had me convinced that I was a hypochondriac, now I knew I wasn't. The Doctor finally agreed on July 23, 2001, that there was something there and sent me for an US. What made me angry was that it took 3 weeks for this appt. The day after she got the results, she told me it showed two large bilateral masses and was going to send me for a CS and make an appt. with a Gyn. It took another three weeks to get the CS, another three weeks for the Gyn appt. Guess what? The Gyn. canceled my appt. the day before I was to see him. Besides that, no one called with my CS results either. I was so upset by then. The waiting, the fear and anxiety were taking its toll more every day on both my husband and myself. I called crying to the nurse at my doctor's office that it was now the end of Sept. and I still hadn't seen anyone. The doctor then returned my telephone call stating, "She was amazed that I'd not seen anyone and couldn't understand how I became lost in the system". I also gave my doctor permission to talk to my husband and daug. By law they won't release any information to anyone but the patient. Well after reviewing the CS with my daug. Carrie, a nurse, started acting as my advocate. My daug. arranged to have me see a Gyn/Onc. a few days later. He ordered a CA125, which came in at 830.5. Lo and behold, I was operated on Oct. 4th. The diagnosis was Ovarian Cancer, Stage 2B, Level 1. I felt 100% better after the surgery, a little sore but better than I had felt in a very long time. The right ovarian mass weighed in at 4.4 lbs. The left weighed in at 2.5 lbs. and had moved to two other parts of my reproductive system. I don't have the correct name, but a radical hysterectomy was performed. On Oct. 25th I am starting the first of six chemo treatments. I know I may be sick but I'm determined to get started. My husband Nick and I shopped for some outdoor and indoor head coverings for me. My sister Terry, took me to scan catalogues and helped me to choose the style and hair shade of my wig. It is now ordered. Now, I'm ready. I won't be caught off guard when I do begin to lose my hair. The only thing I can't get the family to become involved in is that they all shave their heads with me and we go through this new look together. My husband told me he would but he is afraid that mine will grow back and his won't! You may laugh at me, I know my husband did, but I told my cancer...you're done for, buddy. You don't stand a chance now. With God's help I'm going to do you in. I'm going to keep up that attitude.....he doesn't stand a chance. I'm going to be the winner this time. It is important to keep up a good attitude..it is better you have a sense of humor. Myself, I have a wonderful wicked sense of humor. Just ask my poor husband. He has to live with me. Last, everyone seems to have the same story here.....we wonder what happened. We get misdiagnosed, told it is in our heads or we get lost in the system. While some, don't listen to their symptoms and live in discomfort. We ask how could it have taken so long for someone to listen to us? Please get those second, third opinions in.....Don't let them put you off. We know our bodies. They don't. It is up to us to educate the medical field, not to ignore the symptoms we are experiencing. It is vitally important to get diagnoses as early as possible. Hugs to all.......God bless and take care

February 2002: Update from Donna -- She celebrates her 50th birthday! (Shown here with grandson Joseph)

Donna and grandson Joseph celebrate her 50th birthday

Donna was dx. with a reoccurance on Oct 1, 2002. She has an on going battle with this disease and continues to celebrate life with the arrival of her grandaughter Faith. Her husband, Daug and grandchildren are her cheering section.

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