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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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Tabitha

Submitted on 08/28/2003
Photo of Tabitha WOW! I have written my cancer story in such detail on the web that I am not sure exactly where or how to start a shorter version :~) First of all I would like to say that I have read the personal stories on this site and my heart, prayers, and hugs go out to all of you. What a harsh battle we are in and you are all so very brave! As I read each story tears filled my eyes as I remembered MANY of the feelings you so openly shared. I will keep this short and just add the link where you can view the entire story if you would like to read it.

I was first dx with OVCA in 1995 when I was 21-years-old. I was a young stepmother of two boys and had just been married.

As I think about it now, I really believe I had symptoms for years before this diagnosis. I wish then that I would have known what to look for. Even at the age of 16 I was treated for gastrointestinal problems. At the age of 18, I can remember being treated for a urinary infection (due to the feeling of frequent urination). And even at 21, I reported pains in my abdomen that were constantly discarded as menstrual cramps that come with age. Knowing what I do now, I still don't understand why doctors didn't recognize these symptoms as something much more serious. A pap smear in December of 1994 showed everything was fine, but by the third week in January I was having such severe pains that I couldn't even stand up to wash dishes. On January 27, I was getting ready for my wedding when I fell to the floor and my soon to be husband had to carry me to the couch. I promised him that I would make another appointment with the Gynecologist the following week, and as soon as that week came around that is exactly what I did. The sonogram that the doctor did showed a tumor the size of a cantaloupe (as he described it). My CA 125 had jumped but he assured me that that can happen for many reasons and only surgery would tell him if the tumor was indeed cancerous. I remember going to the grocery store after that visit and just standing in the produce section holding a cantaloupe for what seemed to feel like forever.

The surgery went well and it was confirmed that I had a LMP tumor. They removed one ovary and tube and felt confident he had removed all of the cancer cells that had gone over to the other ovary. I eventually recovered from the surgery and I didn't have to have any chemo so I thought the nightmare was over. Three months later I found out that I was wrong -- it had really just begun. Since then, I have had four surgeries and 18 months of chemotherapy all together. I have been on Taxol/Carbo twice, and now on Topotecan.

I have been to four different hospitals with the final one being Johns Hopkins. It has got to be the best hospital around. Before I went there I was losing all hope in beating this disease. Since the switch though, I have regained my faith and feel they will eventually come up with something to keep this monster at bay or at least find an early detection device. Until then, I will just keep giving it all I can! After going to Hopkins, I found out that I have Stage IV LMPSC. I also found out that this type of cancer accounts for only 7% of all ovarian cancers. I am currently on a chemo break and enjoying every minute of it!!! I had a CT scan done the end of January that showed my cancer is staying stable with no chemotherapy. It is the best news I have had all year! My doctor and I have decided to do repeat scans every eight weeks and I am actually going to go back to work part time. I am hoping this year will be the start of a happier and healthier life. Please forgive me for the length of this. I am just so used to writing about this in a longer form. If you would like to view my story in detail you can do so here.

Tabitha firstreporter@aol.com

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