An Artist Journey

An Artist’s Journey – Hope is the one thing that can get us through the darkest times

I am definitely a writer, but I must share with you from a very recent life changing experience.

I have been in menopause for quite a while now, and was gaining weight (oh not good). The more I read about the subject, the more I thought I understood about weight gain and various other things. Well the weight continued to pile on the upper abdomen, and was quite rapid over a couple of months. I must have gained 25 to 30 pounds. This did not seem right, but what do I know – I have never been in menopause before!

I began a weight loss program to lose this weight, and the better I ate the more I gained! Now what in the world is going on?? I thought my age and the hormone changes was causing the difficulty of the weight loss.

The other things I was experiencing was swelling in my ankles and general water retention. I did have some shortness of breath – but this was supposed to be part of menopause also – right.

Finally, I thought it might be good to have a physical to see what was going on. So the first thing the doctor asked me was “Do you think you are Pregnant?” Well, I said, I don’t think so.. . . but this lead to a pregnancy test in the doctor’s office. Which of course came up negative. She seemed kind of concerned about the swelling in my ankles as it was pretty bad!

So she sent me, the same day, for an ultrasound of my abdomen. Which lead to an immediate CT scan of the same area. WELL. Live and learn – they found a large cyst that they thought was attached to an ovary! This all happened on a Tuesday; two days later I saw a specialist and was scheduled for major surgery the next Monday, less than a week later!

Needless to say it was a very frightening week and after lots of prayer I checked in for my surgery. Upon waking – half coherent mind you – I was told that the cyst initially tested as not cancerous! Prayers answered! I needed to wait a couple of weeks to get the results of continued testing.

So needless to say I wasn’t thrilled with having to wait for the final results, but as determined to heal and feel better. Once I got home I realized that I had lost 25 pounds really fast and began feeling better each day. I do not recommend this method of weight loss by the way!

After the first two week wait, and another couple of weeks wait, as they discussed the “cyst” at the tumor board (I don’t like the sound of this); I finally got the results. Well. . . after fearing all of my life that I would get cancer it has happened. I was told they found a small amount of cancer cells in a cyst the size of a basketball! My diagnosis is Stage One High Risk Ovarian Cancer. I must begin three rounds of chemotherapy with a possibility of 3 more rounds for a total of 6! I was pretty shocked to say the least but there have been a few positives in this. First, I went to the doctor at the right time and did not wait any longer. Things moved pretty fast from there and the tumor was removed. Second, the diagnosis of Stage One, I am told, is very rare. Most women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are usually stage 4 or 5 as it is a silent killer of women. I will write another post on this later.

I am very thankful that things have happened as they have. If I could share anything from this experience. . . when you detect even the slightest change in your body, please – please have it checked! Have you had a life changing experience that you never would have believed would happen to you?

Update: December 31, 2013

Since my cancer diagnosis in September, I have gone through chemotherapy and have finished! Have been done since the end of October and had just one wish for Christmas. I just wanted my hair back! I know that seems like a minor thing, but you do not realize how much your hair helps and means to you until you loose it!Well, it did start to grow back just a few days before Christmas.

I know I have a long road ahead to get my health back, but I am so very thankful for life I have been given. My family and friends mean more to me than I can say and want to thank them for their continuing support.I think we all wish for things and realize that we are not in control of our lives! Only God can truly “direct our steps.” I go into this new year realizing I am totally in the palm of His hand! The Bears and I wish you all a very Happy New Year!