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This fundraiser ended on 06/30/10

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Ovarian cancer whispers—so listen. Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. My sister knows all too well the grim statistics. Tammy has battled ovarian cancer twice since August 30, 2008.

In February ‘08, Tammy had a routine female exam. No problems were found. By late spring, she began having some annoying, intermitten​t pains in her pelvic area. She assumed it was something to do with her menstrual cycle.

A few cycles later, not only did she continue to experience pain, but she began to feel bloated, have bouts of nausea, frequent heartburn/i​ndigestion. The pain sometime radiated from her bladder to her right side into her back. She began to research her symptoms. They were consistent with symptoms caused by the gall bladder.

Tammy returned to her gynecologis​t with her concerns. For Tammy’s peace of mind, she sent her for a pelvic ultrasound and a transvagina​l ultrasound on Tuesday, August 19th. By Friday, Tammy had not heard from the doctor, so she called her office. She was told it was too soon to expect a report from the radiologist. Tammy waited a few days and called back. This time she was told that a stack of reports had just came in but the doctor had not yet looked at them. So began the phone tag.

On Saturday, August 30th, Tammy went to an urgent care center and was seen by Dr. Hinceman. He checked her vitals, ordered the routine lab work, an obtained a copy of the report from the pelvic and transvagina​l ultrasounds. Her vitals and lab work did not indicate any problems. The report referenced a cyst on an ovary.

By this point, Dr. Hinceman was prepared to send her to Frye for a CT scan of the gall bladder. He then asked her if she would feel better if he ordered an abdominal CT scan. Tammy opted for the abdominal CT. At the hospital, she was given two bottles of banana smoothie flavored contrast which were to be consumed 30 minutes apart. After the scan, we were instructed to return to the urgent care clinic.

It was there our worlds changed. Tammy and I both heard the words “ovarian cancer” … “had spread” … “spot on the liver” … beyond that, the words became a blur as our minds reeled from the news. I wanted to put my arms around Tammy, but I didn’t trust my legs to support me. I looked at my normally feisty sister and saw utter disbelief and fear on her face. The doctor left the room to contact Tammy’s gynecologis​t. Neither of our minds wanted to accept what we had just heard. We clung to each other and wept.

The doctor returned with news that Tammy’s gynecologis​t, Dr. Montes, would be contacting Wake Forest Comprehensi​ve Cancer Center (WFCCC). At first, this made Tammy’s diagnosis even more frightening. One could only surmise that the cancer must be so serious, that the medical profession in our area was not equipped to provide treatment for her.  I drove Tammy home--it was gut-wrenchi​ng for both of us. Still numb from the news, we both knew what we faced when we arrived there. Our Mom, her husband David, and 14-yr-old son, Colby had to be told. 

In the year that followed, Tammy survived the shock of a ovarian cancer diagnosis, major surgery, hospitaliza​tion, several days of a “roaring” sensation in her ears, six months of chemo, neutropenia​, hair loss, head covers, wigs, countless cups of yucky contrast, nausea, constipatio​n, leg and tailbone pain, numerous needle sticks, a river of tears, turning 40, a pleural effusion, a mammography that left her injured, and even survivor’s guilt. 

Form April 2009 until September 2009 Tammy enjoyed a wonderful dance with NED (No Evidence of Disease)  Then on September 30, at a routine exam our world again spun out of control as we learned the cancer had returned.

On February 3, Tammy completed her 6th treatment of her second cycle of chemotherapy in her battle against ovarian cancer. Tammy will have a CT scan on March 5th to determine the success of her latest treatments.

The purpose of this fundraiser is two-fold:  (1) to raise funds to cover the out-of-pocket expenses that have accumlated from battling ovarian cancer twice; and (2) to raise awareness of this silent killer.

Ovarian Cancer Whispers...So Listen:  

 Ovarian cancer is difficult to detect, especially, in the early stages. This is partly due to the fact that these two small, almond shaped organs are deep within the abdominal cavity, one on each side of the uterus. These are some of the potential signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer:

Bloating
Pelvic or abdominal pain
Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:

Fatigue
Upset stomach or heartburn
Back pain
Pain during sex
Constipation or menstrual changes


If symptoms persist for more than two weeks, see your physician...break the silence!


 

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