Monday, February 20, 2012

Its not all trash on TV

While I was home during my recovery, I watched A LOT of television. Some was good, some was not so good. I've officially exhausted my reserve for Lifetime Movies for the next 10 years.

But one show that premiered while I was living the life of a couch potato was ABC's new show The Revolution. Its a pretty cool daytime show that focuses on helping people "revolutionize" their lives in multiple areas - fashion, exercise, interior design, physical and mental health. Its a bit cheesy (Ty Pennington is in it after all) but I really enjoyed it while I was recouperating.

So, I've been DVRing it since I went back to work and this weekend I was going through and deleting most of them because I needed to free up space. When I ran across Thursday's episode, I noticed that one of the segments that was highlighted was talking about medical second opinions. Imagine my shock to find out that the biggest issue that "Dr. Jen" recommends women seek a second opinion about is a Hysterectomy!

The following clip is short - but I hope that as many women as possible see it. I can't believe how nonchalantly doctors take this procedure! I myself expreienced this disregard for all the consequences that come from removing a woman's reproductive organs. (Its not just about not being able to concieve children!)

So please, watch this clip and don't think twice about requesting a second opinion - it might just save your life!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Luckiest {unlucky} Girl

Welcome to the new blog!

For those of you reading this in a E-Reader, pop on over and see how purty it is! It was designed by the fabulous Kelsey from "Kreated by Kelsey". For those of you with blogs - I would highly recommend her - not only is she super talented and easy to work with, but she is also very affordable. (Says the girl with massive medical bills!) Go check her out her portfolio here - she's awesome!

So, why "The Luckiest {unlucky} Girl"?
 
 
Well, anyone who has known me for a while probably will get it right away! I'm somewhat accident prone - from the year that I knocked off the side mirrors on both sides of my car (in separate incidents) to the long standing joke that I can not run for three steps without tripping and falling. I just end up in the middle of situations that leave people shaking their heads. I'm known for being one of those people that gets into situations where someone then says, "That would ONLY happen to you!". Some favorite stories (that my friends love to get me to tell at parties) involve hot tea, almost running myself over with my own car (yes, I was driving) and a dead squirrel.

(If I keep up with this blog long enough, I promise to try to tell all three of those!)

And of course, most recently I was {unlucky} enough to be diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. A cancer that is rarely diagnosed in women as young as myself.

But despite the {unlucky} situations that I seem to find myself in, I can not deny that I generally manage to come out on the "lucky" side of things.

At one point during the time between my two surgeries, there was a conversation with my best girlfriends where they were making a joke about my being "born under a lucky star". They were being supportive - encouraging me to believe that everything was going to turn out fine. But at the time I thought it was pretty ironic given my current situation. It was before my staging surgery and I wasn't feeling very lucky. But after my surgery, and the amazing results, I remembered that conversation and thought,
"I really am the luckiest (unlucky) girl ever".
And thus the new name of this blog.
But here's the ironic truth - I don't really believe in luck.
I believe in trying hard, learning from mistakes, prayer, failing gracefully, taking risks, pursing dreams and the occasional miracle. I believe that God has plans for every single person. And, I believe in the free will to make the most of those plans.
So, I'm hoping to make the most of the dose of good "luck" I've received recently. I don't want to take my blessings for granted. I also know, more clearly than ever, that life can change in an instant and I hope to take any future misfortune in stride.
The blog isn't fully functional quite yet - I need to link up the pages to the tool bar above and I'm sure I'll tweek a few things over the next few days. But I hope you all enjoy reading along! This blog will be my record of the ups and downs of being the luckiest {unlucky} girl around!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Giving Back

Ever since my first appointment with Dr. R, I have been so thankful for his kindness and expertise. I know many of you have expressed your gratitude as well. So that got me thinking about how seldom doctors and nurses probably hear from anyone but the patient and maybe their immediate family.

How awesome would it be to put it in perspective for them? To show them that doing their job well inspires so many?

This post is for all of you to express your thanks to the doctors and nurses who treated me so amazingly during this whole experience. Please add a comment either on this post or on Facebook. I plan to print them out and include them in a card for Dr. R to share with his staff.

Thank you everyone!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

New Phase

I had my last post-surgery doctor appointment on Friday - sorry its taken me so long to write a real update! But it went well and I'm so grateful for the amazing Dr. R! (If anyone in the area ever needs to know his real name, please don't hesitate to ask me!)

As we were told right after my surgery, there is "no evidence of disease" left in my body! So, I'm technically considered "in remission" although that term isn't really used for this type of cancer I think. I'll be followed closely for the next five years to make sure I stay cancer free. That monitoring starts in April with a CT scan, blood work and full GYN exam - which will repeat every 3 months for at least the next two years. It will probably be reduced to every six months if everything is fine at that point. The one piece of dissapointing news is that I will likely still need to have a hysterectomy shortly after I turn 40 - just to be "safe". While I don't relish the idea of another surgery, I'm thankful for all the time I have!

Best news from yesterday? There is only a 5-10% chance of reoccurance! I like those odds!

Speaking of "odds", a friend I just talked to on the phone reminded me of some other statistics that I just read the other day. I avoided most web research and definitely kept away from statistics because they were just too frightening. But now that I know more about my cancer specifically, these statistics actually moved me to tears.

  • Less than 5% of women diagnosed with Ovarian cancer are under age 35, the average age is 63.
  • The chance of being diagnosed in an early stage (1 or 2) of Ovarian cancer is only 30%.
  • Less than 15% of women are diagnosed in Stage 1 (my stage).

I can't believe how fortunate I am to have defied all of those statistics. Especially since the survival rate drops dramatically from Stages 1/2 to Stage 3. The 5 year survival rates for Stage 1 Ovarian cancer is 93%. That is a risk I can live with for now.

So, for now I hope to go back to my relatively "normal" life. Although it certainly will be a "new normal" after this experience. So many things have been put into perspective for me in the last three months. I do ask for your prayers as I figure out how to move forward into this new phase of life.

I'll be keeping this blog going as just a "personal" blog, so if you aren't interested in my random musings or "What I did this weekend" posts, I'll understand if you "unfollow" or unsubscribe from the email updates. I will still post links on Facebook so you can follow me there. I'm hoping life will be much less exciting now! And the blog will be getting a new name - cause I hope to talk a LOT less about my ovaries in the coming months!

Thank you all once again for supporting and praying for me. I feel very undeserving of such a positive outcome and know that there are many out there who have it much worse than me. Thank you all for helping me through the last three months.

XOXO,
Rachel