September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and oddly enough it is also my Mom’s birthday month (Happy Bday today Mom!), so it is an extra meaningful month for me.
12 years ago, while blissfully planning my wedding long distance for later that summer I got “the call”. It’s the call no one wants to get. My Mom phoned to say that she had to go in for surgery THAT WEEK to remove a tumor from her lower abdomen (ovaries). I had no clue there was even a problem, but the week prior after some stabbing pain, she had an ultrasound which showed a mass and thus things were set in motion. I think we were all in denial about what it could be, but I knew she sounded scared so I flew out to be with her.
I will never forget sitting in the tiny phone booth at the hospital talking with her doctor and her telling me that yes, indeed it was ovarian cancer, but a general surgeon had been in her surgery and said her other organs were clean. This was amazing news, but I couldn’t quite get past the “Big C”….
To make a long story short, she had 6 months of chemo, which were hard, but she handled it amazingly well and we are all very happy that she was able to attend our wedding, see our children grow and be healthy and happy 12 years later…Go Mom!
Not everyone is so lucky though. Ovarian cancer is called the “silent killer” because it’s symptoms are so common and can be mistaken for common bloating, constipation, indigestion, low back pain etc. Please take a moment to read THIS article from the Mayo Clinic on the signs and symptoms…and as always, know your body and if that little gut feeling tells you to pursue things further, DO IT!! It is a fast, take-no-prisoners disease and the sooner you get that little bugger out, the better!!
So when I came across fellow photographer Jen Thompson (from Oregon pictured above) and her story of ovarian cancer I was crushed. She is a young, healthy, beautiful Mom of 2 boys who was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer just weeks ago. In that time, she has had friends from both Canada and the States rally around her by literally being there for her before, during and after her lengthy surgery to remove the massive tumor and to create THIS incredible video of her and her boys just before her surgery…A picture is truly worth a thousand words…
As you know, health care bills in the States can be scary especially when you have a lengthy battle ahead. She and her friends have set up a blog to keep people updated on her progress (friends have posted recently), there is a section to donate to her medical bills and you can also send her messages of encouragement HERE. Every little bit helps!
I know this is a lengthy post, but it is topic that is obviously very near and dear to me, especially since these things can be hereditary. All I ask is that you know your body and be persistent if things aren’t right. Early detection is key!
Stay healthy and please pass my “infomercial” onto everyone you know