Wednesday, July 28, 2010

High Five! A Celebration of Five Years

July 29,2005 was not such a great day for me. I awoke from surgery and learned I had stage IIIB ovarian cancer. My doctor said I shouldn’t read any of the statistics. They are just numbers, she said. Did I listen? No. When I got home from the hospital I went on to the NCI website and I read the stats . Not so good. The overall five-year relative survival rate for ovarian cancer is 46% but for late stage (that was me) it drops to roughly 30%. Not such a great number.

But the stats didn’t know me. The stats didn’t know my doctors. The stats didn't know my family and friends. My doctors, Lorna Rodriguez and Darlene Gibbon and their nurses at the Cancer Institute of NJ are my lifesavers. They discussed my options, suggested a port-a-cath, offered me a clinical trial, started treatment quickly and made sure I stayed on schedule.

My husband was my rock. When I thought it was too tough to continue he would say just take it one day at a time and you’ll be done before you know it. So after nine cycles of carbo/taxol /selenium over a 7 month period, I was done. Life slowly returned to a new normal. Over the next few years I visited my son in Switzerland where he spent a semester abroad, I watched him graduate college and saw my daughter marry a marvelous man.

Then in October 2008 my CT scan showed lesions on my spleen and liver. Darn that was not good. I thought to myself maybe those stats would be right. But once again my CINJ gyn oncs went to work. They referred me to Dr. Chris Gannon , a CINJ surgical oncologist. He removed my spleen and did a liver resection. I followed that up with six cycles of chemo and the cancer was gone. Again. And it still is.

So tomorrow I get to celebrate my fifth "cancerversary". The heck with those statistics.

As a way to celebrate this milestone and to honor my CINJ Doctors and nurses, I am walking in the High Speed Chase for the Cure benefiting CINJ on Sunday September 12, 2010. I’ve formed a team. My daughter suggested the name - High Five. Makes sense – ‘cause I’m celebrating five years as a cancer survivor. Want to join my team? You can walk, be a virtual walker, run or just make a donation for what I think is a very worthy cause- my lifesavers at CINJ.

High Five!


Every Day is a Blessing !

PS( Thanks to for the photo above.)


Theresa said...

Big High Five for you!!

nat said...

I want to follow in your footsteps! I've got three years down... two to go! :)
Congratulations Dee!!

OCWarrior1026 said...

Reading your blog has been truly inspiring. Sometimes you can be dealt a very interesting hand, but it's all in the way you play it. I'm nine months into this, and I'm hoping very soon that something works, and that I too can follow in your footsteps.

Here's to Cancerversaries! May you have many more to celebrate. :-)