Too Good Not to Share

I stumbled upon a great blog I love, My Swollen Stomach, when I was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer two months ago. Her story is slowly unfolding into something similar, yet very different, from my own. The writer was 22 years old when her journey began.

Please take a moment to read her blog. Start at the beginning. All I can say is, if someone had told me I had to wait six months for surgery to remove my “cyst,” like this young woman was first told, and sent home in the kind of excruciating pain I was experiencing, cancer probably would have killed me.

Sadly, this is what happens all too often to women who are not lucky enough to experience any symptoms or pain that may alert them earlier to the fact that they could have ovarian cancer.

There is no diagnostic screening for ovarian cancer.

Most women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer when it is already in the advanced stages. The overall five year survival rate for ovarian cancer is only 43.7%.

This year alone, 22,240 American women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. 14,030 women will die from this silent, deadly killer.


Cancer statistics for ovarian cancer



  1. Thomas

    That’s socialized medicine for you. Sign here and wait. My wife lost a sister to ovarian cancer because everyone, including her idiot doctors assured her it wasn’t cancer…until it was too late. I’m glad you found yours early enough to do something about.

    • Grace @ Cultural Life

      Nearly two years ago, my mother developed severe ascites (swelling of the abdomen from fluid and a common symptom of ovarian cancer). At first, from guesswork on the internet, we thought it was ovarian cancer. She went to see the doctor, who told her she had cancer without running any tests, not even a blood test! It turned out it wasn’t cancer; it was end-stage liver disease caused by receiving a contaminated blood transfusion after my sister was born in the 1980s.
      Although there are some great doctors out there, my mother had some awful experiences before she finally got to the right place. She urgently needed to be sent for liver transplant evaluation but it was nearly too late, thanks to the doctors who took eons to make a proper diagnosis and act on that diagnosis!
      Anyway, I’m sorry for rabbiting on about it but if we’re talking about medicine, I find it a very emotive topic. I’m sorry for your wife’s loss, Thomas.

      • Mind Margins

        I hear stories like this so often now. So far, I have had nothing but incredible doctors and nurses, so I can’t imagine what it must be like to have such horrible experiences. Looking back, however, I am a little shocked that the ER sent me home with pain on a scale of 8 and told me they didn’t think my “cyst” had torsioned. Even my oncologist wondered why they would say that when I had all the classic symptoms. Unfortunately, even doctors are human, and the field of medicine is not always absolute. I suspect many doctors are afraid to make a definitive diagnosis, or don’t take decisive action when they should, because they don’t want to get sued.

    • Mind Margins

      That’s horrible, Thomas. Why would they wait so long to make a definitive diagnosis? My doctor is from Canada and has much to say on why he left medicine there. His main complaint is that it can take weeks to get any type of simple diagnostic test done. Here, all he has to do is send me over to the hospital and wait for the lab results. I suspect socialized medicine is good at covering the less serious illnesses, especially if you don’t have much money. Here we pay three times more than anyone else in the world for the same services. And quality of services will definitely depend on how good your insurance is.

  2. MikeW

    Mercy. Ovarian cancer ought to be among the first to rule-out, given the stakes in letting it go. Angela, nice aim with this post and reference. Thanks.

    • Mind Margins

      True, but there is no screening test for ovarian cancer and it is devilishly hard to diagnose. Surgery is usually the only way to diagnose for sure.

      • MikeW

        Sheesh! Is it because it is a rarer type that bucks haven’t been dropped on developing a test?

      • Mind Margins

        Not really sure if it’s that or more that a reliable test just hasn’t been developed yet. I may need to do some super sleuthing on this. And ask my gynecologic oncologist.

  3. lisalocket

    Thank you so much for the mention. I agree, our stories are similar yet with different twists. It’s a really positive thing that there are people on here who can share their experiences through a blog, because it definitely helps to know how others are coping or have coped, even if it is just for tips and advise. Thank you again for sharing my story, and sending you my best wishes x

    • Mind Margins

      My pleasure! I really have been so impressed with your story and trying to imagine what it must have been like to go through something like that when you were only 22 years old. I can’t wait to keep reading and find out what happens next.

    • Mind Margins

      Every time I read the statistics it makes me cry. Now I understand how scared my husband was (still is) after surgery and the oncologist told him how serious it was. I never felt too worried that things wouldn’t work out — but maybe we’re never really ready to hear something like that.

  4. Beverly

    Angela, thanks so much for your post and sharing this information. I haven’t yet read the blog you mentioned but I will sometime soon. Truly, we are a rare breed of survivors. The statistics are staggering. I had dinner last Thursday night with twelve other OC survivors organized by the NOCC here in Chicago. It is always inspirational to meet with ladies that are long term survivors. Some 19, 20 and 21 years. The girl sitting next to me…47 years old…stage 3C. She, too, had to beg her doctor to listen to her. She is thin and very fit and knows her body. She recognized the symptoms and was suspicious that she may have ovarian cancer. It still took six months for the doctors to finally diagnose her. Very sad that she had to endure intense treatment but she is a survivor and that is a wonderful thing. I hope you managing well with your chemo treatments. Keeping a good thought for you.

    • Mind Margins

      That is amazing, Beverly. VERY inspiring to hear. It does drive me crazy that we should have to insist that we be taken seriously with some doctors, just because we’re fit, have no known risk factors, and know our bodies well. I am looking forward to doing the NOCC 5K walk here in Dallas in Septmber. I would like to get more involved with the organization as well once things settle down again.

      • Beverly

        I was very, very fortunate that my general doctor took action for me immediately, During my annual physical, I happened to mentioned in passing conversation that I was having pelvic pain while exercising. All my blood work was normal but she pressed on knowing that my bloated tummy was not normal for me. She gave me have a pregnancy test first which, of course, was negative. Then she sent me for a pelvic ultra sound. There it was…a huge tumor. I, too, didn’t initially realize the severity of the situation until after the surgery. My husband was the one who told me it was cancer.

        I participated in the last two NOCC sponsored walks here. The first time, I walked four days after my last chemo treatment. It was only two miles but my step daughters practically carried me the entire way. It was exhausting. But, come hell or high water, I wanted to walk in honor of the ladies that couldn’t. I would like to be more involved with the NOCC but the nearest chapter is actually in the city and I live in the suburbs. I participate when I can but I wish I could do more to help get the word out.

      • Mind Margins

        Here’s to great doctors who listen to us!
        I am a little concerned because the NOCC walk is the day after my third chemo session. I know I will be exhausted, but I will do my best. I can take my time, and if I can’t do the entire three miles, so be it. My friends will finish for me!

  5. Beverly

    It sounds like you have an amazing support system with family and friends. I’m sure they would finish it for you, no questions asked.

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