RUTH: 2010, AGE 62  

Ruth was slim, vibrant, and active. Age 60. She worked full-time in a sewing factory, kept a house for herself, cared for her grandson when he got home from school, did lawn work, papered and painted her walls, etc., and never drank or smoked. She had never had a CA125 Test in her life. Despite all this, she did have ovarian cysts and problems with her periods. She never got any HPV tests until it was too late. Additionally, she only got pregnant once, even though she did nothing to prevent it.

She complained about back pain, which the HPV doctors told her wrongly that it was arthritis. Despite Ruth stating she had abdominal pain on both sides where her ovaries would be, her Gyn said nothing was wrong. Furthermore, her primary care advised her she was getting older and to slow down, suggesting that maybe it was her nerves; no one told her to get any of the lab tests for HPV or Ca125. However, at 62, she was vomiting after most meals, and her bowel habits were irregular. Despite this, they told her that nothing was wrong and to relax. However, on 01-01-04, she was in the E.R. when a visiting gyn/oncologist overheard her talking to the on-call m.d.

He diagnosed her with Ovarian Virus Cancer stage 3-4. Did her debulking and chemo treatments until she died at age 64. Our beautiful Ruth was gone. Earlier diagnosis could have helped.

MARISSA: 2010, AGE 47 

My name is Marissa. I am married with a 15-year-old daughter. I have been diagnosed with OVCA in Nov. 2009. It was a shock! I had my routine physical with my OBYGYNE in the U.S. in May 2009, and all test results were good. Pap and mammogram were good, along with the usual tests. In June, we went home to our home country, the Philippines. I felt good, and I was slimmer.

Then came Nov., and I went to the restroom many times a day. Initially, I thought I was having the “usual” loose bowels. However, I did not go to the CA125 Doctor right away. Then, one night, it was so painful that I vomited. Consequently, I saw an Ovary Gastroenterologist because I thought it was my stomach. To my surprise, he felt a mass in the lower left side of my abdomen. Without hesitation, he sent for an ultrasound right away. Shockingly, it revealed an 8 cm. mass. Despite having my uterus removed in 2001 and testing negative for any cancer, it was my left ovary that was affected.

Trip to the oncologist

I decided to see an OBYGYNE/Oncologist to check on it. My oncologist convinced me to get some tests for CA125 and HPV from a local Lab and some others from a local hospital. When he got the various results, he advised immediate removal of the mass. I underwent surgery two days later (Nov. 23rd), and pathology confirmed it was a burst left ovary. My oncologist and surgeon removed my omentum, both ovaries and fallopian tubes. I staged OVCA 1-C and have 2 more sessions to go, and I will be done with my Chemo (6 sessions of Paclitaxel/Carboplatin). I feel the effects of Chemo (numbness of feet, joint/ body pains, and stomach problems)….but I’ll make it.

My CA 125 was 10.5 the last time. I pray that it stays that way forever and wish they had made the ultrasound test routine like a Pap smear. I couldn’t shake the thought that perhaps I would have detected the abnormality in my ovary earlier (and avoided chemotherapy) if I were in the Philippines. Ultrasounds are routine procedures with OBYGYNEs here, especially for me, having undergone a hysterectomy before. Despite living in the U.S. for 8 years, my OBGYN never offered this test. Let us all be vigilant about our health and pray for each other…God bless us all…

DONNA: 2010, AGE 60 

Last summer at Hopkins, the CA125 Surgeons performed surgery to remove 2 ft of my right colon due to stage 1 colon cancer. For about 6 months, I’ve had pain in the lower right pain of my abdomen & I had a colonoscopy 2 weeks ago & was told to get a CAT scan. Now, the doctor wants me to get a PET scan, which I’ve never had. He told me that from the CAT scan, I had inflamed lymph nodes, possibly from HPV Deadly Virus infection over the long term. If there’s anything there, do I return to the colon or gyn surgeon?

IRA: 2010, AGE 33 

Hello to everyone; my name is Ira. I am 34 years old. In October 2009, I took several exams, including HPV, and I was diagnosed with OvCa, stage IV. The surgery was done immediately. Then, 6 courses of Chemo every 21 days. I have already had 4. My Ca125 got down to 10. I never told anyone about my situation, just my parents and husband. I want to find friends in similar situations and speak to them sometimes.

KAT: 2009, AGE 60 

Tears. And more tears. How could this be true? How could I leave my 16-year-old daughter, who spent 2 years in foster care after her bio-mom left her? After caring for his mom and dad during their chemotherapy treatments, my husband was left by them at the age of 30. It was a horrible two weeks: I faced a test diagnosis of ovarian type cancer, dealt with identity theft, received a lawsuit from my cousin, experienced burglary by my daughter’s ex-boyfriend’s stalker, and had my daughter contacted by her bio-drug family through Facebook.

Tears from her: “Look at my new little brother and sister. Aren’t they cute?” Surgery: Wait two weeks for the Ca125 and pathology Test results. See a psychologist for depression. Are you freaking kidding me??? I need some sleep. Then, the phone call and a voice said, “You are cancer-free and do not need further treatment. You had two volleyball-sized low malignant tumours removed. Sorry for the spleen laceration, but it is fixed”. Lucky, lucky me.