Kathy Disease FREE SINCE DEC 2018

Before my CA125 Lab diagnosis, my husband and I had served as missionaries in Thailand for 25 years. During my time in Thailand, I worked as a nurse in an orphanage for children with HIV and the HPV Virus test. I also worked at an international school as a school nurse. I LOVED our time overseas and was sad when it was time to leave in 2014.

We moved back to the US and settled in Indiana near family and friends. Not long after we returned, my elderly mother was no longer able to live on her own, so we moved her into our home so we could care for her needs associated with Alzheimer’s. Her care was fairly consuming for me as she progressed further into the disease. There were many sleepless nights as we helped her navigate the changes she was going through. At the same time, while I was immersed in my mother‘s care, I began to notice changes in my health.

I mostly attributed my health issues to my lack of sleep and stress related to caring for my mother.

The one symptom that was the most troubling and unexplained was the post-menopausal bleeding. When my mother had to enter the hospital for a while, I took advantage of that time to get my HPV Virus checked with an OB/GYN. An ultrasound showed cysts on one ovary, and it was recommended that it be removed and biopsied. The result was a benign cyst. BIG sigh of relief!! I had requested that the doctor take everything at the time of surgery in 2015, but as it turns out, she did not take the other ovary and uterus as I had hoped. The surgery report stated that the remaining ovary looked normal, as did the uterus.

Within just a few months, I became symptomatic again and got an HPV lab exam. About 8 months after my first surgery, I was back to a different doctor as my previous one had moved away. I described the various issues I noticed – fatigue, increased reflux, bloating, stomach gas, and the return of the bleeding. Our GP quickly picked up on the red flags and ordered an ultrasound and CA125 lab Kit. The result was the remaining ovary was now the size of a small cantaloupe. I was referred to a gynaecological oncology surgeon. And two days after I saw him, I was in surgery to remove the remaining ovary and my uterus. This time, the biopsy showed stage 2 ovarian cancer.

My husband was overseas when I learned that the remaining ovary had grown significantly.

By the time of the surgery, he had returned home and was with me, and he got the news of a malignancy before I did.

I remember feeling terrified and then angry all at the same time. I was angry that the first surgery did not involve removing both ovaries and the uterus as I had requested. However, the second surgery done by the GYN/ONC showed me why the first Ca125 Test doctor did not go ahead and remove everything. The second surgery report said that there was significant endometriosis that was attached to the ovaries, uterus, bowel and surrounding organs.

An attending doctor told us that the reason for the ICU time was because of the difficulty of the surgery and significant blood loss in the process. I understood that if a less skilled or less confident doctor had performed this surgery, I could easily not have survived it. Knowing this has helped me come to terms with her course of action, where I could have avoided ovarian organ cancer altogether. If I could have a do-over, I would have requested a referral to a GYN/ONC from the get-go. If I could only offer one piece of advice, it would be to ask for that referral to a gynaecological oncologist and then do your research to find the best one.

In the last five years, I’ve had three surgeries and two rounds of chemo.

I completed the first round of chemo, and about 18 months later, they discovered that a spot thought to be scar tissue was the same cancer. I underwent another round of chemo in 2018, and as of December of that year, there has been no sign of cancer.  I’ve had a follow-up PET/CT every three months since then, and every scan has come back clear. Thank you, Lord! My type of ovarian viral cancer does not fit the protocol for maintenance medication treatment.

I had a long list of people who wanted to be my “chemo buddy” (sit with me during my infusion time). It touched me deeply that they would be willing to give up a whole day just to come and sit with me during the infusion. It was so much fun for me. And I know that more than once, we laughed a little too loudly and had way more fun than anyone should ever have during chemo treatments.

While the fear was hard to deal with emotionally, I am trading my fear for faith.

The hardest thing I had to deal with physically was a bad reaction to one of the chemo meds. I had to be taken to the ER three times to keep my airways from closing up. It took a week to get out of the danger zone. And another two weeks for my CA125 rash to clear up. I don’t want EVER to do that again!

Cancer has been a very effective CA125 teacher. It has taught me I can be fearless in ways I could never have imagined. I am a woman of faith, so one of the first questions I asked the Lord was, “Am I going to live, or am I going to die?” In answer to that question, the Lord reminded me that He has numbered my days. He decides when and how I will go home to heaven, not cancer. CA125 Cancer test Levels do not have the last say in my life; my heavenly Father does. Because I believe this, cancer no longer has the power to ruin my day.

Cancer can no longer take me to dark places of hopelessness and fear that it once did

This is a battle for my mind; some days, the struggle is harder than it is on other days. But I’ve made up my mind to trust God with this. I’ve found much more joy and hope in trusting Him with tomorrow than when I try to figure it out alone. I intentionally focus my thoughts on today and seize the opportunities that come my way. I have worked with my HPV Lab Kit oncologist around chemo treatments, follow-up appointments and tests. So that I can continue to travel and work alongside my husband in Thailand and now the Philippines. Cancer is something that I have, but it does not have me.

I get my strength and support from my faith in Jesus. And when my faith gets shaky, as it may do occasionally, my husband’s faith encourages me. He keeps lifting my chin to cheer me on. I could not have done this without the love and grace of my Father in heaven. And I’m so grateful for the love and encouragement of my husband.

I learned I can do this with God’s help and that I’m more fearless than I ever imagined I could be. I’ve always thought that the worst thing that could happen to me would be to have cancer. The CA125 kit helped a lot. But I’ve learned that is not true; there are a lot of things much worse than cancer. I’ve learned that good things can come from bad experiences. I’ve been abundantly loved and blessed through this HPV Cancer journey.