Today I read about a birthday celebration of someone I didn’t know personally but had come to know because of where she went to college. Then I found out that she and I had a lot in common. We had both fought Ovarian Cancer and at the time I “met” her on Instagram we were both Survivors. We cheered on our Seminoles in 2013 to an undefeated season and a National Championship.
After that I learned that she was actually a reality TV star, having been on The Real World and The Challenge. Her name was Diem Brown. We were proud members of the Florida State Nole Nation. I was proud of her for fighting and surviving her fight with Ovarian Cancer just as I had. Later in 2014 I heard that she was on The Challenge even though her cancer had returned. I’d been following her fight and was surprised (But not really because she was a FIGHTER – she was a SEMINOLE after all!) that she was determined. But she had a goal. She wanted to win the money so she could have a baby. Ovarian Cancer had stolen that from her but she wanted to beat it! As I watched I saw her play a challenge where she had to lick peanut butter off a wall I knew that her cancer had spread to her stomach lining and that would not end well. Watching her get so sick on the show was heartbreaking. She was in so much pain. She finally had to leave the show. On November 14, 2014 she passed away!
Today would have been her 35th birthday! Ovarian Cancer has stolen another strong woman from us. Her first battle was in 2006. Her second battle was in 2012. That’s one year past the “5 year so you’re ok mark”. And her final battle was in 2014. She blogged her battle for People magazine starting in 2012. She stated then she “didn’t know ovarian cancer could come back. Please get internal ultrasounds each year.”
That is the only way to actually know for sure if you have Ovarian Cancer. Your doctor can’t test you any other way at your yearly physical. And that’s why it’s so important to know the symptoms and know your body.
If you come by this blog very often then you will find this information. I had Ovarian Cancer in 2013. I had no idea what Ovarian Cancer was or that I could ever even have cancer. I had ONE symptom that I didn’t even know was a symptom till after I was diagnosed and figured it out.
- A swollen or bloated abdomen, increased girth. Some women notice that their pants or skirts are getting tight around the waist. The bloating is a sign that fluid, called ascites, is building up in the abdominal cavity in later stage disease
- Persistent pressure or pain in the abdomen or pelvis
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- Urinary concerns, such as urgency or frequency
- Change in bowel habits with new onset constipation and/or diarrhea
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
If you have any of these symptoms contact your doctor as soon as possible. The sooner Ovarian Cancer is caught the better your chances of complete recovery. It is called The Silent Killer because it is often not found until it is too late. So catching it early is imperative. As you can see these symptoms can be minor symptoms for any other condition. But the safest thing is to pay attention to your body. If any of them last two weeks of longer call your doctor. And by all means go for your yearly physical! NEVER NEVER NEVER ignore that date on your calendar! Ignoring that date could cost you your life. When my primary doctor discovered mine it was my first physical I had gone to in 5 years. If I had ignored that one more year I wouldn’t be here today! This is serious business!
Diem Brown fought her battle on three different occasions. After her first fight she thought she had won the fight just to have it come back after her 5 year all clear. I’ve been cancer free for one year and eight months. I’m still listening to my body and watching for the symptoms. We should all listen for The Silent Killer. You really never know when or if it will sneak up on you and change our life forever.