Thursday, May 31, 2007

Beautiful Blue eyes & Cancer

I met the little girl that I will be working with. I must say she is breathtakingly beautiful with pretty blue eyes! Leukemia is an ugly disease and I am saddened every time I must witness a small child endure cancer. It is so incredibly unfair!

Speaking of cancer - In my own cancer story on my blog, I received a question that I have not yet addressed. A woman asked me about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. I must say that every woman I have talked to experiences either some, none or all of the same symptoms. Ovarian cancer is a sneaky cancer because for so many women, they aren't as priveledged as I was, and they didn't discover their cancer until it was too late.

I will say what my signs and symptoms were - but of course I recommend any woman who is experiencing unusual symptoms to see a doctor. Without the proper tests, there cannot be a diagnosis.

I began having my periods when I was 14 years old. Girls will experience irregular cycles for usually a couple of years when they start their cycles. For me, they never got regular. I don't know how long I'd had cancer or if this was some sort of warning sign that something wasn't right, I won't ever know, but I like to mention that because in my heart I feel that it is significant.

My menstrual cycles would either be spotting for a couple of days each month, or I would bleed heavily for 2-3 weeks and begin again a week later. It was truly annoying. I could never wear white and I never trusted myself to be out anywhere without protection. At other times, I would not have a period for several months. I was of a normal and healthy weight, I ate fairly healthy and there was no logical reason for my periods to be so irregular. Again, most women don't experience any menstrual difficulties (in fact, most women are post menopause) This is just my own experience.

I was too embarrassed to see a doctor about it. Like most teen girls, I didn't like to discuss such personal issues (wow, how things change!) When I was about 21 years old however, I started to get pelvic pressure. Sometimes it felt like my pelvic organs were going to come right out of me (seriously) It was annoying and often painful. Again, I chose not to see a doctor. I dealt with it the best that I could. Although it felt like my organs were falling out, in fact they weren't so I just assumed it was a full-time PMS thing. Being adopted, of course I didn't have my mother to compare to as PMS type symptoms can and do run in families. Sometime later, probably age 21/22, I started becoming bloated, so much so that at times I could not fit into my jeans. When you are 21 years old, dating and going to clubs on Saturday nights, that is very annoying. About a year before I was actually diagnosed, the pain began. Even though my cancer was in both of my ovaries, the pain was really on my right side, pelvic area and this was along with the [at this time near constant] pressure, and occasional bloating.

My decision to finally see a doctor about what was happening came after a brief discussion with a friend about the annoying aspects of being a woman. My friend simply said Nicole, you really need to see a doctor. I thought about what I am doing with my life and how I have pretty much dedicated my entire life to taking care of the health of others but I was ignoring my own health. I sucked it up, and the rest as you know it, began my journey of fighting cancer.

That is my story of my signs and symptoms, it's probably much longer than the person who posed the question wanted to know, but I hope that maybe my story may be of help to anyone who is concerned. My motto now is "better safe than sorry" and I will bug my doctors for any little tinge of pain and any little ache. I will never again ignore my body when it is trying to tell me something.


suz said...

nice to meet you. thanks for comments on my blog. look forward to reading you in future.

IveGotTheBeat said...

hi the last couple of monthes ive been in constant pain in my ovaries, mostly on my right. Ive gone to the er, and two clinics and everything is coming back normal. But I dont feel normal. Im a little nervous, I'm 23 years old. Ive written all my last 5-6 years of any abnormal symptom of my periods or the lack there of, and it all doesnt look natural. The last clinic is seeing if I can be covered for an OBGYN, how can i make sure that the find the source or the problem. Concerned and frustrated. I really appericaited your story it came in a time of personal need.