I’m a chick who defies odds. This much is apparent. At birth, I weighed just 2 pounds, 11 ounces. I came out of my mom two months early and it was unclear if would live. But I’m here now dazzling readers with my witty musings so that’s good enough for me. My early entry into this world was just the first time I beat the odds.
Fast forward to the spring of 2015 when I got diagnosed with advanced stage ovarian cancer. The odds said I shouldn’t get cancer so young, at age 48. The odds said I probably wouldn’t have the BRCA 1 gene mutation, but the odds were wrong again.
Now today, November 5, I’ve defied the odds again! It’s my 3 year cancerversary! I finished chemo three years ago today!
Three years ago today, I left Kaiser hospital in Oakland feeling weak from 18 weeks of chemo. Andy and I hadn’t yet decided to move to Mexico and I was 4 months into a new job as the Executive Director of the Walnut Creek Education Foundation. Little did I know that we’d eventually quit our jobs, move to Mexico and live a completely different type of life. I never imagined I would be cancer-free three years after my initial diagnosis. I simply assumed I would be fighting another bout of ovarian cancer because most people with my type of cancer recur within 18-24 months after stopping chemotherapy and once the cancer does come back, it’s considered incurable. Even worse…it comes back in 70-80 percent of women. I’m still going strong at 36 months with no sign of cancer rearing its ugly head. I’m incredibly lucky. Most women diagnosed with ovarian cancer aren’t. I’ve already lost one friend (diagnosed the same time as me) and another friend has had a very, very short lived remission. She’s back fighting this ugly beast.
I don’t know how much longer I can continue to be someone who defies these sucky odds. Many, many days I worry about my cancer coming back. I try hard to keep my fears in check, but the odds are not in my favor. If I can make it cancer-free to the five year mark, I have a good chance of beating it completely, but that’s still a very long way off. So I continue to try to live in the moment. I continue to celebrate life, celebrate love, and live.
Happy Cancerversary to me!