The month of September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Last year at this time a bunch of my friends and I were rallying our support against ovarian cancer for our dear friend Allison, diagnosed with the disease while she was 17 weeks pregnant. We surprised Allison on September 2, 2011 by all wearing teal, the nationally recognized ribbon color for ovarian cancer awareness, and posting pictures of ourselves holding up signs of encouragement for her on Facebook.
Allison’s story began when a cyst on one of her ovaries, detected during a routine ultrasound, turned out cancerous and caused her to have a tumultuous pregnancy filled with worry and six chemo treatments. My childhood friend since we were three years old proved she was a strong Mama in the making and was able to carry her healthy baby boy, Lucas, full-term despite all of the treatments and challenges she underwent. Lucas, a true miracle baby, was born October 5, 2011.
In the end, Lucas saved her life – for if she hadn’t become pregnant the cyst most likely would have gone undetected. This is the worst part about ovarian cancer, often nicknamed the silent killer. The symptoms are minimal and most times the disease progresses too far, too fast before any treatment plans are in place.
Today I’d like to honor my strong, brave friend and bring more awareness to the symptoms and treatment plans available to women diagnosed with this disease. For more information and ways to help bring awareness, please visit National Ovarian Cancer Coalition at: http://www.ovarian.org
There are many walks/runs, seminars, workshops, and more happening nationwide that you can get involved in to help join the cause. Later this month Allison and her mother will attend a symposium called Learning for Living with Ovarian Cancer where they will hear doctors, including Allison’s doctor from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA where she underwent her treatments, speak about research updates and future treatments for ovarian cancer. Survivors will also speak out about issues and lessons learned from being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Last year, on this exact day in September, Allison underwent her sixth and final chemo treatment before giving birth to Lucas. What a difference a year has made in her life. This year she is about celebrate not only being cancer-free, but Lucas’s first birthday. Lucas is a lively and happy baby who unbelievably starting walking at just ten months old! He is an adorable and extremely social little guy loved beyond all comprehension.
Whenever Allison and I talk about what she went through over the last year and a half it is impossible not to get teary-eyed. She constantly laments about having the best family and friends and acknowledges with sincere gratitude that there is no way she would have gotten through it without the outpouring of love and support she received. Just thinking about it still overwhelms her. I am so lucky to have the opportunity share Allison’s story of triumph and perseverance on my blog. She has come such a long way since receiving a devastating diagnosis. Getting to watch her happiness continue to grow each day with the love of her supportive husband and beautiful little boy is something I am thankful for.
I love you Allie Cat. So many more good times to come…
If you enjoyed this story, you might also like reading Wearing teal for Allison.
Know the symptoms of ovarian cancer.