Trust Your Instincts

Ovarian Cancer Survivor Nancy

When Nancy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 41, she had so many cysts on and around her ovaries that the CT scan did not show her ovaries at all. But surgery revealed the cancer was caught early at Stage 1a. Always a healthy eater and avid athlete, Nancy is diligent and assertive when she discusses her care with her doctors. She is married and has three grown children, two boys and a girl.

Trust Your Instincts

After a total hysterectomy to remove the cancerous mass from my ovary, I followed my gynecologic oncologist’s instructions faithfully. I saw him every six months for an exam and blood tests. Everything was going well, and after five years, I begged him to do a CT scan, as a little anniversary present to myself. He told me that it wasn’t necessary. I had no markers that indicated recurrence. I let him talk me out of it because I was too darn polite to insist.

Eventually, routine blood tests revealed an elevated liver enzyme. A radiologist friend of my husband’s not only performed the prescribed bone scan but did a CT scan as well, which may have saved my life. The CT scan revealed I had several masses in my pelvis. It turned out that my cancer had returned. It was sheer luck that they found it because I had no symptoms at all. The elevated liver enzyme was something else entirely.

I’m haunted by the conversation with my oncologist. If I had insisted, if I hadn’t been so polite, if I had trusted my instincts, then maybe the masses would have been caught earlier. My advice? No matter how much you like your doctor, trust your instincts and get educated about your disease and treatment.

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