Meredith Johnson of Akron, Ohio, was diagnosed with stage 3C low-grade serous ovarian cancer in 2019 at the age of 33.
When her diagnosis was confirmed, she thought, “No wonder I was in so much pain all the time.”
She describes her symptoms as being constipated and bloated at the same time.
“Wearing a seatbelt hurt, tight pants hurt, sitting down hurt, sex hurt, etc.,” she said. “I tried different diets because I thought my ‘stomach issues’ were an allergy to food.”
An ultrasound found what doctors told her was a cyst, but a gynecologist referred her to an oncologist who said she needed surgery right away.
“They removed my uterus, cervix, ovaries, eight inches of my colon, appendix, and they burned some spots off my diaphragm and liver,” Meredith said.
She was diagnosed with stage 3C low-grade serous ovarian cancer.
“I was ready to fight it,” she said. “Since I already had the big surgery out of the way, next was chemotherapy. I had 6 rounds of that poison pumped into my veins and I’m still suffering the consequences.”
More recently Meredith was placed on a clinical trial called RAMP 201 and is taking an investigational agent called VS-6766.
“I’m so grateful to research. Even though I still have cancer, the trial medicine I’m taking is shrinking my tumors” she said.
Though living with cancer is challenging, Meredith says there are lots of good things in her life too. “I’m in medical school right now going for my Associates in Surgical Technology. I have the best support system that includes my two daughters, mom, dad, brothers, boyfriend and so many other family and friends. I made the Dean’s list at my local college and my daughter’s made the Honors Roll at their school – I’m so proud of them.”
Meredith urges people to pay attention to their bodies. “If you’re experiencing a certain pain every day, please tell your doctor. Ask for an ultrasound. You know your body more than anyone and if you have a gut feeling something isn’t right, get it checked out,” she said.
“Low-grade is a slow growing cancer but it’s sneaky. Most women don’t find out they have it until it’s already in a later stage.”