Brianna, bald from chemo, standing underneath a statue that says hope

Chase your Rainbow

My name is Brianna and I just turned 39 years old and I live in New Jersey and here is my story…..

It was an average August day in 2017 I was hanging out with my friends, had dinner, a few cocktails, and a romantic night with my husband….

That night turn south real quick when I had extreme pain after sex that wouldn’t go away. It was a sharp intense pain that I assumed was an ovarian cyst because I have had those in the past. I went to the ER and that’s when my life was turned upside down, at first I was joking with the ER staff saying that my husband broke me, but when the imaging came back that’s when my world came crashing down! It was showing as ovarian cancer, multiple lesions and growths and free fluid.

After I learned the symptoms I realized I have had all of them but I blew them off thinking it was just the grief from losing my son. I just assumed my body was out of whack from the stress of finding my son and performing CPR on him and the trauma and PTSD from his suicide.

I was in shock.

The ER doctor then contacted a gynecologist for me to see immediately, I went to see her two days later and then she referred me to a gynecologist oncologist at a cancer center. I went and saw him and was scheduled for surgery a week later and during surgery the pathologist that was present during the surgery confirmed that there was cancer and that I would need chemo.

During the surgery they removed all my lady bits and created what I lovingly call my “fake box”, they also removed my omentum, appendix, and a couple lymph nodes.

I was stage 3c….

When the results came back I learned that it was a rare cancer and that less than 10% of the ovarian cancers which is called low-grade serous carcinoma. I was immediately scheduled for surgery to get my port put in for my chemo treatments and started chemo 3 weeks after my surgery. Chemo was rough but I took it all in stride trying to use my humor and love of dressing up to get me by, the side effects from chemo caused neuropathy and the instant menopause caused severe joint pain which changed me completely physically.  I went from hiking and skydiving a year ago to a brittle little old lady, yet I am still VERY young at heart!!!

I am still struggling with that and am hoping to be without a cane soon. I am currently taking a chemo pill for maintenance called Letrozole and fingers crossed that it holds off recurrence. The issue with this rare cancer is that is very chemo resistant and no one is quite sure how to treat it. Basically it is a bunch of hail Mary’s and fingers crossed.

I have so much to live for and so much more I want to do. I have an amazing husband, 3 step-sons, awesome family and friends. I have a bucket list that I am determined to check off. I am not ready to go anywhere and I intend on fighting.

We need more funding to go to research to specifically work on our rare strand of cancer. The average life span once diagnosed is 8-10 years and that needs to change! Patients like me go through all kinds of treatments just to see if it might work, we need protocols for us that works and unfortunately because it’s rare many funds don’t go towards it.

We are trying to change that! Funds that are raised will go to doctors that are specifically working on our rare disease. If you find yourself with a diagnosis and join this “club” please reach out to support groups because it really does help to know that you aren’t alone. And BREATHE. Take each day one step at a time, sometimes one moment at a time.

You can do it!

Chase Your Rainbow and NEVER give up!!

– Brianna Wagner