Photo of Shana a young woman with low grade serous ovarian cancer, smiling

I’m Not Even Close To Being Done!

Date of Diagnosis: December 2015

Age at diagnosis: 39

Country: I am an American currently living abroad as an expat

I am: I am a Mother, a Wife, a Daughter, a Sister, a Friend, and I’ve got a whole lot of life I still want to live. I want to help pick out wedding dresses with my daughter. I want to live to see what kind of people my children will become. I want to live till grand babies! I plan to be the best Grandma ever! I want to grow old with my husband so we can eat early dinners and tease each other over who has more teeth. I want to join a bridge club with my girlfriends when we retire in Florida because we have big plans of growing old together too.

The cancer was found when: My advanced cancer stage is likely due to a case of missed diagnosis. They found my first tumor when I was pregnant with my youngest son. I had to undergo a terrifying surgery at 4 months pregnant to remove a mass. It was risky and we were worried we might lose the baby. At the time, they did a frozen sample of the tumor which isn’t very accurate I know now. I was told I was fine. 7 years later, another mass was discovered. After undergoing a second surgery for staging, it was discovered that I had stage 3B Low Grade Serious Carcinoma. My doctor believes it was a metastatic spread from the earlier cancer. Right now, I’m currently in remission and hoping it lasts!

How your donations would impact me: It would give me a chance to live. It would give women who are  suffering from this awful disease a chance to be there for their babies and families. Research and funding helps future generations like my daughter have a chance to experience life to the fullest.

What I’d say to someone else who is going through this: Research and arm yourself with every bit of knowledge. Research your doctors, ask questions, and get second opinions. It’s your life, it’s not the time to be polite and accept answers that don’t make sense in your gut. Most importantly, don’t let this hold you back! As long as I’m alive, I will live every day to the fullest. Some days I am not well and that looks like a TV binge watch, other days that looks like climbing a mountain I never thought I could climb. We are trying to see as many countries as we can while I’m still healthy. I’m doing things I only dreamed of because I decided to let nothing hold me back. I push though pain. I push past the fear that is so strong some days it takes my breath away. This disease is scary. But I refuse to let it define me or stop me. Statistically, there is a day where it likely will but I hold on to every ounce of optimism that they will find something that will works!

– Shana A