Symptoms No Woman Should Ignore

I started to feel sick in early 2009, but it took more than two years to find out what was happening to my health. There were many visits to many doctors, until my endocrinologist finally noticed something amok with one of my hormone levels.

I went home and searched the internet for the hormone she’d mentioned—I had never heard of it, and I had no idea that I should be concerned.

My search came back with one answer: ovarian cancer. I clicked one of the links, and found a long list of ovarian cancer symptoms. I fully expected I would read down that list and be completely reassured that I did not have cancer. Instead, I could recognize almost every symptom. In fact, I almost felt relieved to have all of those symptoms point somewhere.

Six years last Saturday, a basketball-sized tumor was removed from my body. I did indeed have cancer, but I do not have cancer today. I praise God for that, and I urge you to become familiar with the symptoms of this awful disease. I know it’s scary to think about it, but it’s better to discover a problem sooner than later.

Would it have been easier to have that cancer removed when it was the size of a baseball? Absolutely.

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DON’T IGNORE THESE SYMPTOMS

There is no diagnostic test for ovarian cancer, and because the symptoms are so varied, it is often not discovered until Stage 3.

While any woman can have any of these symptoms and not have ovarian cancer, if the symptoms persist for more than two weeks, please make an appointment with your OB/GYN.

  1. Pressure or pain in the abdomen or pelvis (I remember telling one doctor that I thought I needed to do a juice fast or detox, because I felt so bloated.)
  2. Difficulty eating; feeling full quickly
    (By the time dinner was ready, I’d lost my appetite. If I did eat, I could only manage a few bites.)
  3. Urinary concerns, such as urgency, frequency, or difficulty emptying your bladder (Had pointless, invasive, and completely unnecessary tests.)
  4. Change in bowel habits; constipation and/or diarrhea (Yup.)
  5. Unexplained, unusual, excessive vaginal bleeding (You don’t want to know.)
  6. Weight loss (Yes. That’s what scary.)
  7. Weight gain
  8. Nausea (I ate a lot of watermelon that summer. It was almost all I could stand.)
  9. Shortness of breath (This was awful. I could hardly do anything, without needing to rest.)
  10. Vomiting (Yes. Almost daily.)
  11. Tiredness, low energy (Oh, yeah.)
  12. Painful menstrual cycle
  13. Painful intercourse
  14. Abdominal swelling (I looked nine-months pregnant.)
  15. Dull ache in thighs or lower back

HELPFUL WEBSITES

Ovarian Cancer 101
Ovarian Cancer Awareness 
Cancer Center 
CDC Ovarian Cancer Fact Sheet

 

 

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