I’m In a Great Place With My Cancer Despite Feeling 25 Years Older Than I Am

I am still here fighting, fighting hard and I will continue to do so to make sure I have more graduations, more weddings, and more everything that I can squeeze into my precious time left here on earth.

Today is a great day. Since March, I have been receiving chemotherapy. It has been different than my four previous rounds, but still, the three-week regimen of six rounds has been grueling on some weeks.

I have been fighting ovarian cancer since 2013. If you have read my pieces before, you may remember that I have now had five rounds of chemotherapy, three surgeries and two radiation treatments. I also have tried a trial through The Ohio State University in Columbus.

For whatever reason, I am still here fighting. My doctor and nurse practitioner keep saying that I am doing well, and we are going to continue to fight so I can see some important moments that my children and grandchildren accomplish as well as enjoy a fabulous retirement with my husband.

This past June, I saw my oldest granddaughter graduate from high school. This year, my youngest grandchild starts kindergarten. I want so badly to be at his graduation as well as all the other nine grandchildren and their special events in life.

While my numbers are going in the right direction, I have had some new struggles with this last round of chemo. I had to receive a blood transfusion and delay chemo as my platelets were too low. This has happened before but after nine and a half years, it truly has taken its toll on me.

I am 69 and in previous years, I did not feel old. I could keep up with the rest of my younger friends easily. But these last two years have been hard on my body and have made me think of my grandparents. I grew up knowing three of them and they always seemed old. They took lots of medicines and were slow moving on some days. This is me every day!

But I’m in a good place. With my numbers where they should be, I am finished with chemo, and in two weeks, I start a maintenance drug that I hope will keep me healthy for a long time. This is such a great feeling.

However, I have not bounced back completely yet. While I did not lose all my hair like I did on my first round (I was bald), my hair has thinned so badly, I am hoping it grows back quickly. On a positive note, I look in the mirror each day and thank the hair that has not fallen out every day. Woohoo to the hair that does not come out of my brush!

The bruises on my body from the loss of platelets and low blood counts will go away. But for now, I feel I must explain that my husband really takes fantastic care of me, he has never hurt me. My energy level is like a person 25 years older than me. Walking up a flight of stairs leaves me winded. Going to the grocery store is challenging.

I know it will all come back, and I will feel better starting this week little by little as the chemo treatments are done. My hair has what I call babies which are new hairs that are coming in. I have been trying to build up strength and walked a mile a couple of days ago. Slowly but surely, I will get it back. I guess I am impatient.

The one thing that bothers me though is that I am getting older in the eyes of my children. I have been fortunate to travel during this chemo and have seen all my children in town and out of state. My children and grandchildren have seen me out of breath, struggling to keep balance, not being able to keep up with them, and not being able participate in their activities. For the first time, I feel old.

However, I am blessed because I am getting old. I am one of the lucky ones still fighting for my life and my numbers are good. I am earning the privilege to get old.

Today is a great day. I am still here fighting, fighting hard and I will continue to do so to make sure I have more graduations, more weddings, and more everything that I can squeeze into my precious time left here on earth. Carpe’ Diem.

For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.