My Body Was Hijacked by Cancer, So I Must ‘Dig in Deep and Fight’

My healthy body was hijacked by an enemy (ovarian cancer) launching my continuous fight against the disease.

Seventy years ago, I came into this world a perfect specimen of God’s creation. OK, maybe not perfect, but I did have all my extremities, ate, pooped and cried like a normal baby. I continued to develop mental and emotional characteristics as the years moved along.

As I got older, I took great pride in learning and expanding my knowledge base. School was fun and something I enjoyed. I also began to take a great interest in my physical being. I was very active and looked forward to a new exercise regime or a nutritional program that would put my body in the best of health. I felt great rewards, mentally and physically, after a good workout at the gym, or a nice long early morning walk enjoying the fresh air and the special lighting the early morning sun brings.

As I grew older, especially after retirement, I made physical goals for myself to strengthen my body and enhance my stability. I took great pleasure in having my Peloton challenges and having a personal trainer at the gym that kept me on track.

My life was never perfect, but then again what is perfect? All I know is that I was given a lot of good tools to work with and I do believe that I spent much of my time developing and enjoying what I was given. I have always been grateful for all I have been blessed with.

Then one day, out of nowhere, my body and mind were hijacked. I went to a doctor appointment to get help with irritable bowel syndrome or something similar that I’ve dealt with for many years. Three days later and after a CT Scan, I was told that I have metastatic ovarian cancer and that it is rapidly taking over my body.

From that moment forward, I gathered everything possible to get rid of this hijacker ASAP. I went after the best doctor; I did tons of research and asked a lot of questions. I was prepared to do as I always do in a horrible situation — dig in deep and fight.

I had my first debulking surgery within a week of getting my diagnosis, then started chemo right away. I felt that I was taking this on head first, but within three months, the cancer had spread. Not the end of the world. We’ll just do another surgery and remove the new tumors.

However, while battling the cancer, my hijackers decided to pour on more distractions. I was infiltrated with bronchitis, COVID-19 and four urinary tract infections. My body tried to fight, but the hijacker was winning.

I recently learned that my cancer resisted my first six rounds of chemo, and stronger drugs have been added to fight this hijacker. I continue to push back, but I must admit it’s very tough. I continue to fill my body with good nutrition, even though the enemy often rejects it — no matter how hard I try to keep it down.

I make daily plans to walk, stretch or do something physical to help my muscles stay strong, but the enemy keeps me resting in my chair or on the couch. My body cannot muster up the needed energy to do the little movements that were such an automatic response in my healthy body.

My nature is to dig deep for strength and energy. I must admit, it’s very humbling to be knocked down by an enemy. It is frustrating to mentally will our body to move and tackle small chores, then realize that there is no strength to physically move the body to do those simple chores.

All cancer patients go through this physical and mental struggle. Therefore, it’s critical to our survival to dig deep for strength and courage to continue the fight. We must learn to let go of the little things bothering us so that we can take on the fight of our life. We must stay on top of our progression, be our own advocate and force ourselves to get up every time we are knocked down.

No matter how much I don’t understand why I am having trouble fighting this horrible disease, I will continue to trust in my God and that he has a plan. Maybe this one I don’t like, and I will continue to challenge it, but in the end it’s God’s will, not mine. I will continue to pray for a “gentle journey” as I tackle this hijacker.

This article was written and submitted by Debra Greif, a self-proclaimed “ovarian cancer warrior”; it reflects the views of Debra Greif and not of CURE®. This is also not supposed to be intended as medical advice.

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