I was scared to death. Everything seemed so routine. This is no big deal…. from the nurse, the doctor and even the receptionist. The waiting room was filled with sick, bald-headed women, so this was no big deal to anyone else. I wanted to scream, “I don’t belong here! How could this happen to me? I take care of my body, I eat only the best organic food, I read every label, I never smoked—not even one time as a teenager. I don’t drink—I never did. I never took recreational drugs.
Why me? Why is this happening to me? Am I dreaming? Please let me wake up. These were the thoughts that played in my head over and over again, along with the most devastating one of all.
I’m going to die.
That’s it. Over just like that. My life has been pulled right out from under me. I will never see my beautiful grandchildren grow up.
And this, my friends, is how The EllaCris Women’s Gynecological Foundation was born. It all began with my journey into the world of C. I hate the C word so I refuse to say it in its entirety. I will never give it the power that it craves and feeds off of.
In March 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage IIIc Ovarian C — a daunting discovery to say the least. They call this a silent “C,” as the symptoms are so vague that they can be caused by a myriad of everyday symptoms: bloating, pelvic pain, acid reflux and feeling full quickly. All of the same symptoms that can be attributed to every-day life stresses. I was a full time caregiver for a Mother with Alzheimer’s, so my life was full of everyday stress. I thought nothing of acid reflux. It was part of my daily life. After all, as a caregiver your life comes to a screeching halt, no fun, no friends, no mental stimulation, no family functions, just caring for someone other than yourself on a daily basis. Who wouldn’t have reflux?
Hysterectomy…on the calendar. As my belly did an overnight bloat to the size of a soccer ball, it was time to get to the ER. I was desperate at this point. Fast forward, ultrasound showed large mass with fluid. A no-brainier. I knew what we were dealing with. Hysterectomy took all of my girly parts. Ok, no great loss. I had my babies many years ago. I can deal! The fluid was gone and I dropped an immediate 23 pounds. Who wouldn’t love that? It was what was coming next.
You have Stage IIIc Ovarian C. You must start chemotherapy right away.
Are you kidding? Right away? I’m dying of pain from my 24-hour-old hysterectomy and I’m supposed to think about chemotherapy? Hold on!! This is going way too fast! It took me three weeks to decide on what type of washing machine to buy for my home. How can I make a life changing decision like this in minutes? Not going to happen. It was at that moment that I realized I had to buck up, get tough and take control. Damn it, this is my life we are talking about — way more important than a washing machine.
Think Carol, think. . .