Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance Community Partner

Greetings

Hi Everyone, If you had told me nine years ago that I would have Ovarian Cancer, and be writing a blog to share my thoughts about it, I would have thought you were crazy!  Yet here I am, hoping to connect with others whose lives have been touched by Ovarian Cancer, and share my own experience.  My hope is to reflect on all that cancer cannot take from us, as well as on the power of hope and positive thinking!  I have Cancer, it doesn’t have me.  All of us who are touched in some way by this illness are so much more than the Cancer we face.  It is just one part of our lives.  It does not define who we are.  We cannot ever give it that power. As a way of introduction I will start at the beginning so that you know my own personal circumstances.  Nine years ago I had pain and cramping on my right abdominal side, and went to my gynecologist, who ordered an ultrasound to investigate.  It was a cyst that would disappear on its own.  No problem.  Except that the ultrasound also found a tumor on my left ovary.  I remember feeling frozen in time, wanting to “unhear” what the doctor had just said to me.  That was not to be.  I had no symptoms, no warning.  Long story short, I had a complete hysterectomy.  No follow-up treatment was indicated.  I went for my frequent check-ups and all was well.  A year later my CT scan showed cancer activity – a small spot in my pelvic area.  So off to surgery I went.  What was supposed to be a two hour surgery turned into seven, as they found much more cancer than they initially thought there was.  My surgery was followed by chemo.  Then all went well for two years, until a scan once again showed cancer activity.  Surgery and chemo followed.  I have an existing mass in my abdomen that is difficult to operate on, and is being controlled by chemo.  I am presently receiving chemo treatments.. By this time you must be asking “Where the heck is the hopeful part?!?!?”  Let’s get to that.  First and foremost, I am living my life fully.  I am doing fine.  I go for my monthly chemo and look on it as a chance to visit with my wonderful doctor and chemo nurse.  During chemo I take ukulele lessons, have reiki treatments, enjoy massage, and have acupuncture.  Mass General provides such wonderful ways to take the focus off the chemo and cancer and to honor the total person.  We must do that not only during treatments and appointments, but each and every day.  Sounds like my name should be Pollyanna, right?  Believe me, I have my dark times, my struggles, my physical issues with side effects – those days where no one should come anywhere near me!  When they come I do a great deal of “self-talk” to remind myself to get out of my own way and enjoy the moment I am in, even if the moment is being spent in bed!  I don’t have control over the Cancer but I do have control over how I deal with it. I am hoping to share my thoughts and feelings with you now and then, in the hopes that my experience might somehow help others.  I am in no way an expert on ANYTHING and do not presume to be so.  I am just trying to find my way. If I have to have Ovarian Cancer, I want to put it to use to help others if I can.  I am so grateful to Diane Riche and Ribbons to Remember for inviting me to be a part of their amazing organization.  In the coming months I’ll share stories about my journey – everything from embarrassing moments, some funny experiences, birds, my Joy Jar, my own sometimes ridiculous behavior, affirmations, visualizations, frustrations, my family, my medical team, my treatments, the love affair I have with grilled cheese, and of course, my ongoing relationship with my bed. Sounds all over the place, doesn’t it?  Believe it or not, it’s all tied in with my cancer experience.  Hopefully you will be able to relate, to commiserate, and to laugh with me. We have to have humor.  It’s a key ingredient.  Sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps me sane (though the jury is still out on that!). ‘Til Next Time, MJ Keenan

4 Comments

  1. Angel on June 11, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    What an amazing attitude you have! Every second in life counts. Even the bad ones, I look forward to reading your next post.



  2. Deb on June 11, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing your incredible journey with is. You have such an amazing attitude & that I think is what helps gets us through this. We need to be out enjoying life, taking the good with the bad.
    Look forward to reading your next post..



  3. Susan on June 12, 2014 at 5:26 am

    Friends for almost 40 years….you are one of my dearest friends, MJ. I applaud you for the way you are living your life with this cancer-you are an inspiration for those dealing with illness and for those who simply have the honor of knowing you! Your journey is not an easy one-but your attitude and loved ones around you(me included!) will make it as pleasant(maybe bearable is a better word) as it can be. I want to thank YOU for all you have given me in my cancer journey-though I have not had Ovarian Cancer- it has so greatly affected my life.
    For all of those who read your new blog- how lucky they will be to hear your inspirations-they will lift us all!



  4. Liz on June 23, 2014 at 9:32 am

    This post really gets to the heart of this experience. The part that cancer plays in the whole of a life. Looking forward to more.



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