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Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer

I was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer after three weeks in the hospital, not being able to eat or drink. All that time I had a nasogastric tube that caused a dry sore throat, yet I was grateful for having the tube because it eased my abdominal pain.

Horrified at my illness after seventy-nine years of health, I reminded myself to be grateful for having had those years. And frustrated as I was at the time it took to get a diagnosis and treatment plan, I was grateful that the team of doctors kept searching until they had a definitive answer.

As it turns out, I was able to tolerate the regimen of chemotherapy and surgery and subsequent chemotherapy fairly well, and now am grateful to be on maintenance medications. Albeit expensive, so far they have kept the cancer at bay. My medical team monitors my blood work to be sure that my tolerance for the medications is in the safe zone.

Do I wish that I never had cancer? Of course! But I am grateful to know that it is not an immediate death sentence, and a medical team has answers. In another era, I would have died by now.

Laura Altshul
New Haven, Connecticut

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