Hello my name is Joanne Oliver, and I am 57 years old and I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, August 5, 2020. I have had two surgeries, the first one was to be a total hysterectomy on October 26, 2020, but with the outcome of having the doctors tell me that they could not do the total hysterectomy because the cancer had spread to much and that I need to have Chemotherapy. My first Chemo treatment was November 23, 2020 and I went every Monday until May 10, 2021. I then was scheduled for a CT scan and with the ok I been scheduled for my second surgery June 3, 2021, and this was to remove the rest of my Ovarian Cancer (total hysterectomy and the omentectomy). This time it was successful and they were able to remove it all, and know that journey is done I am on a new journey. I need to be on a maintenance drug called ( ZEJULA ) this drug is new and has only been out for patience since November of 2020. I was taking 200 mg daily but found the side effects a little to much so my Oncologist has put me down to 100 mg daily and the side effects are still there but I can live with with them. My life has changed a lot as I can't work anymore because of the side effects but on the brighter side I know have more time for my grandbabies ( Jenny and Ethan ). I have kept a journal and I am thinking about write Memoir for my family and with time on my hands I just have to start.
Nice to meet you @MoiMoi . Thank you for taking the time to introduce yourself. Congrats on your beautiful grandkids! I'm sorry you are having sside effects from the drugs. Journaling is a wonderful idea and a memoir would be wonderful and therapeutic. A great way to share your story with others. I was wondering if you'd like to connect with @Sadie12
to share experiences. Welcome !
Welcome to CancerConnection! We are happy you found our little community; I am sure you will find everyone here to be wonderful.
It is great to hear you are in recovery, though I am sorry you have some side effects from your medication. Spending time with grandbabies is always nice! I’m sure they appreciate extra time with you too. Having time with my grandma is something I always appreciate. I write this to you from her house, a grandchild’s favourite place to be. 😊 I love your idea of writing a memoir-that’s a lovely way to reflect on memories and spend some of your free time!
Have you had a chance to explore our site yet? There is a group dedicated to living well after cancer. You may find some other folks who shared similar experiences and have tips for navigating the new journey that you are on! If you’re curious, take a peek here: https://cancerconnection.ca/groups/home/81
There are so many resources and mini communities on our site that could interest you! We even have a spot for blogs… should you want to practice those writing skills before you delve into your memoir! Here is the direct link: https://cancerconnection.ca/blogs
Take good care,
@MoiMoi welcome to what I hope you will find to be a caring and supportive community.
In 2019 at the age of 59, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer just 4 months after a breast cancer diagnosis. After completion of my radiation treatments for the breast cancer, I had a total hysterectomy and omentectomy followed by chemo. Fortunately for me both were stage 1. I am also BRCA1 positive. I am currently on a drug called Lynparza which is a type of targeted therapy called a PARP inhibitor. I will be on it until December. If my CT scan at the end of October still shows I am NED, I will be moving to surveillance but I don’t know yet what that entails.
Did you have genetic testing done? There are different drugs available if you carry certain gene mutations.
Do you have any specific questions I might be able to help with?
I was diagnosed with Stage 3 High Grade Serous Ovarian cancer in the fall 2020, had a complete hysterectomy and removal of my omentum as well. That was followed by 6 rounds of chemo, finishing mid-March 2021. I tested BRCA2 positive and on maintenance drug Lynparza (Olaparib). Things have looked pretty positive since my tests in January.
I also have 2 wonderful grandsons, now 1 and 6, who I raise with my husband. Those boys were my main concern when I was diagnosed and they kept me going and keep me active and smiling.
I keep very active, pay attention to my mind-body connection and I find that helps me. Did you find COVID added another layer of isolation in your cancer journey?
I like to write as well, but I am finding art as my outlet when I have time. I have a hard time reading books since cancer came to me, do you?
I am not back to work yet, but have plans to return in the new year.
This forum is filled with kind, informative, at times humorous people.
Hi Joanne, I think writing a memoir is a brilliant idea. It will be such a gift to your family, and depend on who you choose to share it with, it could also help other women facing ovarian cancer. I’m so glad you have time with Jenny and Ethan now. I wish I had had more time with my grandma. Your grandchildren are lucky to have you in their lives.
Hello @MoiMoi . It seems to me that you had a lot of chemo! Do you want to tell us what side effects you are having from the Zejula?
I had ovarian cancer stage 2. I had the hysterectomy, 6 chemo sessions and 25 radiation treatments. This all started in 2016. I developed lymphedema in both legs, presumably due to all the lymph nodes they removed during surgery. I wear compression stockings almost every day. When I'm at the gym though, (maybe twice a week) I wear knee high compression, with store bought leggings.
I take metformin and simvastatin, which is supposed to help keep cancer from returning. I'm No Evidence of Disease. Good luck with the writing and journaling!
Hello Elsie13, thank you for sharing your story with me! Your the first person I have talked to on this Cancer Society and I thank you for reaching out!
The Zejula side effects for me are, headaches, dizziness, and being nauseous, and that is the worst but thank god they had medication for the nausea so that makes it ok. Those are the only side effect that I have encountered, but I did have to cut the Zejula in half from 200mg to 100mg a day.
Do you have any side effect from you medications? Zejula is supposed to keep the cancer from returning as well. Thank you for the luck on my writing and journaling.
Thank you for sharing your store with me! I would like to ask you as question about your test BRCA2 would you please tell me what that is? I see that a lot and forgive me I'm not sure what that is. I feel like when I go to my Oncologist ( she is great ) I just draw a blank and I never really know what kind of questions I should ask her, and with COVID😖 I can only go in by myself when I see her. I'm sure she mentioned something like that but again I think I have chemo brain.
I have a new saying now and it goes a little like this, If I would have known that grandkids were this much fun I would have had them first! It is great you and your hubby are able to raise your grandbabies there is nothing better then a grandma's love!💖
I like to write in my journal but sometimes it can be hard as I have Osteoarthritis in my hands but typing is becoming more my speed. I'm glad you like art, I wish I had a creative bone in my body, but only my hubby he to love to draw.
I have not returned to work yet because of my side effect from the maintenance drug I take (Zejula ) but with the time I have I am thinking of going to a swim class for my body, I love to swim!
Thank you Sadie12 for reaching out to me hope we talk soon!!
@MoiMoi - With the metformin and simvastatin, there are very few side effects. Sometimes a bit of diarrhea. I used to love raisin bran or frosted mini wheats for breakfast, but now I only have a small bowl once in a while. It says right on the front of the box, “very high in fiber,” so that's like a clue for me - to go easy on that product!
(Just a note - if you reply to someone and can put their link in, such as @Sadie12, that means they will get an email telling them that a message has been made to them - just type the @ and then start typing the name and a drop down list should appear. Select the name.)
So, BRCA2 is one of the genetic mutations that can occur. I was tested as my tumour showed signs and there is some certain types of cancer in my family background. The genetic mutation means that I am at a higher risk for other cancers, such as breast. Knowing that I am higher risks gives me choices for better surveillance and some different treatments. It also informs my younger blood relatives so that they can be tested, if they choose. My oncologist recommended that I be tested.
I will mention that I always record my meetings with my oncologist on my phone (I ask first and neither of the two oncologist\surgeon had any problems with it). That way, I can go back later and listen to see what I missed hearing or to double-check what I thought I understood. Then I can concentrate on our conversation, not taking notes.