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  • Writer's pictureOC Warrior Queen

The Path Forward

Updated: May 22, 2023

It's May 18th, and a lot of us had to turn our heat on last night because of the frost warning, so allow me to add some sunshine and warmth to your day with some good news!


At my post-op follow up yesterday, I got my full biopsy results, along with cancer staging and treatment information.


I have waited 4 weeks for this moment, and it was worth the wait because it turns out that I am part of the lucky ones. Yes, I will be buying a lottery ticket this week!

Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer is KEY! Only 15% of cases get detected early.

I hope that by sharing my story, I can help raise that number.


The Results

Other than the mass itself, my biopsy is clear!


No cancer cells were detected in any of the tissue or the ascites. No spread detected. That means the cancer was detected at Stage Ia. Excellent News!


The tumor biopsy concluded it was a High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer. It is actually the most common type of Ovarian Cancer (70-75% of cases), but it also happens to have the poorest outlook because it is usually found at Stage III or IV.


At late stages, people with this subtype are known to have a 40-50% survival rate. A number that has not budged over the last 50 years! This is due to the evasive and silent nature of the disease, but also due to a lack of funding.


Click here to read an article by Elisabeth Baugh, CEO of Ovarian Cancer Canada, the only national charity dedicated to confronting this disease.


The earlier we detect it, the better the outcome. In my case, Stage I survival rates are at 80-90%. The reason is that high-grade cancers respond well to treatment when detected early. This is because chemotherapy targets fast-growing cells, which by the way is why it also attacks hair follicles.


With these statistics and early detection, my oncologist was so happy to share this news.

She literally saved my life by removing that mass!

I had a pretty strong gut feeling that the cancer was only in my ovary. I don't know why, but I just knew it in my core.


That "doom" feeling I described in an earlier post was gone once I had surgery. But of course, once in a while I'd have lingering thoughts, questionning “What if there are other cancer cells swimming around?"


I am glad that I can shut that mental radio off now because it is no longer a feeling or a hunch, but a fact! I do not have any lingering cancer cells.


Next Steps

Because of the aggressive nature of this cancer, we don’t want to mess around.


That means I’ll need some chemotherapy, starting in June. It’s going to be 6 rounds of treatment. I'll be receiving a combination of carboplatin and taxol intravenously for 6 hours, every 3 weeks.

Did you know Taxol is a synthetic version of a compound originally derived from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree?

Thanks to Indigenous Peoples' vast knowledge of the land and it's flora, we have this life saving medicine available today!



Yes, it will cause hairloss. But I refuse to just “lose” it. I don’t want the cancer or the chemotherapy to take it.


It’s mine, and I will decide what happens to it.


So, I’ll be going for a haircut next week! (I would love it if you could share pictures of short cuts in the comments!)


In addition to treatment, I will also go for some additional scans, including that of my brain and intestines to ensure there is no sneaky metastasis activity, especially because they found an insignificant amount of neuroendocrine type cells in the mass. Nothing alarming but we don't want to leave any stones unturned. We also scheduled genetic testing to ensure we are equipped with all the knowledge we need to kick this cancer's butt.


Yes, I’m a fighter and I went to seek help at the right time, but I really need to emphasize the excellence of the medical team, especially my gynaecologic oncologist!


If anyone ever needs to see an oncologist for gynaecological cancers (I hope you won’t), PLEASE find a gynaecologic oncologist because studies show a better outcome when you’re in the care of one!

The reason is simple, they don’t just diagnose you, they perform the surgery and build the entire treatment plan. They know exactly what was removed or biopsied because they did the surgery themselves. This means they are with you every step of the way.


Phoenix Rising

Given the statistics and the prognosis data, I feel as if I was given a 2nd life.


It has given me a renewed perspective and outlook on life and purpose. As strange as it may sound, I see this experience as a gift because usually a person has their renewed perspective at an older age. And so, I almost consider myself lucky because I am young and therefore have time to actually act on it, and do something with this "renewal".


There are many things shifting in my mind, and one of them is the anchoring of a voice getting louder and louder. It's my own, and it's telling me to become a voice for women with this cancer, especially those that didn't live long enough to speak up.

I lived to tell the tale, so I feel compelled to tell it and raise awareness!

Listen to your body, respect it, love it, and give it all the attention it needs.


And especially to moms and dads: The best way to think about it is to think of your body as one of your children. Wouldn’t you listen to the needs of your child and give them love and attention? Well, your body needs the same.


Thanks for all the love and support.


Talk soon!


Alvina,

OC Warrior Queen





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3 Comments


Guest
May 19, 2023

Bonjour Alvina


Continue d'être forte comme tu le démontre.

J'ai une autre amie qui a gagné sa bataille, il y a 3 ans.

Elle est maintenant très active pour la marche du cancer des ovaires.

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Guest
May 19, 2023

So beautiful! So inspiring! You were clearly made to be the voice of women facing this and to spread awareness!

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Guest
May 18, 2023

Ton texte est très inspirant, Alvina!

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