Brielle's Journey with Ovarian and Fallopian Tube Cancer

Patient: Ovarian and Fallopian Tube Cancer

Patient Info: Currently in active treatment (initial surgery, receiving chemo rounds/radiation), Diagnosed: over 5 years ago, Female, Age: 66, Stage IIIC

  1. 1
    • Brielle
    • Experience with Ovarian and Fallopian ...
    over 4 years ago
    Brielle's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    In the spring of 2011, I began to have frequent urinary tract infections, bloating and little energy. Several doctors appointments indicated these were aging symptoms. By the end of the summer, I knew something was not right and persisted with my family doctor because of the bloating, inability to eat, gurgling stomach and fatigue. A CT scan indicated problems. My family and I were in shock and denial. I was actively working very hard, planning to retire in a few years and preparing for a daughter's wedding. My husband and I were traveling and visiting with family as often as possible.We decided to take a very active approach. After surgery and chemo, I returned to work for a few months then retired. In July of 2012, a recurrence was discovered in my liver. While participating in a clinical trial in December of 2012 , another spot was detected in my lung. My family and I continue to have faith and want to pursue aggressive approaches in fighting the cancer.

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  2. 2
    • Brielle
    • Experience with Ovarian and Fallopian ...
    about 4 years ago
    Brielle's Avatar

    Debulking surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    A debulking surgery took place at St. Francis Health and involved: total hysterectomy, resection of momentum, removal of cancer from the outside of my bladder, liver, kidney and small intestine, resection of colon, and removal of my appendix. The anticipated 3hour surgery actually took 51/2 hours. My gynecological oncologist who performed the surgery thought he had gotten 95 percent of the cancer. We thought he was a miracle worker! As my stomach muscles had been cut, there was an adjustment to walking ( ESP upstairs), eating showering and dressing. Thank goodness my family was here to help. Later I had a power port surgically implanted in my chest and an abdominal port surgically implanted. My gync onc and another oncologist worked as a team with our local oncologist to have some procedures done in Columbus. I have been very fortunate that all oncologists have communicated and supported decisions. On many days, my motto was " It is what it is, just deal with it."

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  3. 3
    • Brielle
    • Experience with Ovarian and Fallopian ...
    about 4 years ago
    Brielle's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    After surgery, I received two IV chemo treatments of carboplatin and taxol. The side effects were loss of appetite and fatgue. The onc told me that the 5th day would be the toughest and he was right. Following were 3 IP treatments with cisplatin and taxol. These treatments were much more challenging with hospitalizations, loss of hair, drop in platelet counts, white and red counts low, and concerns with potassium and magnesium levels. My appetite was very weak losing 40 plus pounds and I relied on chicken noodle soup, Boost , Popsicles and water. My onc suggested drinking at least two liters of water daily. Because of my body's reaction, the 6th chemo was anIV treatment as in the first two. Since the chemo, I've struggled with fatigue, chemo fog , and stamina. After the recurrence in July, I have now been determined to have platinum resistant ovarian cancer. During my treatments the oncology nurses both locally and at St. Francis have been such a blessing and always ready to assist, offer advice and help in anyway. They are very special in this journey. Following the advice of my doctors, who are very much research based, has also been a blessing in dealing with all the side and after effects. I just keep telling myself that I have to get through this to get to the other side and be well.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  4. 4
    • Brielle
    • Experience with Ovarian and Fallopian ...
    about 4 years ago
    Brielle's Avatar

    Proceed, EC 145 and Doxil. As my journey contiues, I just started a new clinical trial with taxol and mm121.

    Clinical Trial

    After the recurrence, my gyn onc provided the wonderful opportunity to participate in a clinical trial. We jumped at the chance for me to participate. Being a Lifelong educator, I was excited to be an information donor as part of a new drug that could impact the future especially for my daughters and grandchildren. The side effects of the Doxil and EC145 or placebo have been minimal. The fatigue continues and the hand foot syndrome is under control. My skin has been extremely dry and the mouth sores kept at bay by gargling twice a day with salt water. Neulasta shots helped keep my counts up, but gave me flu like symptoms for several days. By keeping notes about my reactions to the shot, it helped in knowing what to expect each time. Constipation has also been a challenge. Partipation in the study was a blessing with the clinical nurse, frequent monitoring and visits with the gyn onc. During recent monitoring, it was discovered that my lesions had increased is size and I no longer qualify for the clinical trial. We are hoping to find another clinical trial soon.

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  5. 5
    • Brielle
    • Experience with Ovarian and Fallopian ...
    about 4 years ago
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    Chemo brain

    Side Effects

    Side effect during my treatments have included hair loss ( get a good wig or be creative with scarves, hats, etc.); loss of appetite; intense stomach pains; fatigue; low blood levels ;stamina and skin issues. At one time, I was a very heavy coffee drinker and now can't stand the taste. Cream based soups also can't be tolerated. Medications have been helpful. I have also learned to stay in and away from crowds if my white counts are low, rest if needed and avoid negative people. Negative people zap me of my energy. Chemo brain has been a difficult adjustment. I have found that writing things down helps keep me focused. One of our daughters gave me a mug that says "the chemo mde me do it" and I can so relate to the saying. While my gyn onc is always available to answer questions or provide support, the oncology nurses have offered great suggestions on dealing with side effects. There are no dumb questions when dealing with cancer. The drug websites, American Cancer Society website, advocacy groups such as Ovar' coming Together, and sites such as this one also have provided helpful information in dealing with side effects. Listening to the advice of professionals makes the journey so much more tolerable.

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  6. 6
    • Brielle
    • Experience with Ovarian and Fallopian ...
    about 4 years ago
    Brielle's Avatar

    Blessings daily

    Celebration

    Blesssings continue on a daily basis. My hair has grown back very curly, but still with gray. My weight loss has maintained. I attended my daughters wedding last year and they just gave us our ninth beautiful grandchild. I am so thankful and appreciative to enjoy these and family blessings. We visit with our daughters as often as possible. It is such a joy to watch my grandchildren grow. Anytime spent with them in person, on FaceTime or on the phone is wonderful. The kindness and thoughtfulness of friends, co-workers, family members and church member has been overwhelming. I feel very blessed to be surrounded with such dedicated, knowledgeable, and caring professionals. The new St. Francis Cancer Center is wonderful and offers hope. Each day there are angels and blessings in my life. It is a celebration to be here each day.

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  7. 7
    • Brielle
    • Experience with Ovarian and Fallopian ...
    about 4 years ago
    Brielle's Avatar

    Treatment options and attitude

    Decision Point

    When advice is needed, I first pray for guidance. Next I turn to my husband who has been a source of strength and a great care partner driving me to chemo, taking notes during appointments so I can refer to them later, doing household maintenance when needed and providing support whenever needed. Although living a distance away, my other family members have also been a source of strength. My gyn onc and his office staff have partnered with us to develop a very trusting relationship and have worked as a team with other professionals when needed. While I have always been independent and self sufficient, I've learned that superwoman does not live here anymore. It is ok to rest when needed and lean on other people as there are angels all around and others willing to help if asked. My favorite verse is "Trust in the Lord with all your heart." My hope continues to be for a vey long remission. The main thing learned in all the opportunities and challenges of this experience is how truly blessed I have been on this journey. Life is not a dress rehearsal and we must appreciate each day and the blessings that surround us.

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  8. 8
    • Brielle
    • Experience with Ovarian and Fallopian ...
    about 4 years ago
    Brielle's Avatar

    Treatment Options

    Decision Point

    The first place I turn for advice and guidance is through prayer. My husband is my next source of support and has been a wonderful care partner going to chemo treatments , appointments, taking notes during consultations so I can refer back to them, and assuming household duties when needed. I have been so fortunate that my gync onc has partnered with us in this journey. He and his office staff have truly been amazing. He also referred me to a wonderful oncologist at St. Francis for my IP chemo. While, I have always been independent and self-sufficient, this is when I have had to learn to lean on others. Superwoman no longer lives here. Others are always willing to help. My favorite scripture has been "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. " I have also had to learn to listen to my body more. It is ok if I am tired to take a rest. I have learned to set daily goals. During the rough chemo, a goal might have been just to take a shower. My hope contines for long term remission. Although my life has very much changed after my diagnosis, the greatest lesson I have learned is how truly blessed my life has been along this journey.

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  9. 9
    • Brielle
    • Experience with Ovarian and Fallopian ...
    about 4 years ago
    Brielle's Avatar

    Decision Point

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

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  10. 10
    • Brielle
    • Experience with Ovarian and Fallopian ...
    about 4 years ago
    Brielle's Avatar

    Clinical Trial

    As my journey continues, I just started a clinical trial with Taxol and MM 121. Keeping positive thoughts that this will bring great results.

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  11. 11
    • Brielle
    • Experience with Ovarian and Fallopian ...
    about 4 years ago
    Brielle's Avatar

    Celebration

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

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  12. 12
    • Brielle
    • Experience with Ovarian and Fallopian ...
    over 3 years ago
    Brielle's Avatar

    Clinical Trial

    Released from the MM121 and taxol trial because the cancer started growing again. Four weeks ago started third clinical trial CC486 with carboplatin. Here's hoping the third one "is the charm." Educating people about the warning signs of ovarian cancer has become a mission. Early diagnosis is so important in helping to prevent others from experiencing this journey. But it is so nice to have this forum of others who share in the journey.

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