Ovarian & Primary Peritoneal Cancer Patient Stories
At age 81, in the fall of 2013, Frances Johnson said she began to notice pain near the left side of her waist. She had a yearly physical scheduled with her primary doctor, so she raised her concerns then. “I told my primary doctor that I had the pain and he sent me for a CAT scan. After the results, I was told everything looked fine. I began to accept the pain as normal pain from getting older,” shares Fran.
For over 25 years, Michelle Sealer, who is now in her forties, has valiantly fought ovarian cancer while keeping her faith. "I am a religious person and I pray a lot. I believe my faith has helped guide me through the years," says Michelle.
Michelle’s medical journey started when she was in college in 1993. "I started having irregular periods, pain in my right side, and I just wasn't feeling right. I visited the college health center and then was told to go to the local community hospital for treatment," she remembers.
Within two weeks, Mary Schwarzenberger’s life as she knew it would never be the same. On April 2, 2015, Mary made an appointment with her general practitioner after experiencing what she thought was a urinary tract infection. “When he examined me, he noticed enlargement of my ovary, and he arranged for an immediate ultrasound. When I had the ultrasound I asked them to forward results to both my general doctor and my gynecologist,” Mary recalls.
An outdoors enthusiast, Joan E. Foley, PhD, took 25-mile bike rides three to four times a week. She also enjoys sailing, boating and nearly every activity on the water. Otherwise healthy, trim and active, Joan began to feel bloated and experienced indigestion for several months in early 2014. She made an appointment with her family doctor for a blood work-up. “I thought it was lactose or glucose intolerance or a stomach virus," shares Joan. Because her test results revealed elevated levels of an ovarian cancer marker (CA-125s), a CAT scan was ordered.
When Cathy Van Horn met with her Fox Chase Cancer Center team in 2012, she knew where things stood. “I understood that my cancer wasn’t going to be cured. The best we could do was to manage my cancer and keep it at bay. The longer we could stay positive and keep moving forward, the longer I’d be here.”