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Stories of Inspiration

Celebrating Survivorship – Penelope’s Story

My diagnosis of ovarian cancer was a shock. I was seeking medical intervention for endometriosis, which I had been struggling with since my teens. I met with a doctor at Penn to discuss treatment options. Surgery was the route to remove several cysts and tissue that had built up from my disease, causing me issues with my menstrual cycle and G.I. tract. I was told that pathology would check my cysts for cancer because, while it’s rare, it’s possible. Needless to say, two weeks post-op, I received the news that they had found a hard tumor in a cyst that was removed from my left ovary. I was diagnosed with Endometrioid adenocarcinoma.

This means the endometriosis I have been struggling with since my teens led to this type of ovarian cancer. I had a second surgery scheduled after to remove the left ovary and to have several biopsies to ensure my cancer had not spread. All 15 biopsies taken had come out negative, but since another cyst had formed on the left ovary and ruptured on the way out, I was encouraged to do chemo. The risk was too great to leave it alone. So, I did a precautionary regimen of four rounds of chemotherapy.
The reason I am supporting the NOCC is to help support its efforts in helping women like myself through such a journey! I hope that my small footprint can make the difference in someone else’s life. As for being a part of Together in Teal, it means that I am here to tell my story as a Survivor. I walk for me but, more importantly, for all the warriors out there who are going through treatment, beat treatment, or lost their battle. I want to encourage women to start screening early and to listen to their bodies because it has a way of telling them something is wrong. You must advocate for yourselves.
Cancer has made me realize even more how precious life truly is. In this fast-paced world, we are always on the go, but sometimes, we need a reminder to stop, take in, and admire its beauty.
Most importantly, it has made me even more humble. As a young girl, I was always told to be kind to others because you never know what someone is going through. A simple smile can truly change someone’s day!

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