Isn’t it funny that when we are young, we think we have full control of our lives? My life has not turned out as I had planned; nonetheless, God did a beautiful job of it himself. Sometimes beauty is pain, though, just the name of the game, I suppose.
I really didn’t think I could have any more babies, I thought that ship had sailed, which made me a little sad, but I was always ok cause God had already given me two beautiful boys to raise and love, and I didn’t want to be selfish about it. So the night I took that last pregnancy test in November 2020, I was shocked in tears. Fears and joy. Overwhelming feelings. Life was literally about to change for all of us, but I just didn’t know exactly how just yet. Then to find out it was a boy was amazing, just what I wanted. Within days I knew he was Matteo. No other name felt right. Matteo meaning a gift from God. Little did we know that he would live up to that name like no other.
There were complications pretty early on, which was new for me, being that my first two pregnancies were textbook normal. Then, I experienced spotting and went to the ER. They found a large cyst on my right ovary and a small one on my left. They also said that the cyst on the right showed a solid mass in it, and they couldn’t rule out cancer, but since I was so young, they weren’t too concerned. After two more visits to the ER for the pain, they tell me that along with the cysts, there was a mass sitting on my uterus that looked like fibroids, and they would remove that after my baby was born.
As the pregnancy went on, the pain on my right side became so intense that I needed help out of bed. I also felt as if I had a UTI and had pain while urinating. I was also experiencing severe bloating. I would get to work & by the time I got to my post for the day, my stomach would be so extended I looked as if I was six months pregnant. I was very verbal about all of my symptoms with my OBGYN & he kept an eye on the cyst, prescribed me antibiotic after antibiotic for the UTI that seemed never to go away, & also put me on disability for the remainder of my pregnancy due to the pain.
After a few trips to the ER, scans, labs, and a specialist visit later, my OBGYN decided to remove the cyst from my right ovary once I was in my second trimester but before 20 weeks of pregnancy for my baby’s safety. What was supposed to be a simple procedure, in and out, the baby would be fine led to another emergency exploratory surgery in which they fixed an issue with my intestines and removed the mass that was sitting on my uterus. Unfortunately, my Matteo didn’t make it in my belly much longer. I lost him, a beautiful little boy who would have been my world. He is so loved and missed dearly every single second of every single day.
During all those procedures, tests were done, biopsies were taken, and the specialists found cancer. The mass was not fibroids after all & the right cyst was also cancerous. The biopsies of my pancreas, liver and surrounding lymph nodes came back negative. However, the fluid surrounding that right ovary is cancerous. Therefore, I have been diagnosed with unstaged ovarian cancer.
If it wasn’t for my baby, who knows how long it would have taken me to find out that my own body was attacking itself. I had no pain, no symptoms, no warning before I became pregnant. It would have killed me if it wasn’t for Matteo. That precious angel saved his mama’s life. I have never had a hero before, but I do now. It was a long hard hospital stay trying to learn to do everyday activities again after what my body had just been through.
There were dark days, days that I felt like maybe I couldn’t keep going. The pain physically, emotionally, and mentally was just unbearable at times. Nightmares of what I had been through caused me to stay up all night with anxiety and the fears of what the road looked like ahead of me. Almost three months ago, I would have never thought I would make this post and tell my story. All the while, my mom, sister, two boys, and best friends Laura and Brad have been there when it mattered the most.
I never knew how important a good support system is until now. I couldn’t have and can’t go through all of this without them. As the days went on, the darkness went from days and are now just moments. I had to train my body to move and function. I had to train my mind to be strong and optimistic.
Since being home, I have laughed, I have smiled, & daily I think of Matteo. I am trying my hardest to be as strong as I can through chemo. I have a total of 6 treatments of chemo. I have already gotten through my first one, and surprisingly, I feel amazing still. I have experienced mild joint pain, hair loss, & some tingling/numbness at the bottom of my feet, but the really bad symptoms remain at bay. I truly believe my mindset and optimism, and positivity has helped me in this healing process. I realized that if I don’t fight for my life, what was it all for, why was he here, why did he lose his life? My three beautiful boys are what I will fight for every day until I can put all this in the rearview mirror.
My doctors at Clovis Community Cancer Institution and I are very confident that I will beat this. I want to thank the countless friends for reaching out, who have been heartbroken by my story, who have had made time for me. It means the world. I am sharing this story publicly on my social media accounts just in case this helps anyone. If I can go through all of this and feel my strongest while facing the scariest thing I have ever had to confront, you can do it too.
I know reading stories and seeing women be so strong has brought strength to me, so I want to do the same for others. I want Matteo’s story to be heard. I want my story to be heard. I have already gotten so much feedback from my posts & have gained friends and mentors in this ovarian cancer community. Cancer has changed my life for the better. I can see what I want out of life and how I want to spend my time on this earth, and I can’t wait to ring that bell and start changing the world where I can.
My name is Yvonne. I am 35 years old. I was born and raised in Central California. I am a boy mom times three. My sons are 19 & 13, and my angel up in heaven. I have been a correctional nurse for 10 years. I am an ovarian cancer fighter. My support squad is amazing. I can’t wait to beat cancer and do great things with what I have learned.