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Stories of Inspiration

My Dog urged me to listen to my body

By May 14, 2021May 13th, 2024No Comments

After suffering from severe bloating, bowel issues, frequent urination, and a few other symptoms I started consulting the doctors. I was going to the doctor for what I thought were digestive issues. My doctor told me it was gas. I saw another doctor. After feeling my belly which has a hard spot, I was referred to a gastroenterologist. I knew something was wrong.

My Doberman Iso helped push me to see an OBGYN. I would go into the bathroom and she would go with me. Of course, we have zero privacy.  She would always sniff us when we pee.  She started to sniff when I pee then make eye contact. Sniff again and make eye contact.  I just thought she wanted something.  It was that type of stare.  She was trying to tell me something.

January 12, 2017, After a couple of weeks of Iso doing this, I went to my OBGYN for an annual.  I was told by my previous ob-gyn that I was so healthy I didn’t need to go but every 3 years.  So I was 3 years and some odd months past my last pap.  We relocated to Arizona a little over a year prior. I found a new ob-gyn and scheduled an appointment.  During my appointment, I talked to her about all my digestive issues and mentioned my dog being weird with me.  She decided to do an internal ultrasound.  She said, “I think I found your problem”. As the ob-gyn and her assistant were watching the monitor I knew something was wrong. The look on her assistant’s face was clear that it was not normal. There is was a 13cm tumor. I did a CA125 Blood test prior to leaving. I was then scheduled for a CT scan. I kept it together until I got outside. I cried all the way home and I just couldn’t call my family. I thought about my life and the reasons I wasn’t ready to die.  Scared and confused, I was told they weren’t sure if it was cancer.  I broke the news to my family when I got home.

My results came back. I quickly went to see an oncologist. My appointment was on a Friday and my surgery was scheduled for the following Monday. There was not a lot of time to actually process anything. What we knew was that my left ovary had a 13cm tumor that was hanging on my right side and by surgery day it had attached itself to my pelvis. Even until the day of my surgery my team of doctors wasn’t sure if it was cancer.  I was 40 years old so the chances of me having ovarian cancer were 4.3%.

February 6, 2017, came way too fast. I signed off on 2 surgeries.

1-Ovary tube and tumor removal.

2- Once inside they would send off a part of the tumor for testing. They said it only takes about 15 Minutes. If it came back as cancer a radical hysterectomy and debulking would happen.

The next thing I know I’m awake and I’m being told I have cancer.  I remember calmly responding “ok”.  I couldn’t process it I guess.  The next morning my doctors came in asking how I’m feeling and if I remember talking to them the night before.  I said “yes”.  Again calmly.  They asked if I needed them to call the hospital therapist so I could talk to them.  I declined.  Saying “I’m ok”.  Again I couldn’t quite comprehend the fact that I had cancer.  I was so calm they were concerned.  I like to say I went onto autopilot. My autopilot lasted a year. The cancer was confined to the ovary. However, my tumor ruptured during surgery, so I was scheduled for chemotherapy.

Chemo didn’t treat me well. I was in bed for a week. I thought a lot during this time. I also learned that even though I said I couldn’t do it again, I did. My will to live was stronger than the temporary feeling of being on death’s doorstep.  My last chemo was one of the best days of my life. I was scheduled for a CT scan to make sure my treatment was working.

May 13, 2017 – my scan showed a nodule on my lung – not the news I wanted to hear.  On May 18, 2017, I was then scheduled for a lung biopsy. I was wide awake and scared as hell.  Keeping a brave face, my lung biopsy was complete.


Let’s fast forward to today.  Let’s focus on how I feel about my journey.  You see cancer doesn’t mean you become a different person.  Although it changes you,  I am still me.

The person I was always destined to be.

~I’m stubborn.

~I’m not a quitter.

~ I’m not competitive.

~ When I love,  I love with every ounce of my being.

~I’m funny, although that’s what people say.

~I don’t like being told what to do.

~I love animals more than I can convey.

~I’m an introverted extrovert (although no one believes me).

~I have so much empathy I cry for others.

I’m sure I’m missing some.  My point is all those things are who I am.  What I didn’t understand was that those things wouldn’t change.  After surgery and during my treatments I would cry.  “I don’t want this to change who I am”. I was terrified of being changed.  I was so afraid of becoming angry and bitter and victimizing myself.   I tried so hard every single minute of every single day to focus on the now.  I still didn’t quite comprehend that I had cancer. I knew I had it but mentally I was so focused on surviving treatments just making it through the day.  I don’t think it was until recently I stopped saying “Can you believe I have/had cancer”?  2017 was the best and worst year of my life.

So you see, I am not cancer.

I am me.

I am a cancer survivor.

Victoria Rak

I’ve since then started a Bath Body brand that focuses on healthy clean products. Out of the darkness and into the light, Cheekiesoaps was born.

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