Goodbye October, so long…


Poem dedicated to my Breast Cancer counterparts – author unknown

We flash them, we smash them, we push then way up,
We shake them, we stuff them in the wrong sized cup….
Boyfriends and husbands all crave them, our children have drained them…
Some of you have even named them, we go through our lives and knock them about, One thing I must shout…our boobies have been there through thick and thin…and life is too precious to let Cancer win….

Boy am I so glad October is done and dusted? I waited for five days just to make sure I will not wake up and find that it is still October. I don’t particularly like the hype that is created in October about breast cancer; maybe I am jealous because I feel there is no hype at all about ovarian cancer.

I just recently learned that September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and have picked up that there are a few organisations that are focused on advocacy and awareness campaigns on ovarian cancer as opposed to Breast Cancer. This post is not about the battle of the cancers…

For a person who has been on remission from ovarian cancer since 2008, it’s embarrassing that I did not know this.

The breast people are over zealots, who talk openly about their perky breast, how it feels to lose them and the reconstructive surgery that they are fortunate enough to undergo. After the reconstructive surgery they proudly show off their new sets. It’s all inspiring when you think of what a cancer patient has to go through, the emotional trauma, feeling inadequate, almost wanting to give up on life, the turbulence caused by the treatment and all sorts of emotions that cancer patients go through…all of which we experience differently.

I understand, love and support my sisters who have faced or are currently facing breast cancer…and I am blessed to have friends who support all CANCER initiatives through sports or any other forms….and yes, wait for it, I support them too, without posing the question “what cancer is this going towards?” Please continue supporting, it means a lot to all suffers who are so much in need of the care and support provided by these initiatives.

I was wondering why am I not entirely a fan of Breast Awareness month though? ….I have a sense of what a breast cancer patient goes through…what is wrong with me? well I considered various possible reasons, could it be because I am a cup B, maybe my twins are not perky enough, they do not have that bounce effect you see in movies in slow motion when a hot woman is running towards some equally hot dude…could the main reason be that Ovarian Cancer is not as ‘visible’ as Breast Cancer?

When you start talking about ovarian cancer, people have no idea what you are on about, they frown upon it, yet if you mention breast cancer, they uuuuhhhhmmmm because they think breasts…YES YES YES and their eyes move to the region of the torso looking to the right and the left side. So they recognise the cancer concept even though they might not understand it. It’s quite easy to convince people who have some recognition of a ‘thing’ to support it.

Now with ovarian cancer it’s a different story altogether, but since you are reading this post let me bore you with some information about it- ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly of women’s cancers, each year thousands of women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

The World Health Organisation estimates that there are over 238,000 new cases diagnosed annually and nearly 152,000 deaths worldwide. This cancer typically occurs in women in their fifties and sixties with the median age being 63. Many women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a genetic history that may include carrying some mutation gene and having a strong family history of ovarian cancer – despite the age group some women do get diagnosed from their mid-20s.

Ovarian cancer often starts silently, not showing symptoms until its later stages, hence it is deadly…but if it is detected at its earliest stage, the 5-year survival rate is more that 93%. I am glad to say I have survived it.

Pray tell me how do I even begin to explain this to the next person?

Ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries. Ovaries are reproductive glands found in women. The ovaries produce eggs for reproduction. The eggs travel through the fallopian tubes into the uterus where the fertilized egg implants and develops into a fetus. Blah Blah Blah… By the time you get here, you have lost this poor person…people in general are fascinated by breasts and there is nothing wrong with that, but how do you get someone fascinated about ovaries or the uterus? It does not sound at all…. And then when I think this is it and then uterine cancer also known as endometrial cancer occurs…How boring can they both be? As boring as the name of the new cancer is, it’s a challenge I am facing and looking forward to conquering.

So as I bid October farewell, I touch my breasts to feel them, very slowly, I remind myself that I have to be thankful that I have them, whilst wishing all my cancer equals well on their journey to beating cancer, and lastly reminding myself that my cancer, be it on the ovaries or uterus deserves its own ‘Pink, Yellow, Lime, Green’ colour drive hype!

I am challenged because; this post right here is all I am doing to highlight the need of doing more about the silent, invisible ovarian cancer that takes so many women’s lives every year, those who have passed on, may their souls rest in peace. To those who are currently going through it, be strong you can beat it…I did.

And lastly to those of you who do not know if you have it or not, please do not take for granted your regular health examinations like the pap-smear and other screening tests…I cannot tell you to touch your ovaries and feel a lump with your palm, so you need to do these tests…