My cousin has ovarian cancer. I wish I could say she “had” ovarian cancer, because we all thought that she beat it. She had the hysterectomy, she had the chemotherapy. She was given a clean bill of health. That was until this week. My cousin is 43 years old. She has a great husband of 15 years, and 2 great kids. She has a ton of great friends, and seems to always have people in her corner. She has an amazing job, which she does very well. She is bubbly, vivacious, and smart. She lives life to the max. Even so, the tumors came back, after a mere 9 months.
Now she is facing another round of chemo and entrance into a study involving PARP inhibitors. The preliminary studies look promising, so I can only hope that she is in the experimental group, and not the placebo group. I hate the idea that her potential treatment will be randomized, not on her need, her place in life, the role that she plays, but on chance. The best science makes no favorites. Even as she waits to see the doctors, her cancer grows. How unfair.
I have not seen this relative for about a year, but have communicated throughout her struggle with ovarian cancer over the past year. I have also been able to follow her blog, chronicling her fears, hopes, dreams throughout the process. None of us understand how it feels to have cancer unless you have it. As of this writing, I have not. I am struggling with the possible idea that she may not beat it this time. I struggle with this, and fear, that if I make a special effort to visit her, that it may be the last time I see her. On the other hand, if I do not, I fear that I would never see her again. My future father-in-law’s first wife died of ovarian cancer at the age of 60, after the hysterectomy, after a recurrence when, as he says, “the cancer came back with a vengeance”. She didn’t last very long after that.
My cousin has blogged, in the past, of famous people who had ovarian cancer, and ovarian cancer survivors, and noted that the latter was much less than the former. How awful to be going through something like this, and how awful to even know what to do! Cancer is unbiased, uncaring, unwilling to negotiate with those who should stay and live life with the rest of us.
She has done so much good, raising money for ovarian cancer research throughout her struggle, and initial fight. As she faces her next, more difficult fight, I can only hope and pray that she gets through this, and has another chance to say that she “had” ovarian cancer.