I thought it was odd when my mom called me on a Monday night but I had no clue she would say four words that would change our lives forever…I have ovarian cancer. Even after she said it, I was clueless as to the severity of this type of cancer and that’s a problem! Shouldn’t I have known? I mean, after all, I DO have ovaries.
Despite having recently had all the tests and screens that a 56 year old woman should have, my young and vibrant mother was diagnosed with Stage 3C ovarian cancer that had metastasized to the abdomen and colon. Her only symptoms were bloating in the abdomen and pain in the belly button.
Six long months later, she was officially in remission. It took two major surgeries, chemotherapy, and what seemed like every complication under the sun to get there!
We celebrated with a wonderful family vacation to San Francisco and had the time of our lives. Mom also threw a party to thank family and friends for their support during her treatment. Her reaction was priceless when my friends and I arrived from North Carolina and surprised her to help out at the party!
Our joy was short-lived because one year later, the cancer was back. Again she battled through months of chemo and numerous complications but was back in remission! We were so happy and relieved but I was always so scared that this reprieve would be shorter than the last. As it turned out, my worst fears came true. After only 5-6 short months, the cancer was back again. She went back into treatment for a 3rd time but she was just too weak to continue.
Dr. Mumbles, as we called him, determined there was nothing more he could do for her so she came home on September 10 and entered into hospice care. Joe and I went to Connecticut with our sons to visit her. How could I tell them that they would probably never see her again? During the visit our family and friends joined the Palace Guards team and participated in the Ovarian Cancer Walk. It was bittersweet seeing my mom on stage with the other survivors because I knew she wouldn’t be there next year. Nonetheless, we had a great day!
I spent the next two months going back and forth between North Carolina and Connecticut, always feeling that I was in the wrong place. Balancing responsibilities at home with trying to spend as much time with my mom as possible was a challenge. Luckily with the support of family and wonderful friends, I was able to do both.
My mom’s gift to me on my 40th birthday was her promise that she would fight, and she did for as long as she could. She did not fight so that she could lighten her bags before her journey home. She fought for us, so we could lighten ours. I will always be grateful for her strength and courage because it gave us the chance to live, love, and make memories that will last a lifetime. On Wednesday, November 21, 2012, my mom, Diane DeHippolytis, passed away, a mere two and half years after her diagnosis. She was finally at peace after fighting a long, hard battle.
Join us at the walk and help make a difference. We will match any donation you make in excess of your registration fee! Thank you for your support of Teal Team Six and thank you AH for the suggestion for the team name.