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Why I'm Facing More Than One 'Fight' Because of Ovarian Cancer 

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When I first heard the words, “You have cancer,” I was shocked.

I could not wrap my mind around those words. I immediately thought I would need chemo, as an extra measure to make sure all of the cancer was gone after the surgery.

It turns out my surgeon removed the entire cyst (and the tumor and cancer inside of it). My oncologist told me no chemo or radiation was needed. He told me I was a survivor and we were going to grow old together.

I was touched at his words, but I did not feel like a survivor.

To me, survivor implies you fought a long battle and won. What battle did I fight? I just found out I had a cyst, I had it removed and then I found out it contained cancer. No chemo or radiation needed. So again, what battle did I fight?

I had a difficult time comprehending the fact I was a survivor.

Then, one day my therapist made it all make sense for me. She told me I did fight a long battle. I fought hard against all of the symptoms for five months. The only difference was I was given many random diagnoses. I just did not know that I had ovarian cancer.

I was fighting, but I just did not have the correct label for my fight. And that did not diminish the fact I was fighting for my life.

Even though I am now cancer-free I am still fighting. You don’t have to only physically fight. There are mental fights and emotional fights as well. And the fight does not have to only be before and during the cancer. They can continue into the aftermath.

To this day, I am still trying to figure out the emotions I am  experiencing. I am still trying to process what happened with my therapist and my closest friends and family. I keep writing out my experience in the hopes my emotions will make sense to me.

I am fighting an emotional battle.

I am trying hard to talk myself through my thoughts. Every day I spend time thinking about how I feel, what is going on with my body and what will happen next. Doctors appointments, self care and plans for the future spin inside my mind. I keep reassuring myself I am OK and I can now move on. I am trying to keep my thoughts realistic or positive.

I am mentally fighting.

I try to determine what is normal for my body to do or what is a symptom of a greater problem. I am continuously looking for the balance between an off day or the beginning of a big problem. I want to keep my doctors informed, but I don’t want to overreact and go to them for every little thing.

I am still fighting a physical battle.

I did not receive chemo or radiation. I did not know I had cancer until it was gone. But these things don’t mean I am not a survivor. I fought, and I’m still fighting, different battles.

And those make me a survivor.

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Thinkstock photo by agsandrew

Originally published: September 7, 2017
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