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Ovarian Cancer Changed My Plans and Perspective on Life

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Several weeks before my ovarian cancer diagnosis, I was walking across the stage at my masters graduation. I had a plan. I was going to take the summer off of work and finish my masters thesis. I was going to fix my resume and I was going to send it out to as many jobs as I could find. I told myself that I was going to be out of my parent’s house by September. I had this rigid plan, and I was going to stick with it.

I have always been this way. I am someone who needs to have short and long-term goals. I needed to have everything planned out. Anything less gave me anxiety. And this worked out for all of the six years I was in school.

On May 25, 2017 I had to change my entire perspective on life.

I had a 25-pound mass on my ovary and it needed to be removed. A week later, pathology revealed the mass contained cancer.

I was forced to rethink many of my beliefs.

I had to wait for more tests to be done. I had to wait for results to come back. And the entire time, I thought this was not a part of my plan. I was set back several months.

How was I going to finish my thesis?

When would I start looking for jobs?

All of these thoughts raced through my mind for weeks. Slowly I came to the realization I could no longer have a rigid plan for my life. No one could. It took me a while, but I realized no matter how much I planned out my life, there was something that would come up and throw off my plan.

I was afraid.

Did I need to get rid of my goals and dreams?

When would they happen?

How would I accomplish them?

Why did this happen to me?

What did I do to deserve this?

While talking it through with my support system, I came to the conclusion I did not have to give up my hopes and goals. I could still have them. I was recovering — slowly — but still recovering. And that comes first.

I will have the rest of my life to work, but right now is not the time. I still have a plan, but it is more flexible. I now think a month out in advance instead of a year. I am taking steps towards my goals.

But the difference between now and before surgery is I am much more prepared for the curve balls life brings. And this is okay. I am taking care of my health while slowly working towards my goals.

I am still a planner, but I am less rigid about it. And although I wish I did not have to learn this as a result of ovarian cancer, I am glad I did.

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Thinkstock photo  by Katarzyna Malecka

Originally published: September 6, 2017
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