Ovarian Cancer Grad- Barb Ross

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. We are dedicating our Fridays for the month of September to profiling fellow Ovarian Cancer Grads and Students.

 Meet Ovarian Cancer Grad, Barb Ross!

barb ross cancergrad yearbook Cancer Grad Ovarian

Name: Barb Ross

Age Enrolled: 39

Major: Ovarian Cancer, Stage 1C

Primary symptoms you experienced: I had no symptoms prior to diagnosis other than a few sharp shooting abdominal pains that lasted 2 weeks and then went away.  Six months later I was diagnosed.  In retrospect, that pain was the tumorous cyst grounding itself to my left ovary.

Courses completed: Two separate oophorectomy procedures (back to back), tooth extraction (yes- I had to do this prior to chemo), and a 6 course chemotherapy treatment whilst enduring menopause.

What you’d like other women (and men) to know about Ovarian Cancer?  Ovarian cancer doesn't only hit women within certain demographics.  I was under 50, I was pre-menopausual and it hit me.

Any helpful tips or tricks for other women navigating a diagnosis? Accupuncture was a God-send for me.  It helped minimize my neuropathy and made the post-chemo days so much more bearable.  I would recommend any patient try it.

Anything you wished you knew prior to enrollment? I wish I realized that age is irrelevant when it comes to cancer.

What I learned: I learned that it's "Okay *NOT* to be Okay".  There's so much pressure to appear strong in the face of adversity.  Sometimes you need to let yourself mourn and feel the pain of your diagnosis before you can pick yourself up.  Then you say, "Yes, I'm going to do this and fight. I don't know how but all I know is that the prospect of not doing it is too frightening."