Ovarian Cancer Grad- Tamara
Name: Tamara Pace
Age at Enrollment: 23
Major: Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer
What were the primary symptoms you experienced prior to diagnosis? Sudden weight loss, bloated stomach.
What I thought was just a sudden weight lost, turned out to be something more serious. My stomach was bloated a lot at the time. Eventually, I went to the emergency room. The doctors thought I was pregnant because of how my stomach looked. They didn't see or hear a heart beat, which is when they discovered the fluid. That explained where all the bloating came from. They drained all the fluid out of my stomach. They filled up 6 1/2 tubes.
What symptom(s) lead you to go to the doctor? Bloating
Courses completed: Chemotherapy
The doctors ran test on me, as well as testing the fluids that were found on my stomach. My doctors suggested removing my ovaries as soon as possible, but I said no. I wanted to try chemo first. So I started chemo treatments. With the power of God, my tumors started shrinking. My tumors began to go from 80% to 60% to 40% to 20%. All I could do was cry and thank God because I knew he was healing me.
During chemo, the only pills I was taking other than the steroids I was given were herbs. The herbs helped with my immune system, liver, and hair. Yes, I did lose my hair. Which was a drastic change for me. I did lose weight as well, but my taste for food didn't go away.
What has been your biggest struggle since your diagnosis? I don't think anyone thinks they'll hear, "you have cancer" ever in life. A few years before, my dad was diagnosed and lose his battle with stage 4 lung cancer. So during my battle with it, I had him in the back of my mind. Not only was I fighting to beat this disease for myself, but I was fighting for my daddy. I couldn't give up. I was fighting this battle for us BOTH!
When you feel overwhelmed or anxious, what do you do? Whenever I feel overwhelmed or anxious I get on my knees and pray about my whole situation and I ask God to please guide me and help me out of this situation. Then I will call my sister, one of my cousins and two of my closest friends and vent to them about it. Then they tell me to continue the 1st process I started and keep putting God first.
What has been your biggest accomplishment since your diagnosis? Even though, the doctors said it might be hard for me to have children in the future my faith tells me different. In due time, I WILL have my own kids.
What advice would you give to someone who is newly diagnosed? I tell anybody that's dealing with cancer to keep pushing, and let God handle your burden. Be around positive people and energy. Keep your faith at all times, but most importantly don't give up on yourself.
How has your diagnosis informed your life? I never lost my faith because I know it was nobody but God healing me. Now here I am, in remission. Cancer free. My hair has grown back. My weight is slowly catching back up. Most importantly, I’ve changed-I now live my life. I try not to let anything stress me out anymore. I no longer worry about the little things. I'm much more thankful for what I have because of what I went and came through in the past year.
Did you learn anything about yourself or your life? If so, what was it? I don't think anyone thinks they'll hear, "you have cancer" ever in life. Through this whole situation I must say it made me become a VERY strong person mentally, physically, and emotionally.
What did you know about the type of cancer that you were diagnosed with prior to your diagnosis? Before I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer I didn't know anything about it. I really didn’t even know it existed.
What do you now want people to be aware of? What I really want people to know about ovarian cancer is that it is a very serious cancer. If you have any signs of this deadly disease please don’t ignore them. Seek help right away.