In my mid 40s I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. It was a total fluke that they found it. My gynecologist discovered it after she removed what appeared to be a benign cyst. There were microscopic cancer cells lining that cyst. I sort of praise that cyst every day — without it, the doctor said I could have gone for years not knowing the cancer was growing inside me. There’s a reason they call ovarian cancer a silent cancer. Luckily they caught it early enough that the prognosis was good.
After getting through the shock, and the sadness of my new predicament, I realized quickly I would be down for the count for a while and went to planning and mapping out how to take care of my businesses — my content strategy firm Gyrate Media and TueNight.com, my storytelling platform for women over 40. I have some amazing colleagues, friends, clients and a devoted, wonderful husband who all pitched in and helped me during my six months of chemotherapy. I don’t know how I could have gotten through that hell without them. I’m lucky and proud that with their assistance, and my own planning, I was able to keep my work ship afloat, so when I came back to work the reentry period wasn’t so bad.
I also wrote about my experiences in real time going through cancer — from learning about it to sharing my news to the day to day hell of chemo in a column called Ovarian Rhapsody. The column was nominated for a Webby Award which was thrilling! But maybe even more importantly, I’ve heard from a lot of friends and strangers that my column has helped them get through their own — or a friend’s — cancer. That makes it all worth it.