Waiting for a Revolution | Dee Sparacio
Over the past seven years I have met gynecologic cancer survivors at summits, conferences, workshops and at support group meetings. Many have walked alongside me at 5K’s to raise awareness and funds for research. I have even gotten to know survivors who live in the United Kingdom as part of a Facebook group. In most cases, I doubt our paths would have crossed except for the fact that we were all diagnosed with cancer.
This past week I heard from three ovarian cancer survivors who are my friends. One called, one messaged me on Facebook and one e-mailed. They live in my state and we see each other regularly. All three were initially diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer and have had recurrences in the past. Each of them now faces another recurrence. They are deciding which treatment plan is best for their own situation. It saddens me to see them face another recurrence but I am comforted that they all have options for treatment and are considering clinical trials.
The same diagnosis—epithelial ovarian cancer—brought us together. Yet each of us has responded to treatment differently. We have experienced recurrences at different times—in some cases years after treatment and in others months after treatment. And I wonder why.
How do our tumors differ from the other? Why does one treatment eradicate cancer in one of us but not in another? How does our environment or our genetic makeup impact our outcomes? When will a better screening test be developed? What makes my cancer different? Maybe the answers to my questions lie in examining our differences.
“Embrace the Past – Revolutionize the Future” was the theme of this year’s SGO meeting. I know there are researchers searching daily for answers to questions like mine and that will revolutionize my future and the futures of so many other women.
Every Day is a Blessing!