Ovarcome believed in me. Now I believe that by simply showing determination and faith, you can “OvarCome” anything! : By OvarAmbassador, Angelisa Hood
I was looking forward to starting over but I was unaware it would be this intense. I suffered with what began as a benign ovarian cyst on my left ovary for 11 years. Whether it was focusing on my education or not having the financials to afford the surgery, I was unable to have it removed, so I coped. Feeling joy around animals, I devoted my life to helping and earned my associates degree in Animal Science and became a Vet Tech. After staying in this field for a few years, I unfortunately realized that the wages weren’t adequate for the work I was giving. Pressing on I finally saved enough to have my surgery to remove what had grown into a large and painful tumor. Still preparing for the future, I enrolled back in school ready to earn my bachelors that following fall. I was still trying to find my calling, my purpose, and my place in this world. My outlook was bright on finally putting this tumor behind me, until I received a call from my doctor before my scheduled post op appointment.
It is so surreal hearing you have cancer, ovarian cancer which is quite rare. After I just fought to save my ovaries and I only had one left as a result of the surgery. I was terrified and once again disappointed in my life. Why me, I asked God. I battled with my faith in the past but this year my faith had strengthened. I just turned 30 and I just knew this year was my year. After I began accepting the news, I had to watch my loved ones experience the pain of acceptance. Hearing my father cry out to God and watching my mother try to be strong for me, when she just lost her mother to pancreatic cancer. I began to feel I was the problem, a burden. Needing so much time, attention and assistance, not only medical but also financial. I was lost and didn’t feel I was helping anyone, not even myself.
Luckily that changed when my mother and I spoke to Dr. Lucci regarding my medical expenses. He had someone in his office come speak to me regarding charities that I could reach out to for assistance. I reached out to as many as I qualified for. Dozens, but the only charity that responded to me was Ovarcome. Not only did Ovarcome respond, but responded quickly and was able to meet me in person at their offices. I remember being so nervous, wondering what if they don’t like me, what if I’m not what they expected or looking for. All of my fears went away when I met Runsi Sen Founder and CEO of Ovarcome. She asked to hear my story, and she kindly opened up to me telling me her mother’s battle with this awful disease. I felt like I knew her, she was kind and I trusted her. As I told her my story, my reality and sadness made its way in. My hair had begun shedding and I didn’t even have the energy to put on make-up which was a talent of mine. Even in the midst of my sadness, grateful was I to be a recipient of her grace and charity. She asked if I would be willing to and help her spread the word by doing an interview. At my lowest she saw something in me and she made me realize that I could help other women not have to suffer. I felt I had purpose and that realization gave me the strength I needed to prevail.
Before I knew it we were interviewing at HCC. I was nervous but ready. I can’t hide my pain and baldness forever. I had to be a survivor and share my story. I showed up with a smile and an Ovarcome shirt to represent. I was asked to tell my story, which no matter how many times I’ve told it, still wasn’t easy. But I made it through without tears and Runsi was by my side so I didn’t feel alone. I was blown away to learn my interview would play on HCC TV for an entire month. Spreading awareness to so many people and as long as I helped one, my purpose was done. I participated in any interview I was asked to attend and any words I was asked to write, continuing to find strength in my purpose throughout my fight. I was honored when I was offered the opportunity to become an Ambassador of Ovarcome and I was a 2016 Ovarcome honoree. This charity believed in me. My journey was no longer about my family or me. My survival was for everyone, especially every woman. To have comfort in knowing that survival from this disease can be done. If I can do it, so can you! I continue to see my doctor every three months and recently I was admitted in the hospital, but I am getting stronger and recuperating faster. I am a survivor!
Moving forward I am back working at the emergency animal hospital and I am enrolling in school to earn my bachelor’s degree. I would love to continue to help in any way I can. Children, adults, patients, simply showing that with determination and faith, you can “OvarCome” anything!