Marilyn’s Resolve To Ovarcome
This is the inspiring story of our OvarCare recipient Marilyn McGaw. For more than 10 years, Marilyn experienced intermittent stomach pain that would stay briefly but go away not to return for months. She got a colonoscopy done – it was clear. Doctors recommended changing her diet and recommended eating more fibrous food. Marilyn was already diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, so she stayed on top of her health and diet regardless. But her intermittent stomach pain persisted.
Marilyn underwent shoulder surgery in 2014. Since she met all her deductibles, Marilyn decided to ask for an ultrasound for her abdominal pain. The Doctors found something suspicious, so she was then ordered an MRI. Upon further investigation, Marilyn was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer in December, 2014. She then underwent surgery and chemotherapy and completed her treatment by end of 2015. However, from May 2016, she started experiencing pain again – the tumors had unfortunately reformed. Marilyn underwent another chemo regimen and went into remission in December 2016. After a few good months, Marilyn started experiencing severe pain in her abdomen again in May 2017 – she had to be taken to the ER for diagnosis. The cancer had returned. The extensive treatments she underwent couldn’t eliminate all traces of her cancer. Marilyn started another chemo treatment in June of 2017. She has had sickening of the peritoneal cavity as well as tumors in her liver. Fortunately, the tumors in the liver are not progressing at the moment.
Marilyn’s Mom is a healthy 95 year old woman. Her Mom’s 5 sisters have all lived long, healthy lives. Marilyn’s Dad passed away from lung cancer, as he was a heavy smoker. Her brother succumbed to prostrate cancer. Marilyn tested positive for BRCA genetic mutation. She is otherwise very health conscious – Marilyn mentioned to us that she had never missed a mammogram in her life. She always ate a healthy diet, has always been an occasional drinker, has always exercised regularly and have generally stayed on top of her yearly annual check-ups.
As a Breast and an Ovarian Cancer Survivor with a genetic pre-disposition, Marilyn has taken on cancer since 2007 with the faith and determination to Ovarcome. She shared with us that she mentioned her symptoms to her OB-GYN several times, but they couldn’t determine the underlying reason. Urine tests were ordered for her as she experienced pain and discomfort as well as noticed changes in her bladder habits. The tests all came out negative, as the underlying reason wasn’t an urinary tract infection – it was Ovarian Cancer.
Marilyn has an important message to share – she urges us all to be proactive about our own health. “To the healthcare system you may be just a name and number, but you need to care for your own self.” she says. She also cautions others not to self-diagnose any condition – it is best to seek expert support as quickly as possible, she thinks. As for the cancer journey, she encourages fellow Survivors to stay on with the journey with hope and optimism. “Stick with it. You are not the only one. You will Ovarcome.”. Thank you Marilyn for sharing your story and for uplifting others. We thank you for Talking About Ovarian Cancer. Because, TOGETHER, we can Ovarcome!