Tanya’s Indomitable Faith To Learn & Ovarcome
Tanya Bowker lifted up an ovarian cancer awareness ribbon in her hand and realized it wasn’t quite right. The ribbon is broken. She thinks life is something greater – it is endless and limitless. It is infinite. Tanya knows she is in this journey with ovarian cancer for a greater reason. She is meant to be learning something from this experience – she is on her quest to learn and grow, as she takes on her new diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
Tanya’s experience with cancer is not new. Cancer runs in her family. Her Aunt got diagnosed with breast cancer in her early 40s, that later metastasized into her lungs and brain. Her Dad is a Melanoma Survivor. Tanya has been very conscientious about her health and check-ups and regularly screened for mammogram and scheduled her annual well-woman visits. In one such mammogram visit in December 2015, her results came back abnormal. After extensive tests, MRIs, and biopsy, Tanya got diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. She underwent the standard treatment, but had a particularly challenging time with chemotherapy. She had to undergo blood transfusion and stop treatment temporarily due to adverse side effects. However, she powered through it, underwent double mastectomy, and after completing her chemotherapy treatment, was declared cancer free. Tanya proactively sought out Genetic Testing and was confirmed to be BRCA (+)ve.
As an informed patient, she understood her risk of genetic mutation, and the possibility of someday being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Tanya is the primary caretaker of her parents, her grandparents, and her family. She quit her job at one time in her life to take care of her grandparents. A nurturer, Tanya loves to take care of the elderly. She also runs an animal hospital and is the person in charge at the hospital, always running around and taking care of everything.
In September of 2017, Tanya met with a car accident. This triggered the need for a CT scan which revealed few things suspicious in her pelvic region. Further tests revealed malignant neoplasm of the right ovary with BRCA gene mutation. The site of origin was determined to be the Fallopian tubes. She has been back in treatment since the beginning of 2018, about to get her 2nd round of platinum based chemotherapy.
Tanya has endured much – from being diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, carrying the BRCA1 mutation, and now being diagnosed with stage II ovarian cancer. She shared with Ovarcome, that with her recent diagnosis, she felt bitter, angry, helpless, and tremendously disappointed. Tanya has always been a nurturing woman, helping others, and prioritizing the need of others over her own – she has been a planner, executor and in control all her life. But this diagnosis made her feel powerless, confused and challenged. It’s been extremely difficult, but she has kept herself informed and educated herself on ovarian cancer.
The financial challenge of cancer re-diagnosis has been difficult as well. Tanya and her social worker are working together to determine her options in terms of insurance coverage. She is currently unemployed and doesn’t qualify for Medicaid. Ovarcome’s OvarCare package has been a blessing to Tanya in this difficult time, as the grant will help her pay her bills, get her groceries re-stocked, and also help her with gas as she drives back and forth from the hospital for her treatment. Tanya is surrounded by her loving family as she takes on this journey. Her Mother lives with her, and works part-time to support them both. Her Dad lives an Exit down, so he can drive down and help as well when needed. Tanya has a sister, who tested negative for genetic mutation.
Tanya’s story is inspiring – she shared her weakness and her strength with us equally. Tanya wants all Survivors & Caregivers to know that it is very important to educate yourself about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, that it is OK to be angry, and disappointed at times, but DON’T GIVE UP! There is always somebody around the corner, strangers, willing to help, a greater power watching over us. That ribbon is infinite – it should be meant to be: Life, ALWAYS. We love this thought, and you will see us doing something about it soon!
Please send your prayers and best wishes to Tanya as she takes on her treatment with ovarian cancer to Ovarcome, and to identify the life lesson she is in quest to discover. Our love, best wishes, and prayers to Tanya as she undergoes treatment and continues to inspire and advocate for this much deserving cause. TOGETHER, we can Ovarcome!