A Message From Ashtan
Many people have been touched by cancer in some way. Whether it is a friend, relative, yourself, or even someone you have read about you know of someone with cancer. However many people, including myself never imagined it could happen to them.
At 30 years old I was doing incredibly well. I had recently been promoted to my dream job, been married 7 years to the love of my life, had 3 wonderful fur babies, owned our first home in a place we love, had been on many amazing vacations, and my husband and I were talking about starting a family of our own. Then my life changed completely.
For eleven months I had experienced odd pains in my pelvis and bladder. I was worried and was seen by multiple doctors and had multiple scans where I was told everything was ok. In July 2017 for an unrelated reason I had another scan because I still felt like something wasn't right. Then a few days later I heard the word "cancer".
I can't describe the feelings and emotions that I was overwhelmed with. Sadness, anger, depression, and terrified are the few that come to mind. I was 30 and healthy, I exercised regularly, I ate organic foods, I had never smoked in my life, and I had absolutely no family history of any cancer, let alone ovarian cancer. I felt like all of my husband and I's hopes and dreams were gone. However I knew that I needed to find the right doctor and find a treatment so I could fight and win this battle.
I went to M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas where I have an amazing doctor; Dr. Robert Coleman. He is a specialist in my particular grade and type of cancer. I went through unimaginable pain with a full surgery and went through months of chemotherapy. Then in January 2018 I was deemed cancer free and was told I have a very positive outlook. I am determined to keep it that way.
Even though this was the most negative experience in my life I was able to recognize the kindness and generosity of my close friends, family, and coworkers. Everyone was so amazing and supportive. Friends and coworkers helped my husband and I so that life was just a little easier. My husband's family went above and beyond to help us with pet sitting, plane tickets, and sent notes and gifts to brighten my day. My own family went above and beyond as well and flew back and forth to Texas and remained by my side through this entire experience. My wonderful cousins let me stay at their home so I could be completely comfortable during treatment. My husband who was already amazing was somehow even more amazing. He watched the horrible side effects of chemotherapy and always comforted me when I needed it the most. There isn't a more wonderful and patient person in this world than him. He was my rock and continues to be my rock to this day. To all of these people I am forever in debt.
My new life is just starting. I'm doing kickboxing and yoga again with my favorite yoga buddy. Trevor and I have joined a great church in Ft. Lauderdale to strengthen our relationship with God and have started fostering dogs that are in need of care. We have mapped out trips for the next few years and after that hope to adopt and raise a family of our own.
Even though my life was surrounded by complete darkness, the clouds are gradually clearing. I wanted to share my story so that others that are currently battling this disease do not despair. There is hope, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Also those that are in remission and feel the same depression and sadness that I sometimes feel. There is so much more to life than this disease and we can not let it keep us down.
Unfortunately we have not reached the point where everyone is cured of this disease but there are so many new treatments and the future looks brighter. There are trials where new medicines and procedures are being discovered every day. I am hopeful that a cure is on the horizon. I also want to raise awareness in young women that this unfortunately can happen. It is very rare but the symptoms of ovarian cancer are very silent and can mimic other diseases. Be diligent, get a second opinion, have scans done, and have your CA-125 tested. You know your body and you know when something isn't right.
Thank you so much for reading my story and for contributing whether you are walking with me or donating, it is so very appreciated!
And girls....we have got this!