COLFAX – Although October has been designated Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Wendy Weber of Colfax has been dealing with another type of cancer that only affects women. Wendy, age 49, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer just before her 48th birthday and has gone through surgery and is currently going through chemotherapy treatments.
According to statistics, in 2012, 22,288 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 15,500 women will die from it. One in 71 women will develop ovarian cancer in their lifetime with 19% of them in the age 45-54 range, 23% are in the 55-64 range and 19% are between ages 56-74. 93% of women diagnosed in the early stages have a survival rate of five years. The disease is referred to as the silent killer because there are no distinct symptoms, therefore it often goes untreated until it is in the late stages.
This is Wendy’s story:
Living with Cancer
Like many women with ovarian cancer, I had vague symptoms. None of them prompted me to visit a doctor. Although, in early December 2010, my body gave me a sign which told me I needed to see a physician. I went to the Colfax Clinic, and the staff wasted no time in sending me to Eau Claire for an ultra sound.
There are no tests for ovarian cancer. To simplify it, there are four stages of cancer. Unfortunately, most women discover they have become victim of the disease, which by then they have reached stage four.
The ultra sound results showed there was a mass on my left ovary. My CA-125 test; a blood test to detect cancer, came back at number five, which is extremely low. The normal range for CA-125 is less than 35 U/ml. Based on my results, the OBGYN let me know my results were very reassuring and I had less than 1% chance of the mass being cancerous.
Yet, my doctor had advised me to get the mass removed, which I then scheduled a date for my surgery.
On February 7th 2011, the mass was removed from my body and was sent off for a biopsy test. Three days after the operation in Eau Claire, the OBGYN came into my hospital room and said she couldn’t believe the biopsy results. It was indeed cancer.
Doctors explained to me that I needed another operation, done by a cancer surgeon, in order to remove any other possible cancer cells. Although, I had to wait seven weeks to heal from the first surgery before they could perform another operation. After my seven weeks of recovery, I prepared for my visit to Rochester, which is where the major surgery would be done, and also where they would be able to determine the stage of cancer I have.
On March 29th 2011, the operation was performed and the surgeon determined my cancer was stage 2, class C. After enduring another recovery from the incisions and operation, I then began to start chemo therapy, accompanied by a computed tomography scan every 4 months; A scan using X-rays to make detailed pictures of structures inside of the body.
This past July; a month before my scheduled CT scan, I requested an early appointment because I was feeling sick. My doctor decided to perform the scan early to see how the chemo therapy was affecting my body. The results indicated the cancer had metastasized; (came back).
Currently, I am having chemotherapy treatments in Rochester every 3 weeks. I continue to pray and enjoy each moment of life. Doing things that are important to me, with the people who are important to me. I find that staying rested, exercising and having a sense of humor helps me stay positive.
As horrible as this disease is, I would not trade my experience. In addition to bringing my family closer and my Christian faith stronger, my experience has allowed me to meet many amazing people. I am grateful to be a part of this Colfax community. Receiving support, food, rides to appointments, visits, cards and prayers are much appreciated!
Ovarian cancer is known as the Silent Killer. One of my goals is to change that! Silent NO MORE! God knows I enjoy helping others, I feel He has called on me to spread the word and save lives.
By sharing my story, I hope it will provide resourceful information about the symptoms, diagnoses and treatment of cancer. Also, I pray my message will open doors to anyone who has cancer or affected by it to contact me if they would like to talk in confidence.
Friends and family are planning an event named Walk ‘n & Praise ‘n with Wendy Weber. Please join us on October 13th, 9 AM at the Riverside Park in Menomonie. If you would like, wear the color teal to represent ovarian cancer.