Posted by: 2in10 | 05/11/2010

Catch ’em early

My friend Mary who has some limitations to her mobility offered to come over to pull dandelions.  She sits on the grass and uses a screwdriver to release the deep tap root. “You have to catch ’em early,” she said, “or they will overrun the lawn.” Then it rained and made it impossible for Mary to weed for a while.

A cool wind took the storm clouds away, leaving us with a clear and unusually cool afternoon. I headed out to the garden, and the dandelions caught my attention. They are getting tall, and they are proliferating. As I pulled some out, one by one, I was thinking, “It’s important to catch ’em early, before things get out of control.”

We know the earlier ovarian cancer is detected the better, but  symptoms can be subtle and easily misunderstood. A study cited by the Johns Hopkins Ovarian Cancer Center of Excellence found that women undergoing surgery for a pelvic mass were more likely than a control group to have experienced increased abdominal size, bloating, urinary urgency, and pelvic pain. Look for “Ovarian cancer is NOT a silent disease” at

In the months before my diagnosis, when I had a vague sense that something wasn’t right, I wouldn’t have recognized that my abdomen was enlarged or bloated. I did worry that I was getting a little fat, and I had been focusing more on my waist in my exercise program. In a photo from my birthday, four months before diagnosis of Stage III ovarian cancer, you can see that below my belt, my tummy was protruding a little.

I presented as a healthy, middle aged women to my doctors and none of us suspected ovarian cancer until it was quite advanced. Let’s share this information and watch out for each other. 



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