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Cancer in the Time of COVID

H&M Puff-Sleeved Dress Inspired Refashion
A DIY Scalloped Hem & A Tumor Named Clyde

I don’t have good news, friends.

It’s been a while since my last post where I shared that I was about to go in for surgery to remove a tumor from my ovary “the size of a small watermelon”.

The surgery was…not fun, but I was relieved to have that tumor out of me, and was optimistic that my pathology results would come back benign. Recovery has been painful and challenging, but I felt better every day and was happy to put this whole thing behind me.

Unfortunately, when I went in for my follow-up appointment with my oncologist, I did not get the news I was expecting.

I’m a healthy person. I eat right. I exercise. The cashier at the grocery store frequently comments on how healthy my food choices are (a little weird, right?). Mr. Refashionista makes fun of me for the gross-looking (but healthy!) fruit and veggie smoothies I make every morning. I try to eat lots of nutritious antioxidant-rich foods. In my mind there was no way that tumor was cancer.

I was wrong. My tumor was cancerous. And it has spread to one of my lymph nodes.

I have Stage III Ovarian Cancer.

“Don’t Google it,” my doctor said. “If you do, you’re going to see a lot of doom and gloom and a lot of miracles.”

I, of course, spent twenty minutes in the oncology center parking lot in a sobbing Google doom spiral.

“stage 3 ovarian cancer mortality rate”
“mucinous stage 3 ovarian cancer survival rate”
“is ovarian cancer a death sentence”

When I think of advanced-stage cancer, I think of TV movies from the ’80s and ’90s where the nice lady gets cancer, suffers through chemotherapy, and then dies (but is an inspiration to everyone around her).

While I busied myself researching every possible terrible thing that could happen to me, Brian reached out to online Ovarian Cancer support groups to get a less Lifetime Original Movie-skewed idea of what may lay ahead.

Brian’s approach was the better one.

This has been a difficult time. We’ve both cried a lot. The thought of not surviving this and leaving everyone and everything I love behind so soon guts me way more than an 8″ incision on my abdomen did.

And Now We Wait

There’s still a lot more testing to be done on my tissue samples to find out exactly what my prognosis is and what my course of treatment will be. It’ll be more than a week before I know anything new.

Most likely, I will begin aggressive chemotherapy in a few weeks.

Yes, I’m scared.

I want to be that Inspirational TV Movie Lady with Cancer, but I don’t think any casting director would give me a callback for that role. I’m trying to be brave, but I’m just so. freaking. sad. It’s exhausting. My bones feel heavy.

The Good Things

So yes, everything is very heavy and challenging right now, but there are bright spots.

I have a wonderful and supportive husband. I have amazing friends and family whose kindness over the past few weeks have meant the world to me. I have health insurance. I’ll have the ability to work from home and generate income when I’m too immunocompromised (due to treatment) to be around people during the pandemic.

So What About this Blog?

I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about this.

The blog continues.

I don’t know what happens next, but I’m going to keep working on this blog as long as I’m able.

My appearance is probably going to change, and I hope people will be kind about that.

Refashionista isn’t going to suddenly become a blog that’s all about cancer, although I will be sharing news and my thoughts on that front, as well as how my treatment is going. But I don’t want an illness to be what defines me.

I’ll still be refashioning thrifted duds and home goods from frump to fab (hopefully for a very very long time). There may be times when I have to take breaks, but I’ll always come back when I can.

I hate this, friends. I hate giving you one more bummer in this year of bummers. I hope you all know I will do everything I can to beat this.

Thank you for your patience and support.

H&M Puff-Sleeved Dress Inspired Refashion
A DIY Scalloped Hem & A Tumor Named Clyde