I was diagnosed and treated for Stage II B High Grade Serous Carcinoma—Ovarian Cancer June of 2018. The 6 Chemo infusions were not difficult until the very last two where I felt my bones were being leached. Recovery after chemo was slow and return to “normal” would take a good 4-6 months to feel like myself again I was informed as they ushered from my then Cancer Treatment Center with a vigorous, “Come back in 3 months”. It felt like a door slammed shut behind me. The worst part was the helplessness, the loss of direction and control in my life which was difficult to identify. It was a low feeling seeping into to my life.
Then it changed. I was referred by a friend with the same diagnosis to the Cancer Institute in Greenville and Dr. Puls who checked me over and referred me to the Center for Integrative Oncology and Survivorship. Immediately I was shepherded through a myriad of programs I could utilize to augment my treatment program, improve my overall health and well being and return to a sagacity of empowerment. The results of my participation and ongoing Plans of Action have been astounding.
First was the 12 week Nurse/Trainer Moving On Exercise and strengthening program. Pre and Post Body Composition Scans showed fat, muscle and bone densities and changes because of the exercise and eating modifications. One on one nutrition counseling and weekly Healthy Way classes changed how I view food augmented by the Cancer fighting Kitchen with food preparation for a superior way of living plus upbeat camaraderie. Distress Management and social support through mental well being and spiritual counselors opened my eyes to an underlying living stressor of which I was totally unaware. The ongoing weekly Face2Face which I call the Mind Exercise Class continues to teach me “In the Moment” brain thinking to keep me away from worry over something that may or may not happen. The SHE program was a real change in perspective offering fundamental practices we females can do to keep ourselves healthier, happier, and more content in life—an unheard of outlook in my youth.
The Genetic testing and counseling adjusted my thinking away from DNA causes to external and life style changes I can and am making. All of this has given me such a positive focus in improving control over my body, mind and spirit. Will this help keep the cancer cells in remission longer than average? That is my hope but not in my control. What I can manage is how monumentally better I feel and how great each day has become when I awaken in the morning.
This is just a drop in the bucket of what your fundraising allows our hospital system to offer our community of Cancer Survivors. MOST IMPORTANT are the people who staff these programs. You are incredible. You have changed my life for the better. The CIOS (Center for Integrative Oncology and Survivorship) programs give us this: Cancer no longer defines our lives, it refines our lives.
Thank you so much for everything. Kath Kojis