Having gone through this ordeal, I want to save others from the same fate. That is why I am providing this information; I hope you will photocopy it (or scan it into your computer to send it via e-mail) and share it with everybody you know. One thing I have learned is that each of us must take TOTAL responsibility for our own health care. I thought I had done that because I always had an annual physical, including a mammogram and a PAP smear; I did monthly Self Breast Exams and went to the dentist at least twice/year, etc. I even insisted on a sigmoidoscopy and a bone density test last year. When I had a total hysterectomy in 1993, I thought that I did not have to worry about getting any of the female reproductive organ cancers. LITTLE DID I KNOW! I donít have ovaries (and they were HEALTHY when they were removed!), but I have what is essentially ovarian cancer. Strange, isnít it? These are just SOME of the things our Doctors never tell us.
ONE OUT OF EVERY 50 WOMEN WILL GET OVARIAN OR PRIMARY PERITONEAL CANCER! THE "CLASSIC" SYMPTOMS ARE AN ABDOMEN THAT RATHER SUDDENLY ENLARGES AND CONSTIPATION AND/OR DIARRHEA.
I HAD these classic symptoms and went to the Doctor. Because these symptoms seemed to be "abdominal," I went to a gastroenterologist. He ran tests that were designed to determine whether there was a bacterial infection; these tests were negative, and I was diagnosed with "Irritable Bowel Syndrome." I guess I would have accepted this diagnosis had it not been for my enlarged abdomen. I swear to you, I looked like I was 4-5 months pregnant! I, therefore, insisted on more tests. They took an X-Ray of my abdomen; it was negative. I had a nuclear liver scan; this, too, was negative. I was, again, assured that I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome and was encouraged to go on my scheduled month-long trip to Europe. I couldnít wear any of my slacks or shorts because I couldnít get them buttoned, and I KNEW something was radically wrong. I INSISTED on more tests, and they (reluctantly) scheduled me for a CT-Scan (just to shut me up, I think). This is what I mean by taking charge of our own health care. The CT-Scan showed a lot of fluid in my abdomen (NOT normal!). Needless to say, I had to cancel my trip and have FIVE POUNDS of fluid drawn off at the hospital (not a pleasant procedure, I assure you, but NOTHING compared to what was ahead of me). Tests revealed cancer cells in the fluid. Finally, finally, FINALLY, the Doctor ran a CA-125 blood test and I was properly diagnosed.
Thank you for your time. My best wishes for your continued good health.
Carolyn Benivegna Cbenivegna@AOL.com 5835 Cloudstone Ct., Naples FL 34119 Fax AND Phone: (941) 353-7959
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