November 29, 2017 08:42 PM
Early in her career, Lorrie Fox worked as a nurse on the oncology floor. She never cared for a woman who lived through ovarian cancer.
When she was diagnosed, she began preparing for the inevitable end. That was 13 years ago.
She had just turned 50 in November. She started experiencing bloating, and she felt full after taking only one or two bites of food.
"People just said, 'This is what 50 is. You get big around the middle, and things just change.' I was kind of in that mode that yeah, I just turned 50, but it didn't go away," Fox said. "And as a matter of fact, it got worse."
Once it became painful, she went back in to the doctor. This time, she got an ultrasound, where they saw a tumor. She had surgery shortly after.
"I made my family promise they would tell me right away, no matter what," Fox said. "I remember waking up and my husband being there and saying that it was, in fact, cancer. I had a pretty good idea that it would be."
She followed the surgery up with 18 weeks of chemotherapy. She said she felt very supported by her husband, family and coworkers.
"You go into survival mode," she said. "But then you look back at your family, and think, wow. They were in survival mode too."
She also journaled through the whole experience. She found the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance and did her first walk the next year. She's stayed involved with MOCA since and now helps educate health professionals.
"Be persistent. You need to be your own advocate," was her advice to other women.
Her doctor appointments haven't stopped completely.
"I will for the rest of my life be checked every six months, and that's OK with me," Fox said.
She has been cancer-free since the first tumor, passing the critical 10-year mark.
"Unfortunately, the mortality rate for ovarian cancer 10 years out is still less than 50 percent," she cited.
Now, her concern is for future generations.
"The problem with it, and what I worry about for my daughter and my granddaughter, is there's no test," she said. "We need to have that. We need to be able to test women."
The Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance funds research for a test and better treatment. You can donate to MOCA during WDIO's Trees of Hope campaign by clicking here.
Updated: November 29, 2017 08:42 PM
Created: November 29, 2017 05:22 PM
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