Fellow Fighter Sharon

I am so excited & proud to introduce you to Sharon Blynn. Sharon created a fantastic website Bald Is Beautiful. She is a survivor who reaches out to others and inspires them. Sharon was kind enough to write a post about her experience for my blog. Please read her story, visit her website and help her spread awareness! We are all in this together.

We Are Ovaries, Hear Us Roar!
She goes by “The Whisper” or “The Silent Killer” — these sound more like low-budget horror movie titles than the statistically-earned monikers of a disease! But she is scarier and much more deadly (believe me, I’d rather have blown $15 on a movie ticket and valvoline-drenched popcorn!). As you may sense from those nicknames, ovarian cancer is a dodgy lil’ beeyotch! Her symptoms are vague and most often missed — or misdiagnosed — as anything from endometriosis to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS is the most common misdiagnosis) or dismissed as plain ol’ gas or constipation. After all, no one wants to jump from thinking they are just bloated or have a bad stomach ache to thinking it might be cancer! And there is currently no screening test, general or specific, for ovarian cancer. You read that correctly: none — yet.

I was diagnosed at 28 years old with a rare form of ovarian cancer (I was initially misdiagnosed with IBS before heading in the gynecological direction). “Hold on just a second! I’m too young to have cancer!! What the @#&*#?!” After exploratory surgery and a week later the full abdominal “unzip”, came the diagnosis: Stage 3-C ovarian cancer. Late-stage ovarian cancer at 28. Good job, Sharon. Being the overachiever I am, I had not just any cancer or even a more common, treatable/survivable one; I had a cancer whose successful treatment statistics are about the same as guessing right in a shell game (at least it feels that way). Plus, with a rare form of it, I had to cut those stats in half! After surgery, a panel of doctors basically voted on whether or not chemo would even be effective for me. Because of my age and the fact that I hadn’t had children yet, by majority rule, we went more aggressive and I began a 6-month prescription of chemotherapy — which was interrupted by recurrence and another surgery, false remission for a year, and a final surgery in January 2003. This year marks my 5-year cancer-free milestone!

While there have been many developments and advances in the ovarian cancer chemo cocktail (a cocktail not nearly as fun as a mojito or margarita!), the most vital and imperative research we must implement is early detection for ovarian cancer. We can’t cure this disease being blind while she isn’t speaking up to be heard on time.

Early detection is the most powerful treatment for any cancer and it is imperative that we generate awareness and funding for this kind of research for ovarian cancer. As is stands today, more than half of ovarian cancer cases are discovered late-stage. And though the number of diagnoses is less than other more heavily-researched and publicized forms of gynecological cancers, due to late-stage diagnosis, it has the number-one highest fatality rate among gynecological cancers.

Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer, said, “Having cancer gave me membership in an elite club I’d rather not belong to.” Strangely and unexpectedly, the word “elite” is accurate for me. I feel very special for having had — and survived — ovarian cancer, and my life has been transformed in the most beautiful and exquisite ways that I could never have imagined. The journey inspired me to create Bald Is Beautiful (www.baldisbeautiful.org), through which I have dedicated my life to bringing information, inspiration, comfort, hope, encouragement, and empowerment to others on the cancer journey.

Still, while I survived and was able to find positivity and deep healing in the process, I would be happier if we could prevent others from having to face this disease without the benefit of early detection and more refined & successful treatments.

Thank you for letting me share and for reading! And remember: always smile from the inside out!

Visit GILDA’S CLUB for my favorite cancer support organization in the world!! Support for patients (men, women, children with any form of cancer) and their friends/families/caregivers. www.gildasclub.org


BITRCountryGirl said...

WOW! Thanks for sharing your story. It's scary to me that people sooo young can have cancer, but I guess it's a disease that knows no age right?

Ash said...

Sharon - you're an absolute knock out! Bald is totally beautiful. My MIL also survived stage 3-C ovarian cancer - Oct. 5 will be her 7-year anniversary.

Congrats to both of you!

Thanks so much Meaghan for the introduction.


♥ Becky ♥ said...

What a beautiful person Sharon is, inside and OUT!!!

I can't tell you how much I appreciate the fact that she was willing to share this with all of us. It's so scary knowing there is no detection test for this. There needs to be and it needs to happen real soon.

Congrats to both of you for Kicking it's ASS!!

MO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MO said...

Sorry, made a mistake in my earlier post so had to delete it, below is my corrected comment.

Reading your posts are always so inspirational. You are a strong woman and I love your outlook. Just Great! I'm definitely going to check out this website - very interesting.

I can't believe there's no test for Ovarian Cancer - that blew me away. I know that early detection is key - my mom has been diagnosed with breast cancer and luckily it was detected early so she'll be ok. My niece had uterine cancer and is now cancer free - again, early detection! I so hope they find something soon that can detect Ovarian cancer.

Thanks for stopping by my blog & commenting, and for the wonderful compliment. I' sure you'll be a kick-ass lawyer and my store will be there when you're ready :)


FROGGITY! said...

Man, I am getting schooled. I just went to her site that you suggested. Let me just say: you are doing a great job raising awareness! Cheers to you and all those fighting the brave fight!

FROGGITY! said...

p.s. I just dedicated to ya on my blog... hope you don't mind... :)

Keeper of the Skies Wife said...

Thank you Meaghan for introducing us to Sharon. Bald is beautiful!!!
I'm 2 months behind for my pap smear and I have endometriosis and IBS. This is scary!!! I'm going to call and make my appointment tomorrow.
Thanks for sharing!!!!

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

Thanks for sharing - Sharon and meaghan - you are both truly inspirational. Best wishes on your journey - well done for raising awareness.

Unknown said...

Great post. Your attitude, sass and courage are inspiring!

Anonymous said...

Awsome post, you are in inspiration!

AngiDe said...

Wow! That was very touching, inspiring and motivating! Thanks for introducing me to Bald is Beautiful! I can't wait to check out her site.


P.S. Those photos are gorgeous! What a beautiful women!

Krazy Armstrong K's! said...

Thanks for stopping by!

You have a wonderful story to share! My mom passed from Cervical cancer....

mrsmouthy said...

Major congrats on reaching the 5-year mark! I'm sure you'll never have quite the same carefreeness you could have had before cancer at all, but hopefully you've gotten some of it back with this milestone. Go women!

Pennies In My Pocket said...

AWESOME post! Thank you for sharing Sharon's story along with yours. Bald is more than beautiful...it's inspirational and beyond life changing!

I can't believe there is no test for ovarian cancer. That is so scary. This needs to change. Thanks for all the info!


Putting the FUN in DysFUNctional said...

Sharon is beautiful! What an inspirational story.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing. And thank you for opening my eyes to the possibilities. I had actually had no idea that there are screening tests for ovarian cancer! CRAZY!
I have been diagnosed with IBS...makes me want to get a second opinion.

Megan said...

Thank you for sharing, Sharon. And for you being brave too, Meaghan.

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