Amy Badalamente’s Story
Following a complete hysterectomy from a recurrence of ovarian cancer, I was given some choices for the next course of treatment. My doctor told me there were still many other types of chemo left to try, and radiation was also an option due to where the recurrence was. I was grateful to have an active part in the decision process, but I was also very overwhelmed. Although my ovarian cancer was found early, Stage 1-C, the facts that I had learned from other ovarian cancer survivors in the 18 months of remission were now closer to home. I was now one of “them”–one of those amazing women that faced a recurrence.
I wondered how many more women would have to face the same fear and uncertainty before there would be more accurate screening and more reliable treatment options for ovarian cancer for all women. The information I had gathered from my networking group reeled in my head. I thought about the fact that in too many cases the disease isn’t detected until it is in a late stage. I thought about the women who told me they never had any symptoms at all, and the women who, by the time they experienced symptoms, the disease had spread. I thought about the women (including myself) whose ovarian cancer had been misdiagnosed because the symptoms were vague or mirrored a digestive disease. I learned that all of these reasons are why it’s important to get a 2nd opinion, or even a 3rd. These challenges also validate being your own advocate and making sure that all women facing a gynecologic cancer diagnosis are examined by a gynecologic oncologist. It also became very clear to me that even the best gynecologic oncologists in the country have to make do with the ovarian cancer fighting weapons in their arsenal. This is because there is no single test for ovarian cancer that is reliable enough to administer to all women, and just like many other cancers, treating ovarian cancer can be trial and error.
All of those thoughts spun and the came out (as it has for many others on this path), as a verbally expressed desire to help prevent more lives being threatened. This wish of mine led my two dear friends Marianne Breneman and Carolyn Cabanban to discover The Lynne Cohen Foundation for Ovarian Cancer Research. My friends established a tribute fund in my name. It’s an honor and a blessing to be connected with this foundation. Now we too, can join the mission to support groundbreaking research to improve the survival rates for women with ovarian cancer.
Proceeds from music events in my home town and in Cincinnati, along with money raised through KICKIN’ CANCER! participation will benefit research for the early detection and diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Connecting with the Foundation has given my life greater purpose and has inspired me to run my first 5K!
I give thanks to God, good doctors, nurses and researchers, my husband David, family, friends, my support groups, and The Lynne Cohen Foundation. All have given me love, support and hope that the statistics for this devastating disease are improving.
(Stage 1C diagnosis in 2001 at age 31, with one reoccurrence in 2002.)