Monday, August 13, 2012

Running For Kelli - Team Kel Bel

Three months ago, I lost an old friend to Ovarian Cancer. Kelli was diagnosed in October 2009, the same month that I found out I was pregnant with Tyler. I visited the hospital for a fertility treatment and she had a complete hysterectomy that we all hoped would save her life. I know the "it's not fair" argument doesn't go far, but it's really not fair that I was having a baby and Kelli was losing her baby-making organs. She was optimistic, though, and talked about how she would adopt, have a surrogate -- something. She was determined to have a family.

I started my pregnancy and she started the fight for her life. Kelli underwent numerous surgeries to remove cancer growth. She did countless rounds of chemotherapy and lost her beautiful brown curls. She smiled, though, and was the most gorgeous bald woman I have ever seen! When she was well, we celebrated life. When she was unwell, she smiled through her hospital visits. I can't say that I would do cancer with such grace. You all know I would be a hot mess! But Kelli became this strong woman and she did not suffer. She fought.

The Advocate recently published an article about Kelli. You can view it here. They have misspoken, though. Kelli did not lose her battle. She found the peace that she deserved. As selfish as it is to miss her, I know that her being here means that she would be suffering. She is no longer in pain.

I would love if you would consider sponsoring me while I run a 5K with the boys for Kelli. And if you don't, that's okay, too. Please take a moment to read the information below. Kelli suffered with pain and discomfort for months before she was diagnosed. She went to doctors that were unable to find the source of her pain. It wasn't until she finally had an ultrasound that her body was found to be littered with cancer. I know that if Kelli's cancer had been detected early, she would be here today. Even though one of Kelli's best friends was treated for Ovarian Cancer, Kelli didn't know the symptoms. The information below could save your life, or the life of someone you know and love. From the NOCC website:

More than 20,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, and approximately 14,000 women die annually from the disease. Unfortunately, most cases are diagnosed late when prognosis is poor. However, if caught early, ovarian cancer is over 90% treatable. It’s imperative that the early signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer are recognized not only by women, but their loved ones and the medical community as well. There is currently NO early detection test for ovarian cancer, nor is there a vaccination to prevent the disease. The key to early diagnosis is awareness.

Potential Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
Bloating
Pelvic or abdominal pain
Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often

If symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks, consult your physician.


Thank you for reading about Kelli. One of these days I will get around to really writing about her - to try to capture her with words. But right now, I am keeping those things just for me as I grieve her.

Sponsor my Run For Kelli

Learn about Ovarian Cancer

2 comments:

Emily said...

Thanks for your post, Laura. So sorry about your loss. Are pap exams capable of detecting ovarian cancer?

Laura Stead said...

Great question, Emily! Because the pap just reaches the cervix, it's unable to take a sample of the ovary. There is currently no early detection screening for ovarian cancer. It seems that a transvaginal ultrasound is the most effective way, but it's an expensive test and is only ordered after a woman is symptomatic (and in Kelli's case, many months after) which means she is often beyond stage 1. Thanks for your support, friend!!