Western Regional Blog – BC, YK, AB, NWT and Nunavut
Two-and-a-half years ago I joined the club none of us wants to belong to: ovarian cancer. But I’m a survivor and that’s all good.
My approach to any new challenge (motherhood, Christmas turkey, marriage breakdown, travel to China) is research. I gather information and learn as much about the subject as I can. I’ve done the same with ovarian cancer: after an ultrasound to investigate what my doctor said might be fibroids, I hit the books and the internet to discover I had experienced most of the symptoms over the previous couple of years.
In my research I discovered studies that showed breast cancer survivors lived longer when they joined a support group. So I joined a support group.
I heard from other survivors that exercise would help alleviate fatigue. So I worked with a physical trainer who is trained in helping cancer survivors get their bodies back in gear.
And then because I was no longer working, I volunteered with Ovarian Cancer Canada to help spread the word about being aware of the symptoms of this disease.
Between doctors’ appointments, completing insurance forms, reading forums, attending conferences, seminars and online chats, learning to eat healthier… well, my entire life had been taken over by cancer.
And that’s all I could think of.
Last fall, recovering from chemo after cancer recurred, I decided to “de-cancerize my life”. I volunteer with an outdoors club and we spend weekends hiking and snowshoeing in the wonderful wilderness of British Columbia. It brought the fresh air back into my life and let me put cancer (in remission, thank you) on the back burner.
Knowledge is good, but so is balance.
Rochelle van Halm is an ovarian cancer survivor, mother and writer who enjoys downhill skiing.