Gynecological Cancer Survivor

Donna - Gynecological Cancer Survivor

I'm 58 years old and was recovering from major surgery last year when I learned I had peritoneal cancer, which affects a thin layer of tissue that lines the abdomen. At first, I was in shock. When that wore off, I wanted to know what the next step was and what the treatment plan would be.

I never considered getting my treatment anywhere other than Virginia Mason. My gynecologist of 20 years practices there and I trust her completely. She referred me to another Virginia Mason gynecologist who is a cancer specialist. Together, they created a treatment plan and discussed it with me at length. All my questions were answered and I was comfortable with the plan.

Nothing however, could have prepared me for how grueling cancer treatments can be. Every week for three and a half months, I came to Virginia Mason for chemotherapy. And while I didn't look forward to the treatments, which caused me to lose my hair and 30 pounds of weight, I did enjoy seeing the people who cared for me. They became like friends and one of my nurses was with me every single step of the way through the entirety of the treatments. She went out of her way to make sure I was always comfortable and I knew I could ask her anything.

I am now considered a cancer "survivor" and feel fortunate that I had the best care possible. And I had so much support from my husband, family and friends.

Through this experience, when just getting out of bed might take every ounce of energy, I've learned that I'm stronger than I ever thought I was. Sometimes, I had to convince myself to stay positive and I managed to do that more often than not.

Today, I appreciate things more and complain less. I spend time gardening and I work two days a week as I prepare for retirement. I feel lucky that I received my care at Virginia Mason. I can't imagine a better place to be.