It's scary how fast this form of cancer can sneak up on you. Over the past month, I've had the chance to get to know a local woman who has been fighting this battle for almost a year now.
For Martha Sutherland, each day she wakes up is a blessing. And it's this kind of attitude that's not only surprising, but motivating.
You see, Martha has stage four ovarian cancer.
"I am inoperable, b/c it's spread outside my abdominal area, into my right lung. I'm inoperable. To live I have do to chemo."
So on this day, that's exactly what she's doing, living.
"Okay you are doing well, lets continue your chemo, then after your second cycle, we'll do CAT scans to see if you will respond well."
Diagnosed in August 2006, Martha thought her symptoms lead to something else.
"I had diarrhea, I lost weight, I thought it was because I was eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and was going to exercise class religiously. so I get on the internet and I diagnose myself with IBS; and it was only when my stomach bloated that I realized something was seriously wrong."
And she was right. The symptoms were identical, but results far from common.
"When he mentioned the word ovarian and uterine, I remember the
Gilder Radner email that went around years ago about her symptoms. I think I knew. I was prepared for the worst when I went to the doctor, and I got the worst. but I'm still alive.
And that's the attitude she has each day. Martha has undergone more than 20 rounds of chemo in the last five months. From blood work to the actual chemo treatment.
Through it all, her spirits high.
"I think it's important to live their life like they did. you can not go home and sit down and feel story for yourself. That is absolutely the worst thing in the world you can do."
And Martha stands by her beliefs. For more than 40 years she's worked at the Richardson law firm in downtown Sherman as a paralegal, everyday 8-5 you will find this strong-willed woman sitting at her desk working. There's never a pity party, in fact, within 30 minutes of finishing up this chemo treatment, Martha's headed right back to work. It's her support group that keeps her going.