Written by Dr. Amy Smith-Morris, BSP, PHARMD
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
I spent my 20’s attending university. Undergraduate in pharmacy, masters, and finally, a doctorate from the University of Toronto. I specialized as an oncology pharmacist. I know a lot about drugs but even more about chemotherapy and how to care for someone with cancer - the best job in the world.
I had just turned 30 years old and life was exciting. My fiancé and I bought our first house and we were set to get married at the end of September. After our wedding we travelled to Italy and Greece for two weeks. We did what everyone should do if travelling to Italy and Greece – we ate our way through the countries. Pizza, cheese, wine. So needless to say, when we had returned home, I had gained a bit of weight but nothing unusual. I’m very athletic so I was certain the weight would come off quickly once I got back to healthy eating and exercising. But that wasn’t the case.
Over the next couple of weeks, I didn’t lose any weight – I actually gained weight. The only other unusual symptom was heartburn. I had awful heartburn and had never had heartburn before – something was out of the norm. I was sent for an ultrasound of my abdomen and the results changed the trajectory of my life.
I had an ovarian tumor the size of a football - cancer. I was in complete shock. I laid down on my bed and felt like I was in a complete free fall.
I underwent a massive abdominal surgery to remove the tumor – thirty-seven staples to put me back together. And that was the easy part. Chemotherapy was next. I was about to experience first-hand the treatments I had been helping so many other patients through. I knew what was to come – which is both a good and a bad thing. I lived life hour to hour and day to day. It was difficult to imagine life after cancer because you are just trying to hold your head up to get to the next day. I finished chemotherapy in March 2017 and after a long recovery, I can say that I have been cancer free ever since.
My husband and I now enjoy checking things off our bucket list and living a “normal” life. On St. Patrick’s Day 2019, we welcomed our lucky little boy, Maximilian Christopher Morris. With just one ovary and after chemotherapy, turns out you really can put all your eggs in one basket.
I know first-hand that cancer is difficult (way beyond difficult) and that it’s hard for years after your done treatment. It doesn’t have to be the end. It doesn’t have to be the end of living.
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