My doctors think it is likely.

I thought I had a gut bug last week, but by last weekend it felt much more like a kidney infection. I was weak and light-headed with pain and discomfort that reminded me of the kidney infection I had twenty years ago.

On Sunday I walked over to the hospital ER department to get checked out, thinking I’d leave with a prescription.

Instead, I left in an ambulance. They took me to the airport and medivac’d me to Whitehorse, our capital city.

The local doctor on call found a mass he could feel in my abdomen. My heart rate was elevated. My white blood cell count was elevated. They gave me an IV of saline solution and a strong antibiotic and some pain killer. Over a couple of hours, my heart rate returned to normal but the doctor wanted me safely transferred to Whitehorse for a CAT scan and testing, rather than risk getting sicker on the 6 hour drive.

While I took the quick way to Whitehorse, Jeff went home, took the dog to the Humane Society for boarding, packed a quick bag for us, and hit the highway.

Since Sunday, I have had:

  • CAT scan
  • 3 ultrasounds, 4 if you include the internal wand.
  • 4 vaginal exams
  • 2 Pap smears and 4 swabs
  • 1 rectal exam
  • bags and bags of antibiotic by IV in my hand
  • gave vials and vials of blood each day
  • 2 blood thinner shots for clot prevention while being inactive

By Wednesday, it was clear I have a 14cm mass on an ovary. The result is an abdomen the size of a 20 week pregnancy.

I also have a kidney infection. If it wasn’t for the kidney infection, the mass may not have been found for awhile.

I had a special blood test taken for a cancer screening test that is being processed down south. This will give the doctors much more insight on what I have. The doctors were pretty blunt. Ovarian cancer is serious business and there are several kinds. The kind young women get is often treated with surgical removal and chemotherapy. However, the kind that older women get, ages 50-70, is quite terminal. I’m 42. Somewhere in the middle. Yeah… rough news.

The gynecologist/surgeon I met with yesterday said he is encouraged that the mass is large and movable. The most terminal ovarian cancer usually has smaller masses. It sounds like I should be hoping it is found to be “borderline”. If so, he will remove it soon in Whitehorse.

If it seems to be some serious cancer, or if the signs are there, the removal surgery will be in Vancouver with a team of cancer specialists. They need to know if the cancer has spread, or if it spread to my ovary from somewhere else.

Either way, I’m looking at surgery in 2-4 weeks.

I was released from the hospital yesterday (Wednesday) and allowed to drive home with Jeff. I’m on just Cipro, a prescription for the kidney infection.

How am I doing? I feel like I have a kidney infection. Kinda weak, some discomfort, but sleeping in my own bed, for more than an hour at a time was soooo needed (hard to sleep in a hospital). My white blood cell count is normal again. My blood pressure is good. Lungs are good.

I was a little weepy when the doctor said I could have a quickly terminal cancer. Like… what? What do I do with that information? I feel so normal.

Now, I basically can’t think much about that. It’s too abstract, terrifying, and not something I can do anything about but freak out, so I won’t.

Instead, the one thing I know is I’ll be having surgery soon. We stopped at a furniture store and bought a power recliner. We have just a couch here, and there is no way I’d be able to get on and off that after abdominal surgery, so we’re getting ready.

I’m off work for the rest of this week to heal up from the kidney infection.

I’m waiting for my results of the cancer screening, which will come by phone on Friday or Monday.

Some pics:

Ambulance ride #1 to Dawson airport
The medivac plane
Ambulance ride #2 in Whitehorse to the hospital
ER room after Jeff made it to Whitehorse.
Getting this out of my hand yesterday was some sweet relief!
The Whitehorse hospital overlooks the Yukon River. Twice we had a chance to take a short walk and watch the world go by.

Update for anyone landing on this post in the future: The diagnosis turned out to be uterine cancer – endometrioid adenocarcinoma.


Lisa (Verkley) Schuyler is a blogger reporting live from her new home in Canada's Yukon Territory. Often found wearing a hoodie, covered in pet hair, Lisa is a mis-placed forester who now spends her days engineering happiness for WordPress users. Lisa loves nature, animals, and most importantly, her handsome husband Jeff.

29 Replies to “I have … ovarian cancer?

  1. Hi Lisa, Im so sorry to hear your news, please stay strong & positive, sending you love & positivity from your friends in Scotland who love reading your blog. Xx

  2. Oh Lisa! I don’t know what to say. I think you’re a generally amazing person and a pretty tough cookie, so hang in there! (But also, make sure you don’t have to be tough all the time.) Sending you big hugs, cancer-butt-kicking-vibes, and hopeful thoughts.

  3. Hi Lisa So very sorry to hear that you have cancer. That is such a weak comment for a very serious condition, but there aren”t any good comments for a time like this.
    It is a scary time for ;you and Jeff. Half the battle in fighting this thing is a positive attitude, (I know this for a fact).
    I know you and I know you are a fighter so fight on Lisa and know that folks back here in Elma are wishing you all the best.
    Pat Little

  4. Hi Lisa my thoughts and prayers are with you. I’m hoping your surgery comes quick and the results are positive. Stay strong, big hugs.

  5. My heart goes out to you and Jeff. I have been sending every prayer and bit of positive energy your way since you pinged me. I wish I lived closer to help out while you’re recovering from surgery. Stay strong and stubborn. Be your best self-advocate. You have my friendship, support, and love. Just tell me if you need anything or someone to talk to. ALL THE HUGS.

  6. Hi, Lisa. What a journey so far! I’m going to be pulling together all the good vibes I have in me and I’ll send them out for you. I hope you can keep that positive attitude you always seem to have, and stay afloat during these hard times. Being in the same time zone as you at work has always made me feel like we are located somewhat close to each other, even though the Yukon is really not even remotely “close” to Washington state … now, somehow, the distance feels very far. I would love to bring you flowers, or drop off lunch. I would love to join you in your fight.

    For now, I’ll send you a virtual hug and a big smile, and hope for the best for you. I am so glad you have a strong partner in Jeff. Stay strong.

  7. I wish I could think of anything any better than what Andrea has but I can’t, so I just echo everything she’s already said. I’ve only met you in person the once, in Lisbon, but that was enough to know that when you joined our team it was a really, really good thing. You’ve a lovely, genuine person and a joy to be around. I send you all my love, thoughts and hugs. If there’s anything I can do, please let me know.

  8. Lots and lots of good thoughts, vibes, energy, wishes, luck, shamrocks, camels, GIFs, emojis and hugs from me. I’m so sorry this has happened to you — and I thought a week-long stomach bug sounded rough! I think of you as a very, vey strong person for many reasons (not all due to your choice of residence!) and I hope you kick the butt/arse/ass of whatever this turns out to be.

  9. Hug. You’re an amazing person Lisa and I’ve loved your personality since the first time we met in Montreal. If you need anything I’d love to help!

  10. Sending all the hugs and positivity I can your way, Lisa. I’m glad to have you as not only a coworker but more importantly a friend. Hoping for good news soon! Stay strong!

  11. Lisa, I’m sending you all my thoughts and prayers, and my best wishes to support you any way I can! I wish I could come by and bring you a casserole or something. You’re an amazing person, and my biggest hope is that you truly feel loved and supported and surrounded by good people and sweet dogs while going through this awful and scary thing.

  12. Lisa, I can’t imagine what the last week must have been like, but I am sure you tackled everything with a brave face and a positive attitude. Fingers crossed for good news — I’m sending you hugs and positive thoughts.

  13. Hi Lisa; we’re thinking of you and praying for you here in London, ON. Hugs from Aunt Patricia and Uncle David.

  14. I’m so sorry to read this, Lisa. I hope you get reassuring news soon and can put this behind you quickly. I’ll be thinking of you.

  15. Lisa, I’ll be thinking of you constantly. Sending an embarrassing amount of good thoughts, love, and hugs your way. ❤️

  16. Lisa I am so sorry to hear this news thinking of you lots and sending you many hugs from home ♥️

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