I always thought I would lose my family to heart issues, inherited on my father’ side.  In fact, Dad’s heart gave out in 1997.  Both of my parents smoked in the house while we were growing up, but Mom gave it up in 1998.  My husband was a smoker, but he kept it outside.  We were married 34 years and raised two wonderful daughters when, sadly, we lost him to lung cancer in 2008.  Then my older brother to kidney cancer in 2013.  Then my mother to lung cancer in 2018 at age 91.  Then my younger brother to lung cancer in 2020.  I was the only one left and I could hardly believe what cancer had done to us; but I always believed I would make it to 90 because I was diligent about my health care with regular check-ups.

A CT scan for some benign issue in mid-2018 had revealed a tiny spot on my lung, but then my mother’s illness and death took over my life and I forgot about it.  When I moved to Culpeper in 2020, I got busy finding a new health care network and my nurse practitioner ordered a chest scan to monitor that spot.  That’s when I met the caring team at Outpatient Imaging-Culpeper.  Making an appointment was easy and I got in quickly.  I learned that the lung spot had grown a little and required surgery.  In the recovery room at UVA’s Emily Couric Canter Center in Charlottesville, VA, I learned that I had had Stage 1 lung cancer.  Thanks to early detection and a lobectomy, I required no further treatment.

Along with semi-annual chest CTs to monitor my lungs, OIC has also handled a number of other routine requirements, including annual mammograms, a DEXA bone scan, and a cardiac calcium scoring test.  Through all of these multiple visits to the Center, I felt good knowing that I would be treated efficiently, comfortably, and with the necessary attention to privacy.  The front office team is courteous and the Center is spotless.  The Techs are quick to explain all procedures in detail so there are no surprises.  Likewise, I have a high level of confidence in the UVA Radiologists with whom the Center partners to correctly assess my status.

In the summer of 2022, my 2-year chest CT revealed a mass in my abdomen on the bottom edge of my scan.  I was back to the UVA Cancer Center, where a needle biopsy confirmed I had Stage 3 high-grade serous ovarian cancer.  My oncologist immediately arranged for chemotherapy at Infusion Center at Culpeper Hospital where I received excellent treatment.  After 3 sessions, another CT scan showed progress, so I quickly “squeezed” in my annual October mammogram, and then returned to Charlottesville for a complete hysterectomy.  I received three more chemo infusions and in late January 2023, a physical exam showed me to have No Evidence of Disease (NED).

Since the beginning of my ovarian cancer journey I’ve been fully aware of the rate of recurrence and have been continuously researching how diet, natural supplements and off label drugs can attack cancer stem cells.  I am employing all of these tools to improve my chances of long-term NED status; it’s hard work, but I owe it to my two daughters and their beautiful families.

For the foreseeable future, frequent physical exams will be my monitoring system.  As for Outpatient Imaging-Culpeper, it’s time for my updated DEXA bone scan.  They haven’t seen the last of me!