I have been employed by Hewlett-Packard for over 30 years, and currently, work from my home office in Issaquah as a Finance and Operations Manager in support of a large government program.
My big story is that I was diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer nine years ago in September of 2007 at the age of 46. I found out I had cancer during my youngest daughter’s first week of 6th grade and when my older daughter was starting her sophomore year of high school. The survival statistics at that time didn’t have me likely living more than five years. Fortunately, I have been able to battle hard and overcome that statistic. Over the last 9 years, I have had four full abdominal surgeries, over 100 chemo treatments and participated in multiple clinical trials. I also found out that I share the same genetic mutation that Angelina Jolie has, called BRCA1, and was incredibly blessed that neither of my daughters inherited the mutation. It has been quite a battle over the years. But on a positive note, my 4th remission has been my longest and I have now been cancer free for just over two years. I’m very hopeful that will continue!
What are your hobbies and interests outside of the club?
My husband and I spend a lot of time together at the club in exercise classes. But when we are not experiencing “date night” in Chizzled or attending other classes, we enjoy following the Gonzaga basketball team, going to movies, and going on coffee dates. We live on Tiger Mountain and like to head out our front door and make our way up to the many hiking trails near our house too.
I attend a faith-based cancer support group once a month for people with many different types of cancer. I also have recently become involved with a charity, the Ovarian and Breast Cancer Fund Alliance Survivors Teaching Students®. Two or three ovarian cancer survivors go out to college pre-med and nursing programs around the state and tell our stories, focusing on the symptoms we experienced prior to diagnosis. The hope is that the students will remember our stories when they see patients in the future that present with the symptoms we have described. Early diagnosis is so critical, and survival rates are higher if the diagnosis is made in earlier stages of the disease. Currently, it is often misdiagnosed which causes valuable time to be wasted. We are now branching out as well and trying to find ways to educate friends, family and anyone that will listen about the symptoms of this cancer. If they, or someone they know, experience any of the symptoms we have described, they will know to get to the doctor sooner rather than later. It is such a great feeling to have someone say that they have made different choices because they heard my story.