ITW n°103: Céline - ex K fighter (K of the ovary).
today the luminous Céline, 33 years old, tells us without taboo her fight against ovarian K, from which she has been in remission since last September.
Determined, very surrounded, discover the testimony of a sunny young woman, full of resources who fought her K as it dictates her life, with perspective, lucidity and optimism, a breath of fresh air and hope.
Another lesson in resilience.
Let's get started:
Who are you ?
First name: Celine
Age: 33 years old
Profession: Responsible for partnerships in a company that builds and operates serviced residences for seniors
Where do you live: Lyon
Why do you agree to share your story today?
To join the community of K-fighters J, because I agree with you: “Together we are stronger!”. If my testimony can help anyone...
What are your qualities (in a few words)?
Determined, epicurean, strength of character, altruistic, empathetic, mischievous
What are your passions (in a few words)?
discoveries, creativity, travel, outings with friends, projects that I share with my husband
What K (what cancer - grade if you wish / stage ditto):
ovarian cancer – stage IIB. The cancer affected both ovaries and the tumor stuck to part of my intestine.
When was it discovered? How old were you ?
January 2016, at age 32
Under what circumstances was it discovered?
Since November 2014, my husband and I have wanted a child. After a year of attempts, we consulted a gynecologist in December 2015 to find out if everything was going well.
During a check-up ultrasound, this gynecologist discovered a mass next to my ovaries. He first thought it was a cyst and ordered an MRI which I had in January 2016.
Reading the MRI report, despite the medical gibberish used, I understand that the mass does not have the head of a nice cyst (I work in the medical field so I knew how to decode the technical terms…). But the doctors aren't telling me anything yet.
Following the MRI, my gynecologist referred me at the beginning of February 2016 to a colleague specializing in gynecological cancers. This specialist gives me lots of exams (CT scan, second ultrasound, tumor marker dosage, pet scan).
In mid-February 2016, a diagnostic laparoscopy later confirmed ovarian cancer.
So far, I have not had any particular health problems. My ovaries worked perfectly well (regular menstrual cycles to the day without pills, no pain during periods, no pain in my stomach).
Only persistent constipation which made me consult a general practitioner in July 2015, but which had more or less passed.
I understood later that this constipation could be due to the compression of my colon by the growing tumor which had stuck to it…
If you are currently undergoing treatment, or in remission (for how long?)
I finished my treatment in September 2016. I am in remission, but the doctors have not precisely dated the remission. I therefore believe that I have been in remission since September 2016.
Can you summarize your (K fighter) story for us ?
I had surgery on February 16, 2016 for a diagnostic laparoscopy.
Another operation on February 29, 2016 to remove almost all the organs of the pelvis: the 2 ovaries, the tubes, the uterus, pieces of intestine, many lymph nodes, the omentum, the appendix + the installation of the stoma to protect the intestinal sutures.
At the end of March 2016, I learned that following pathology examinations, it turned out that my cancer had only affected the ovaries, and had not spread elsewhere, except to the piece of intestine on which it spread. was posed. And again, only the surface was affected, the mucous membrane was healthy. A true miracle: my cancer is stage IIB, considered early.
I started chemotherapy on April 4, 2016. The initial protocol was Taxol + carboplatin. During this first chemotherapy, I had a rare complication following the Taxol injection. I spend the night in the hospital. The carboplatin injection is going well.
I therefore remain on a carboplatin protocol until the end of chemo, at the beginning of August 2016.
September 13, 2016, continuity operation to remove the stoma: hurray! This is the real end of treatment for me.
As soon as the diagnosis was made, I looked for what could give me a maximum chance of getting through it + what could safeguard my morale and my dignity. I'm a fighter, grrrou!
My entourage is fantastic. I found myself overwhelmed with love. I had never felt so much, so much love. Sometimes I get so emotional that I cry!
What treatment did you have?
6 courses of chemotherapy, spaced 3 weeks apart. The 1st course: taxol carboplatin, then, following a complication due to taxol, the other 5 courses: carboplatin.
I had 4 operations:
1°) a first operation on February 16, 2016: laparoscopy for diagnostic purposes (duration 1 hour), 1 day of hospitalization
2°) a 2nd operation on February 29, 2016: “R zero surgery” (R for “zero resection” as my surgeon says: we no longer leave any visible trace of cancer!!) major surgery during which I was removed the 2 ovaries, the tubes, the uterus, pieces of intestine, many lymph nodes, the omentum, the appendix + installation of an ileostomy (yes, I am also entitled to the pouch, for 7 months :-S). Duration: 7 hours. 8 days of hospitalization.
3°) A 3rd operation to install the implantable chamber for chemo, mid-March 2016
4°) A 4th operation on September 13, 2016: restoration of continuity to remove the stoma. Duration: 1 hour. 5 days of hospitalization
What tips directly related to K do you want to share?
(your feeling with the doctor, your good treatment organization plans, anything that seems useful to you ;))?
1/ chemo: (ex: your tips, the helmet, your affinities with nurses):
I have taken steps to prepare myself as best as possible:
- Meeting with a hypnotherapist to condition me positively
- Appointment with a dietician to nourish my body as best as possible
- Meeting with an acupuncturist (a former anesthesiologist who worked in oncology and who specialized in acupuncture and auriculotherapy) to prevent side effects
- Appointment with a homeopath (a former gynecological surgeon who specialized in homeopathy) for the same reasons.
These appointments allowed me to maintain good physical and mental condition during the treatments.
My operations went very well and each time, I recovered well and very quickly. I think it's thanks to all these therapies, which I used before and during each operation. The same goes for chemo.
And above all… exercise!!! My big discovery! Throughout my treatment, I walked a lot (around 3 hours per day). I'm not much of a sports fan, so walking consisted of window shopping in all the shopping streets and shopping centers of Lyon, almost every day. Yes, I'm a shopaholic... Fortunately, I mostly like to look and not necessarily buy, otherwise I would have ended up ruined...
At first I was so sore and tired that I struggled to get going. But once I managed to get started, what a joy!
A virtuous circle sets in: you exercise => your body works => you are hungry => you eat well => you are in good physical condition => you tolerate treatments better => you do others things besides your treatment => your morale is good => you want to go out => you exercise, etc…
How did you live the day before, the same day, the days after chemo?
and what were your tips?
The day before chemo, nothing special but I take advantage of the moments of well-being before the storm.
On the day itself, long live knitting, magazines and of course company to make it go well. The same evening, do not eat too heavy.
The days after chemo, I had a loss of appetite, some nausea... The ginger capsules worked wonders for me: anti-nausea + energizing!
Then, after 3 days and a few walks, life resumes.
2/ hospital: (e.g. contact with nurses / doc / caregivers):
I am very happy with the 2 surgeons who operated on me “with 4 hands”: a gynecological surgeon and a digestive surgeon, because my tumor had stuck to my intestine.
They are very careful and diligent. They took care of me throughout my journey. They came to see me 2 to 3 times a day each at the clinic after the operation.
When I got the very good results from the analyzes of the organs that were removed from me, I thought my gynecological surgeon was going to bring out the champagne!
I could see at that moment that he was really worried and that he was really happy for me following the pathological results.
The nurses and caregivers at my clinic were adorable: very concerned about pain management, attentive at any time of the day or night, always encouraging when I wanted to progress in my convalescence (my first morning , my first wash at the sink, resuming my diet, etc.).
3/ “parallel” medicine, if you have done it (what disciplines, what were their benefits):
Yes, yes, and yes again! see my answer regarding chemo above.
I find that this aid is underestimated in France, not only for the treatment of cancer but also for other surgeries/treatments in general.
I prepared for my 2 operations using hypnosis, auriculotherapy, acupuncture, and homeopathy, and I recovered very well!
The same goes for chemo.
What did you do to clear your mind/clear your head (before chemo, surgery & co)?
Talking with those around me, watching TV, going out, shopping, doing relaxation or hypnosis, knitting, all creative hobbies that force you to open up to the outside world to nourish your inspiration, then then work on yourself to create something. I love this approach!
What practical “well-being/beauty” tips can you advise us?
1/ beauty: your essential products (e.g.: creams, varnishes, scars, oils, etc.)
Charlotte's kits ( on sale here )!!!! I came across the Mister K fighting kit website through the article on chemo looks, when I was looking on the internet for modern and stylish maternity pants for my post-operation (yes, the style, the style, always style! But with comfort and as you can with a 30cm scar on your stomach…). I ordered all 3 kits at once J!
2/ look, (e.g. your favorite chemo, hospital, every day look to feel good):
Maternity pants and tights for my stoma and my scar on my stomach, because the waist is very low and the back is still well protected.
Straight cut dresses also to be feminine while sparing the scar and the stoma.
Colorful vests for cold snaps and ease of dressing (especially after my implantable port installation :-S).
Pretty viscose maternity leggings (very soft and elastic, I love viscose clothes) to be comfortable at home while avoiding the pilou pajamas look.
Pretty boots and ballet flats to keep you comfortable. Before my surgeries, I spent my days in 9cm heels, but now I like J flats.
3/ daily (e.g. sport, food & co, meditation, reading, etc.)
I refuse to let my life revolve around my cancer. My schedule certainly included medical appointments, but also and above all meetings with friends for lunch or shopping, knitting classes, movie screenings, concerts, guided tours in museums, walks in the city, art therapy sessions with the Cancer League, yoga, and of course outings with my husband!
I love going out, outings nourish my morale. I am also lucky to live in Lyon, which offers many accessible activities.
However, watch out for fatigue, I also took care of myself and planned at least 1 nap per day in addition to a good night's sleep.
4/ hair problem (eg: did you wear a wig, scarves, hats)
I lost my hair following the one Taxol injection I had. I put on my wig with a bamboo cap underneath.
Today, I have a Christina Cordula cut but I still keep my wig because I hate very short hair.
Were you concerned about the views of others, were you afraid that their views would change? What did you do to counter it?
The gaze of others represents a sort of mirror for me, even if I manage to ignore it when it doesn't help me.
People were surprised to see me positive, going out, not feeling sorry for myself... The image of the bald, sick person, in bed and depressed, has a hard tooth! However, I also told them that I have “down” moments where I am in my chair comatose for a few hours J.
What are the “nugget”/footed phrases (that you remember) that someone said to you during K and that you could have avoided?
“I know you wanted children, but everything is going to be taken away from you. What’s the point of having children and dying 1 year later?” (the only “slip” from my digestive surgeon, which apart from that is great…)
“But why don’t you cook real mash instead of eating mash from a bag? And why don’t you make real couscous instead of this couscous ready in 2 minutes?” Maybe because I'm too tired to watch “Top Chef” every day at home??!
"You do not work ? Do you stay at home all day? Do you have children then?” (what a shortcut…) No, I just have ovarian cancer which prevents me from having children…
I was also surrounded by a stand of the League Against Cancer for the prevention of colorectal cancer, where I was shown a giant inflatable digestive tract (yes, yes, that exists) and showed me all the shapes of colorectal cancer. In principle, I'm not against it but it was just the wrong time for me.
At the end of the short speech, I was asked to promote the colorectal cancer screening test to those around me. I replied that in fact, I would promote it, because I had ovarian cancer which does not yet benefit from a rapid and effective screening test.
How did your loved ones support you?
With lots of love !!! I am grateful to them 10 to the 10th because I know that the news of my cancer was violent for them, even distressing. They didn't let it show and were positive with me.
And what advice could you give to loved ones who accompany a K fighter?
Be available (not be too intrusive or distant), listen to what the K-fighter wants (not project your own fears/desires), hold on for the long term.
Do you find out about K on the internet?
Yes, but data on stage II ovarian cancer in young women is scarce. So much the better for my anxieties…
If so, does it make you feel good?
When I felt alone in the face of illness, I tried to find people who shared the same experience. But I always came to the same conclusion: we each have our own journey and our own path to follow.
If so, what would be the useful (internet) links that helped you during K?
the website of the league against cancer.
What has the K changed in your life...?
I am much more grateful for the good things that happen to me. I'm even thinking about celebrating Thanksgiving every year starting this year! I was already enjoying life well before my cancer and I lived as if I was going to die the next day, now it's even worse (or even better)! I couldn't stand people who made themselves unhappy by constantly complaining, it didn't get better...
I learned to live day by day and to better accept the surprises of everyday life, as I planned everything in advance.
I have become a supporter of organic, for food and for beauty and cleaning products. I took the time to reflect on our consumption patterns during my treatment.
I eat a lot more fruits and vegetables.
My cancer is of genetic origin, I risk developing breast cancer, so I take all precautions not to relive the hell of cancer.
I take more time to do things and I meditate a little every day.
Free field ;)
I learned that cancer is not an exact science, because today there is still a lack of scientific information. We have to accept not knowing what will happen to us, but still have the strength to fight... Not easy.
Thank you Céline, for this very valuable testimony.
You can leave comments below.
If like her, you want to tell your story, your projects and share your tips, go here , send me your questionnaire and 1 photo of yourself so that I can draw you ;) to: email@example.com
*Many of you send me your testimonies, thank you for your precious trust, for this same reason, the broadcasts of your interviews will sometimes be broadcast in several months, but know that I keep and transmit absolutely ALL the testimonies that are sent to me , Thank you for understanding.
Please note that I do not retouch any Interview, they are completely free, it is your freedom, your story, I just add my personal touch with the illustration, they are delivered as they were sent to me ;)
NEVER GIVE UP!!