The Ovarian Cancer Chronicles are back!

The Ovarian Cancer Chronicles are back!
| by Antra Boyd

Cancer is a funny thing. On the one hand, it has been my greatest teacher and I have felt tremendous gratitude to learn about myself through these experiences. I said once that cancer has given me the gift of knowing and loving myself and that IS the calling of a lifetime. I still believe this is true, but I gotta say, being diagnosed again just seven months after my last surgery has been a bit of a bootie kicker. Apparently, cancer still has some things to teach me. 

I tell you all this, not for social support, although I do love the prayers that people send, but because I am called to share what I have learned as a patient and as a nurse. This journey has had its ups and downs for sure. I OVER SHARED the first time around, was pretty pissed off the second time around, got my head on straight-er the third time around and kept quiet-er than is normal for me, and now? 

All I know is that I am supposed to share what I know. 

I am starting at square one this time around. Doctors are suggesting more surgery, more procedures, more, more, more. I don’t have enough information yet to make informed decisions about my care and what path I intend to take. That being said, I have several appointments and some tests coming up to gather more information. 

Antra’s Advocacy Tip #1: 

Did you know I was an operating room nurse for twenty years? That’s a long time. What amazed me day in and day out was how uninformed we are as patients. Where does the responsibility lay for us to become informed patients, do you suppose? As a conventionally trained nurse, I always thought it was the provider's responsibility. That makes sense, tell me what I need to know so I can make an informed decision. Right? As a patient myself undergoing major operations for cancer, I learned that the real responsibility for my care and my understanding of that care lies on me. 

AND this was so empowering for me. It allowed me to navigate my care with so much more confidence because I knew I would be «informed» to the extent that I needed to be, to make the best decisions for myself. 

This is true whether I am navigating traditional conventional medicine or other forms of healing. I don’t care if I am engaged in healing through a shaman, an integrative practitioner, a gynecologic oncologist, or Cookie Monster. The onus for my health and for what I choose to do to heal ALWAYS lies on me.