Contributed by Kelle Schmidtke
Hometown: Ossian, IN
Kathleen is a vivacious 48-year old wife, mother, daughter, friend, coach, and truly inspiring person. A few months ago, Kathleen felt her life was “normal”. Then on January 28, 2015 that “normal” forever changed.
December 23, 2015 – Her menstrual cycle started. Nothing to write home about, her cycles had always been pretty much the same. An episode of extremely heavy bleeding and trip to the emergency room had Kathleen questioning that maybe what was going on was more than just old age.
The discharge nurse gave her a card to Women’s Health Advantage. Kathleen already had an appointment with her regular doctor, but it was a week away and she could not stand it anymore.
Women’s Health Advantage was able to see her the next day. She had to have an ultrasound done and the doctor, Dr. Levanda, could not understand why with all the bleeding that her uterine lining was so thick. She did a biopsy in the office and found that a fibroid was prolapsing through her cervix.
At this point, Kathleen had options…surgery to remove the fibroid, a D&C and ablation or a hysterectomy. Dr. Levanda said she would hate to waste a perfectly good D&C if she found something in the biopsy, and Kathleen is way past the age of having kids so she opted to have a hysterectomy.
The ovaries were a concern for Kathleen because removing them might have sent her straight into menopause, but the doctor told her that they did not help at this age and that they were “just a haven for cancer.”
January 21, 2016 – Kathleen’s laparoscopic surgery went great. She went home the next day and was walking on the treadmill a few days later. The next week Dr. Levanda’s office called and wanted to review her pathology that day. Kathleen could not drive, and her husband, John, was working so they scheduled it for the next day.
January 28, 2016 – It is so true how your life can change in split second. The doctor’s office checked Kathleen’s incisions and then immediately told her that they had bad news and good news. The bad news was that they would have to do another surgery. The good news was Kathleen was one of the luckiest people.
Kathleen focused on the bad news, another surgery. She skirted over the issue that she was “lucky” because the cancer found in her ovary was caught at such an early stage.
CANCER...Kathleen’s initial thoughts were “What, cancer, me…no. I eat healthy, I’m a health and wellness coach, I exercise and do most things right. This isn’t supposed to happen to someone like me”. But guess what, cancer does not discriminate.
Kathleen and John left in shock. Initial diagnosis is Stage 1 Ovarian Cancer...UGH! After meeting with Dr. Ipod (recommended Oncologist from Dr. Levanada) and going over the pathology reports, they also found cancer in the fallopian tubes changing the staging diagnosis to Stage 2a Ovarian Cancer for now.
Surgery was scheduled for February 22, 2016. Dr. Ipod wants to touch all other parts of Kathleen that could be affected by this cancer. This type of cancer is also a genetic mutation. Kathleen will undergo genetic testing for the sake of her sons (they could be carriers) and her future grandchildren.
They will test for 25 different genes. Kathleen is considered one of the “lucky” ones because it was caught early. Lucky seems like a strange word but in the cancer world, an early diagnosis is lucky. In Kathleen’s case, I do consider her lucky. Not just because of the early diagnosis, but because she will beat this.
She has the power of prayer, faith, an awesome winning attitude, and a tribe of women and family behind her that believe in her. So now we wait until surgery is over on the 22nd to see if the diagnosis is changed.
Kathleen will have a very aggressive Chemotherapy regimen of 6 to 8 cycles. Because of the location of the cancer, there will be 2 different types of chemo treatments. She will lose her “feathers” – no hair, eyelashes or eyebrows. What she won’t lose is her unwavering faith, positive attitude, deep down beauty, and all of those who love and care about her.
Kathleen said in one of her videos that she has every intention of beating this and we are confident she will. She is not a bystander and will do everything in her power.
Kathleen and John will have medical expenses for this treatment. The hospital is a 45 minute drive from their home and their out of pocket maximum is $11,000 along with driving, and prescriptions!
More than 50% of all Fight the Fight purchases made from May 16th, 2016 to May 31st, 2016 will be donated to Kathleen to help cover her medical-related costs.
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