A local woman is sharing her story of survival and hope after beating ovarian cancer.
Eight-month-old Charlie Cutler is happy and healthy. Her mom Jennifer is thrilled. She wasn't sure having a baby was even possible.
"I chose not to get tested because I didn't want to get bad news sooner than I needed me too," she said.
You see, ten years ago when Jennifer was just 23, she started having abdominal pain, like cramps. It was first thought to be a cyst but then her abdomen started to swell. At the hospital, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
"I didn't know what was going on until a doctor came in and he had oncology written on his jacket."
Surgeons removed her left ovary and she underwent three months of chemotherapy. She said after the first week, she couldn't get out of bed that weekend. But today, she feels fortunate.
"It's been ten years and I am cancer free but it's never forgotten," Jennifer said.
She knows many women are diagnosed much later, need longer treatment and 50-percent with ovarian cancer die within five years.
"Since my chemo was only three months I remember telling my parents I need to do something." And she has, through her own fundraiser and with the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation's Sandy Sprint she has raised thousands of dollars for research leading to better detection and treatment.
When she met and married her husband Matt, she wasn't sure how chemo affected her fertility, but stayed positive... clearly, things worked out.
"The best thing is waking up and running into her room and seeing her and saying good morning," she said.
Jennifer tells others to listen to your body. If something doesn't feel right, get it checked out.
She also encourages others to join her for this year's Sandy Sprint. It is on April 27th. Sandy Sprint
There are two running races, a walk, and a canine sprint.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer can be subtle and include:
-Abdominal or pelvic pain
-Urinary symptoms (urgency, frequency)
Survival and hope after ovarian cancer