The story of one ovarian cancer survivor, as told by her daughter, using intimate recorded conversations and audio diaries, to bring a much-overlooked cancer into the light.
We begin in a hospital room, in Halifax, Canada, as a difficult moment is about to unfold. An introduction to Teresa, and to ovarian cancer as she and her family experienced it.
After months of vague symptoms and a battery of tests, the cancer is finally diagnosed. This episode asks, what is ovarian cancer, and why is it so hard to diagnose? Featuring Dr Lana Saciragic, Gynecologic Oncologist at Nova Scotia Health Authority.
Chemotherapy begins. Walking into the chemotherapy room that first day, none of us know what to expect. Mom has a bad reaction to the drugs as she begins her treatment journey. We learn: what is chemotherapy, how does it work, and what toll does it take on the body. The episode features Dr Lana Saciragic, Gynecologic Oncologist at Nova Scotia Health Authority.
Caregiving, and even standing by as someone you love goes through cancer, is its own journey, and deserves its own episode. This episode features Robin Arthur, and Pamela Esposito-Amery from Tell Every Amazing Lady.
The cancer comes back. (Remember that dandelion?) We learn that recurrence is a common feature of ovarian cancer because early detection is so difficult and there is no way to screen for it. But asking the question ‘why can’t we see it coming?’ leads me on a journey to learn more about - not the ovaries - but the fallopian tubes, and new innovations to try and get ahead of this cancer.
This cancer comes from a genetic mutation. We learn more about this, and how it works. What does that mean for how you prevent or treat this cancer? Sarah DeFeo from the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance explains, and talks about why genetic testing is an important tool going forward.
In 2020, Mom was dealing with the covid pandemic as well as cancer. After her chemotherapy treatment ended, she started on a new drug, called niraparib, to try and prevent a recurrence. She would end up back in the emergency room, but this time, it wasn’t covid, or cancer. And, I talked to Dr Tracy Brooks for a deep dive on PARB inhibitors, a relatively new class of drugs used in cancer treatment.
The cancer comes back again, and Mom starts a new round of chemo. At this point, I decide I would finally go and get a genetics test done for myself. In this episode, I talk to my genetics counselor, and my sister Esther, about the results of her test and what happened next for her.
This episode hands the mic over to two other survivors of ovarian cancer - Susan Leighton, and Donna Pepin. Both Susan and Donna talk about how they're paying their survivorship forward, through advocacy.
In reporting and writing this series, I’ve become intrigued by the ovaries themselves and their underrated role in our overall health. In this episode, I talk to pioneering gynecological oncologist Dr Dianne Miller about why the ovaries are still so mysterious to us, and why we don’t talk about ovarian health more.