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Hi Friend, While I haven’t gotten pen to paper much recently, I assure you, my internal monologue has been nothing

short of brilliant. Seriously. Watch out. I’m armed with new personal insights, tons of new relationship understanding and a whole lot of snarkyness I am trying to keep at bay. (I know some of you are hoping snarky-Denver comes out – don’t worry, I’m debating working on a comedy act that will have you nearly peeing in your pants (and then feeling awkward that you’re laughing at cancer jokes.)). If you’re just joining The Team, here’s what you need to know: 1. At the end of May, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. 2. You can read about my first round of chemotherapy here and you can read about the second round here. All caught up now? Great! Oh, one other thing, unless you have found cancer-curing cough drops, we can probably stop the cough drop jokes. C’mon. That’s so two updates ago. (I know, I know. I brought these on myself. Damn.) Just over two weeks ago I had my third round of chemo. Thankfully, it was painless (sans the needle prick which is never painless). After my allergic reaction to one of the meds during Round 2, we changed the drugs (out with Taxol, in with Abraxane) and cut the time of treatment by more than half. While I’ve been very, very lucky to always have good company by my side during treatment, it’s hard to argue with switching from a 6.5 hour day to a 2 hour day. (Plus, I could breathe! Which is kind of important.) While each treatment has been as unique as a snowflake, some patterns are emerging. Mainly; 1. The anti-nausea medicine makes me feel like I am floating in a cloud while simultaneously feeling about as heavy as a ton of bricks. No, it’s not like being stoned, and no, there are not funny YouTube videos. I will never understand why the nurses insist on talking to me during this particular medicine; I’m not ignoring them, I really am unable to keep my eyes in focus. 2. I always plan to get work done while I’m at treatment, but, if I’m honest with myself, I pretty much know it’s not going to happen. Sorry Speak Easy folks! I promise I try and respond to your emails and messages quickly, but apparently laptops aren’t made to float in the clouds, and we know they’d be crushed under a ton of bricks. 3. I’m going to feel fine the first several hours after treatment (hell, I might even feel like a rock star) but when the steroids wear-off and I start to crash, I am not going to feel bad about a 12-hour (Law & Order, Girls, Arrested Development) marathon. Seriously. I know that is kind of embarrassing to admit, but I have really comfortable couches and let’s be honest: you’ve probably done the same thing, and you can’t even use cancer as an excuse. (Don’t worry, I’m not judging.) 4. Thankfully, 3 to 4 days later I’m pretty much back on my feet. Of course that’s also about the time everyone asks how I’m doing…and no one believes me when I say I’m doing well. Which I am! I really, really am!

A huge (like, Mammoth Mountain huge) piece of this experience thus far that I haven’t talked much about is the absolute amazingness of my family. I know I can’t do them (or their support) justice, but I do want to make it known that if you think I’m cool, they should get a significant amount credit. I have three older siblings (I really hope you’re not expecting them to have city names) Marcie, Ethan and Amanda – and each of them is an absolute rock in my life. We are pretty spread out geographically (Washington, (soon to be) Maryland, and New York), but I consider us unbelievably close emotionally. When this whole experience started, I called each of them individually before calling my dad; if you have siblings, you’ll understand why I called them first. Those three phone calls so perfectly reflected each of their personalities that even in the midst of the chaos, it gave me comfort to know, we’re us, and that means we’ll get through this. Amazingly, each of them has been able to visit me over the past few weeks – and if you have had the opportunity to meet any one of them, well, you kind of just moved up in the world. As someone that’s very rarely at a loss for words, I cannot even pretend to know how to share the role my dad has played in supporting me to this point. I can say I am now, more than ever, so, so thankful that my dad trusts me as an adult. He is my ultimate sounding board. As I continue to face decisions about the course of my treatment, and move forward with their corresponding actions (all in Indiana – which, in case you didn’t know, he lives thousands of miles away from), I do so confidently. So many of the skills and perspectives that are guiding me through this experience have been cultivated in his confidence in me. Not in the trophy-kid kind of way (although, I did win quite a few on championship soccer teams when I was younger), but in the accountable, respectable, adult kind of way. Still, there are countless other people that absolutely deserve the Gold Medal of Friendship and Support Award (okay, I made that award up. Shh). I could rattle off so many names but I was reminded recently (thanks again, Sussy Project) that I’m receiving support from so many people and it’s the collective that’s so humbling. There won’t be a list of all of these Gold Medal winners (at least not in this post), but MWB, SL, AO, RH, AMcM, BW, SEseven and the SAMO ’03 crew that has too many people to name, you are especially outstanding for reasons you probably aren’t even aware. So with all of that said, let’s talk about what’s next. Factually, here’s what we know; Despite a very real, very scary 96 hours of panic in which I was convinced my cancer was getting worse, we know I am responding to chemotherapy. (WOO HOO! Pop the Champagne!). In hindsight, I was likely overeating during that scare (damn you, Google, for contributing to my fear), but to date; those 96 hours are among the most terrifying and privately emotional of this adventure. Cancer, and how the body is responding to treatment, is tracked a couple of ways. In my case, we know I’m responding as one of the tumor markers (CA125) is declining. Mathematically it’s not simply as cut and dry as “it went down 50 points, and therefore we know _____,” but, the downward trend is suggestive of good things. I had a scan last week (still waiting on the results) but it should be confirming the same thing. Also, if

you’ve been around me the last few days, I haven’t been coughing every five minutes, which is probably the best indicator of all. The plan since the beginning is to have a total of 6 chemotherapy treatments. I have three behind me so I’m halfway there! This, like all things, is subject to change, but at least for now, hasn’t. I don’t know when Round 4 is scheduled, but I’m hoping sooner rather than later. The plan that has changed relates to surgery. This is a little bit more personal than a lot of what I’ve shared thus far, but, like always, I’m happy to tell you about my choices. There’s a lot (a LOT) of information that I’m not getting into (after all, I’m already on page 3) but if you want to talk more about this, we can one-on-one. Today, July 16th I had a “small” surgery. It doesn’t necessarily feel small in my mind, but I’m told it’s small, so let’s go with that. For the typical patient, the typical surgery would include having both of your ovaries removed. I’m told there is a good deal of logic for making this decision and while I won’t run through my entire cost/benefit analysis, three main points are:


As the primary source of cancer cells, removing one or both ovaries may help limit the production of new cancer cells, When ovarian cancer spreads, it (typically) moves first to the surrounding organs (pelvis, abdomen, liver, ect) and later to areas outside the peritoneal cavity, 80% of ovarian cancer patients are 45 and older.

Now, here’s the thing: I’m just not typical. Sure we’ve known this all along, (as so many people like to point out, I willingly picked Indiana over California,) so when evaluating the pros/cons of removing both ovaries, here’s my thinking:



Going back to my initial diagnosis, as well as subsequent information we’ve gathered, we know my right ovary had cancerous cells, but the left one looks clean and clear. We confirmed this even further today when the doctor got to take a look at it firsthand. Cancer doesn’t always spread in a typical fashion. Sometimes it likes to spread with no pattern at all. In my case, this means I have cancer in my right ovary and in my lungs … and nowhere in between. I’m not 45 and I’m even further away from entering menopause. As a single 26 year old, my stage in life is vastly different than other woman facing this decision.

Now, if the information I have changes, my decision (and subsequent actions) may also change. But (that’s Baby Got Back sized but), until that happens, myself (and my doctors,) agree removing both ovaries is not the appropriate next step. So this morning I removed my right ovary and will let the magic of the human body balance itself out. Many of the most serious side effects/implications of ovarian surgery are either minimized or avoided all together in this situation. Hormone levels will balance out, scars will heal and I should be back on my feet in no time.

Much, much love, -d PS. My blog will be up before week’s end (and this will be reposted there!) so get excited! Also, special thanks to Chris Johnson and Alex Overbeck for helping to make that happen! PSx2. Also hopefully available at the end of this week are my beyond kickass Fuck Cancer/Team Denver t-shirts; you’ll have 2 weeks to preorder them once they are officially available (Special thanks Ryan Hunley and Amy McAdams!). Check out the sneak peak designs (Hint: Teal is the color for ovarian cancer):