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22 Days and Counting: My Journey to Prevent Ovarian Cancer

Big decision. I’ve decided to change hospitals and surgeons for my upcoming surgery. I know it’s last minute, but I had to do it.

The doctor I was going to have the surgery with at New York-Presbyterian had been my mother’s surgeon 14 years ago when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. There was actually great comfort in going to the doctor who knew my mother and treated her, even though she ended up dying from the disease. Somehow, by going to him, I felt connected to my mother, even though she’s been gone since 1996. She knew my doctor and would have approved of my choice to use him.

I also felt a great deal of relief that he was at Columbia and no longer at The Mount Sinai Hospital (where he had been) when my mom was under his care. To be honest, I wanted to stay as far away from Mount Sinai as possible. Mount Sinai was also where my father had been treated for lung cancer five years after my mother passed away; he ended up dying there just weeks after he was diagnosed.

Then, this summer, I sought a second opinion after one of my routine vaginal sonograms came back with questionable results. (I wrote about this experience in my October 15th blog. That doctor just so happened to be affiliated with Mount Sinai, but who cared? It was just a second opinion. I would be OK.

Well, I didn’t expect to be so smitten. To my surprise, I actually felt relieved to be with a doctor who didn’t know my mother. For once, I could have a conversation with a surgeon without looking into the eyes of the very doctor who couldn’t save my mother’s life. I could look at him and see my future, not my past.

But I was extremely conflicted. How could I change doctors so late in the game? My old doctor has known me and my family for 14 years, this new one has only known me a few minutes.

I ultimately decided a fresh start is crucial for my emotional well-being as my operation draws closer. So, I too will walk into Mount Sinai a patient — like my mother and father did — but this time, I will go through those doors cancer-free and expect to come out a few days later feeling, at least for a few moments, invincible.

Oh, there’s one other change I should tell you about:

My surgery date will be different too. Instead of Wednesday, November 28th it will be Thursday, November 29th. So, let’s recalibrate my Countdown to Surgery: There are now actually 23 days left.

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