In December 2008, Nancy Wallis was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer, known as the “silent killer” of women because it is often difficult to detect. Her story, however, really begins two years prior, when she underwent a partial hysterectomy given her family history of breast and uter ine cancer. During a routine doctor visit a year following her surgery, Nancy mentioned having unusual bloating in her abdominal region. After a battery of tests, Nancy’s doctors determined she had ovarian cancer, and called for immediate surgery. During the surgery, physicians found the cancer to be very pervasive – two cancerous tumors in her stomach, a large platter-size mass across the top of her stomach, and affected areas within her colon. The operation was lengthy and required considerable reconstruction.
Nancy is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments that specifically target the formerly cancerous regions of her body. Her biggest challenge in her journey through cancer is overcoming fatigue. She is diligently working to build back her energy and strength and return to her day-to-day life as best she can. When asked what helps her during those especially demanding days, Nancy commented, “I am continuously inspired by the enormous amount of love and support from my family, friends, and even complete strangers. It is just all so touching.”
For her garden, Nancy wanted to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer. Just as breast cancer is represented by the color pink, ovarian cancer’s color is teal. Nancy’s garden features a teal pot, filled with white flowers signifying her resilient faith and the purity of God. Surrounding the pot are colorful flowers that celebrate life, as that, after all, is her ultimate goal.
Nancy hopes other women can learn from her experience. “Ovarian cancer is so quick and can progress so fast. Pay close attention to your body and any unusual changes.” Nancy especially wanted to stress four key symptoms of ovarian cancer: bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and abnormal urinary symptoms. “My prevailing hope is that someone can catch this much sooner than I did.”