Two-time ovarian cancer survivor: How the Moon Shots Program helped me

I was in Mexico in the summer of 2013 when I came down with a bad case of diarrhea. That’s a pretty common complaint among travelers, so I figured it was just an intestinal bug. The problem continued off and on for several weeks, even after I returned to the States. I tried to ignore it and just get on with my life, but I’m a middle school teacher, and summer is my break time. I had training and traveling to do. Then I started feeling very bloated. It wasn’t really painful, just extremely uncomfortable — and it was pretty severe. The bloating worried me enough that I finally went to an emergency room. I had a CT scan, and the doctors said I had “ascites,” or large pockets of fluid in my abdomen. They released me without treatment and recommended I see an oncologist. The suggestion that I might have cancer surprised me. Still, I didn’t take it seriously. Instead, I contacted a friend who’s a gastroenterologist. He referred me to an oncologist, too. I was officially diagnosed with high-grade serous ovarian cancer in August 2013. An ovarian cancer diagnosis I lead a pretty healthy lifestyle and had been running marathons for years. So the ovarian cancer diagnosis came as a shock. But my late husband had been treated for melanoma at MD Anderson years earlier, so I knew it was the best place to go. I called and got an appointment with Kathleen Schmeler, M.D., that same week. As part of a new approach that MD Anderson’s taking to ovarian cancer through its Moon Shots Program™, Dr....