In her PEOPLE.com blog, Diem Brown, the Real World/Road Rules Challenge contestant recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer for the second time, opens up about her desire for a child and the ups and downs of cancer and fertility procedures
First, let me say I’m so excited to be part of this year’s Stand Up to Cancer telethon event on Sept. 7, which airs on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and more than a dozen cable channels. I know how fast and ugly this disease can turn.
I haven’t thought much of my ovary removal surgery since going under the knife three weeks ago – that is, until I got a call that my pathology results were in. Immediately I felt an intense heaviness on my chest.
The next day walking towards the hospital registration desk, my mood was embarrassingly lifted seeing a brightly colored candy bowl. The receptionist sensed my sugar craving, and with a sly smile said, “That candy bowl is my kryptonite as well.” Her light, humorous demeanor was refreshing since sometimes hospital walls can feel ominous and cold.
After taking the golden-wrapped candy, a nurse brought me to my doctor’s examining room. Suddenly, I felt nervous again and I began my fidgety routine, as I hadn’t met this doctor before. While pondering the possible results my new doctor would reveal, I was quickly alerted by a soft knock at the door.
My head tilted curiously as I took in my new cancer doctor. He shook my hand and immediate thought was, “Ummm my new doctor looks 25 years old. Is this a real life Doogie Howser, M.D.?”
Anxiety rose in my throat for a split second until I was quickly put at ease because this young looking doc showcased his utter brilliance. He started explaining my latest pathology results and I gasped, “Thank GOD I listened to my family and loved ones and went through with this last surgery!
As it turns out, they found even more cancer during that fourth surgery, not only in my last ovary, but also in my fallopian tube (which had also been removed during the surgery).
He then explained my specific kind of ovarian cancer like I had never heard before. I was fascinated by the details. I felt like I was taking a impromptu medical course. The information Dr. Doogie Howser was giving should have had me scared to death, yet I sat completely intrigued.
He explained, based on new research, that my cancer might have started in another area and then metastasized – or spread to my ovaries.
I wasn’t freaking out from this world-shaking news about my diagnosis. Ironically, I felt calm and safe. This doc in front of me was taking his time gently explaining every possibility and treatment option. It’s amazing how the delivery of bad news affects your ability to handle it.
He told me that my type of ovarian cancer was extremely rare, so he wanted to run more tests and bring my full case to his fellow colleagues for review. In my imagination I pictured a room full of brilliant doctors evaluating my medical records from 2004-2012. How could I not feel safe?!
That room full of doctors putting their heads together to figure out the best treatment for my case got me thinking. How amazing is the power of innovation with experts coming together to find solutions in the field of health?!
For cancer in particular, my mind goes instantly to the Stand Up to Cancer telethon, the mission of which is to raise money to gather a “Dream Team” of scientist and doctors to collaborate on ideas and share their research in hopes of coming up with a cure for cancer.
Now that might sound like a beauty pageant answer, but back in the day the March of Dimes helped raise funds for researchers to find the cure for polio! That’s right, people giving dimes lead to a cure, so why can’t we do the same today for a cancer cure?
Until the magical day where we don’t have to worry about cancer, I’m trusting that my personal doctor and his fellow colleagues will find the best way to help me fight back and kick the hell out of whatever cancer is in me!
For my part I will continue to be as vocal as possible, especially considering September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.
Stand Up To Cancer will be broadcast live on NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX from L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium on Sept. 7 at 8 p.m.
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