Diane, a faith filled wife, mother, and friend, died before anyone wanted her to die. She passed from this life into the next after being here barely forty-three years. Diane was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in October of 2007, after months of doctor visits and tests led to the conclusion that all she needed was a routine hysterectomy and her problems would be solved. Three different health care professionals agreed. Imagine for a minute, waking up after that surgery, and seeing the face of the doctor who said you did not have ovarian cancer and finding out that said doctor was called into the surgery because you have Stage III ovarian cancer.
Treatment began after she recovered from her surgery. She sought expert advice from M. D. Anderson in Houston, Moffitt in Tampa, and doctors in Jupiter. Her husband, a scientist, spoke to colleagues trying to find the best treatment plan so ovarian cancer would not take Diane. It was a roller coaster ride of chemo, remission, testing – each time the pattern repeated the highs seemed higher and the lows lower.
Diane faced cancer as she did life. On her own terms. Her rules. She wanted to leave a legacy to the world. She did. She wanted to be remembered. She is. She wanted her suffering and death to mean something. It can. How? By working to educate health care professionals and women. By teaching women to take charge of their health care and to speak up to their doctors until they are heard. By making information about ovarian and all reproductive cancers easily accessible and understood.
We can question Diane’s cancer forever. Questioning will not change the fact that she is gone or make a difference in someone else's life. We can, as Diane said, “educate and act, to save women and their loved ones from this agony. This will make my suffering and death mean something.”