Ovarian Cancer Patient Stories

  • Karen Applegate

    Karen Applegate

    Ovarian As a certified personal trainer, registered yoga teacher and Pilates practitioner, Karen Applegate is tuned into her body. She’s used to keeping a busy schedule, so when she started feeling unusually tired in 2010 at the age of 52, Karen didn’t worry much at first. But then the bloating started, along with sharp pains in her stomach and persistent back pain that would intensify when she took a deep breath. “I knew something was wrong,” she recalled. Karen landed in the emergency room with crippling abdominal pain on a Friday. Tests revealed that she had a cyst. By Monday, Karen learned the blood test detected a high presence of CA125 – cancer antigen in blood, specific to ovarian cancer. Read more »
  • Betsy Billigmeier

    Betsy Billigmeier

    It’s one thing to find out you test positive for the BRCA2 gene.  It’s another thing to know what to do with that sobering knowledge. Betsy Billigmeier supported her own mother through two bouts with breast cancer, including treatment with a double mastectomy.  Aware of the genetic link between breast and ovarian cancer, Betsy opted for genetic testing at Fox Chase Cancer Center. When Betsy learned she carried, the BRCA2 gene, this single mother urged her daughters to undergo testing.

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  • Beth Brunswick

    Lizbeth Brunswick

    Ovarian Cancer

    Beth Brunswick travels up and down the east coast from house to house working, fly fishing and enjoying life. Although she rarely sits still, Beth and Ed, her husband of 23 years, were relaxing in Florida in late February 2014. She noticed that her stomach was hard to the touch and was quite distended. “I thought this must be what it feels like to be pregnant,” admitted Beth, who never had children. She would soon find out that the hard mass in her abdomen was an ovarian tumor.

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  • Suzanne Buck

    Suzanne Buck

    Metastatic Ovarian Cancer

    Suzanne Buck has lived with cancer since 1989 when she was diagnosed with stage one ovarian cancer.  But ask her how she’s doing, and the emphasis is always on the "living" part.  "It's important for people to understand that you can live a full life, and still deal with cancer. I'm one of the lucky ones."  Lucky, and compliant – Suzanne is always vigilant, never relaxing her regimen of six-month check ups, blood work and CAT scans.

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  • Kelly Charles

    Kelly Charles

    Metastatic Ovarian Cancer

    In July 2012, Kelly Charles experienced discomfort caused by swelling on her right side. Emergency room doctors near her home in Toms River, NJ, ordered a CAT Scan. Kelly, who was 54, was told she had a mass on her ovary that had spread throughout her abdomen and liver. With a strong family history of cervical and ovarian cancer, Kelly was vigilant about regular checkups. When further testing revealed she had Stage 4 ovarian cancer, Kelly and her husband, Donald, and children, Donald, Jr. and Danielle, believed the prognosis was fatal.

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