Over the past couple of years, those of you who read this blog (and I thank you from the bottom of my heart) have seen some difficult topics. The choice to euthanize a beloved dog. Miscarriage. Ovarian lumps. Why Klout is silly :] But this story is the hardest, because it is on behalf of someone who has become a dear friend, someone who has done a TON for our community over the years, and someone we need to do proud. That someone is Anne Sprecher.
The Story, In Anne’s Words.
I’d like to share with you (with Anne’s blessing) an email that she recently shared with some of her close friends:
Good Morning Dear Friends,
Please regard this as a cautionary tale. Late in May while lying on my bed I discovered a golf ball sized lump on my left abdomen near my hip bone. Because it was large and the area tender, I went to a doctor thinking I might have an inflamed lymph node or cyst. A few days before my appointment I couldn’t feel the lump anymore—it seemed to have disappeared or migrated elsewhere–but I decided to go anyway. The proactive Nurse Practitioner felt the lump and sent me for a blood test and ultra sound. She called me the next day to say she set up an appt for me with a very good gyn. One week later the gyn gave me a vaginal and rectal exam, the latter much to my surprise as it was something I’d never had before. He then issued orders for an MRI which I got a few days later. A week after the MRI results were in I saw the gyn again. His diagnosis: ovarian cancer, possibly early, stage two. His recommendation: get an appt with a gyn-oncologist. Yesterday I saw Dr. Hoogerland, who also gave me a vaginal and rectal exam and came to the same conclusion. I’m scheduled for tumor removal surgery July 6th, and then will undergo chemo about 3 weeks afterwards. If this cancer is in fact stage 2, if we caught it before it got to stage 3, I consider myself very, very lucky. As my oncologist friend at Stanford said, I dodged a bullet. Of course, we won’t know anything until the surgery but I’m betting on a positive outcome (stage 2). What I want to emphasize, as my friend Sue Spaight says: Know Your Lumps. If something feels odd, go to your doctor. Most signs for ovarian cancer are non-specific, eg, bloating, limited appetite, gas. The other important point I want to share with you is the importance of having your doctor or gyn give you both a vaginal and rectal exam annually. If I had had both previously, chances are the cancer would have been detected much earlier. Remember, you know your body better than anyone. Pay attention to even the most minute signs, and never, ever feel like you’re asking too much of your doctor if you think something’s wrong.
Get Involved. We Need to Support the People Who Support Us.
Anne has been incredibly strong and good-humored; if you know Anne personally, that won’t surprise you. But her surgery today, and the weeks that follow, are going to be difficult. Your support will mean so much. If you’re someone who pitches in to help regularly, bless you. And if you are someone who’s been sitting on the sidelines, thinking about getting more involved, I urge you to please take action now.
You may not realize how much Sprecher does in our community. They have supported, among many other causes, #SaveTeecycle, Gilda’s Club of Southeastern Wisconsin, Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Burn Camp for Injured Youth. They are also supporting the American Liver Foundation’s 2011 Liver Walk, and I am asking you to please help me support Team Sprecher, and Anne Sprecher, this month.
Support Team Sprecher! There are several ways you can participate.
The first is to sign up to walk with Team Sprecher on July 30 at the Milwaukee lakefront. Your individual fundraising goal will be a modest $150, or whatever you want it to be.
The second, if you can’t walk that day, is to make a donation through Team Sprecher here.
Soon, we hope to have some great T-shirts for you to buy and other ways to get involved. But for now, please join the team and make a donation. Team Sprecher’s goal is $5,000. Let’s put a big smile on Anne’s face and blow that goal out of the water!!!
If you can’t donate cash, but have an item you could donate for a Twitter auction, that works, too!
I’m also trying to organize a nice little surprise for Anne, so please drop me an email through this blog or drop your email addy in the comments if you want to help.
Please, everyone, let’s show how much we care. Thanks so much for your support. Drop your comments, thoughts, questions, ideas below.
Peace and love. -Spaight