Support Dr. Shirley Thomas and the OB/GYN of Indiana Warriors at the Teal Ribbon Ovarian Cancer Run/Walk Saturday, September 22, 2018
During a Grand Cayman vacation, Dr. Shirley Thomas relaxed on her hotel bed and placed her hands on her stomach. That’s when she felt it, a fullness and a mass. As an OB/GYN doctor, she knew immediately what it was.
“I went to the bathroom, but the fullness didn’t go away. It was a busy time in my life, I had several things I had to get through before I could get it checked out. I was also hoping I was wrong. I waited a month to get it scanned and it kept growing. I looked 20 weeks pregnant.”
On Monday, May 22, 2015, Dr. Thomas had a staff member scan her. The technician saw a mass that looked cancerous. On that Wednesday, Dr. Thomas had a CT Scan and a CA 125 (A test for ovarian cancer). The scan showed something bad on her right ovary. By Friday, Dr. Thomas was in surgery.
“My ovaries, uterus, cervix, tubes, 22 lymph nodes and the fatty apron on my stomach were all removed. I was only 59. They took frozen section and did a biopsy. It was clear-cell stage one cancer. I kept thinking I can’t start crying, I gotta start fixing,” Dr. Thomas said.
About four weeks after surgery, chemotherapy started. Dr. Thomas went through six rounds of chemotherapy. “It made me so tired. I was exhausted all the time,” Dr. Thomas said. “I started losing my hair after the first round of chemo. I started wearing a wig and only my husband and sister saw me without a wig. I didn’t want my parents to see it because I thought it would break their hearts.”
For Dr. Thomas, wigs, including a hot pink one, were the best option for her. “I tried scarves, but it made people very uncomfortable and I didn’t want to scare my patients,” Dr. Thomas said.
OB/GYN of Indiana had been involved in the Ovar’coming Walk for several years, but Dr. Thomas hadn’t participated. “After I was diagnosed I knew I needed to be a part of this. I signed up when I was still undergoing chemotherapy.”
Unfortunately in 2015, Dr. Thomas was too ill to participate in the walk. “I was really dissapointed, but I couldn’t do it,” Dr. Thomas said. “However, in 2016 I came in second place in raising the most funds and in 2017 I placed first in fundraising for the walk.”
This year’s Teal Ribbon Ovarian Cancer Run/Walk is Saturday, September 22, 2018. The 1 mile walk or 5K walk/run events begin at 8 am at Downtown City Market. The walk is to raise funds, create awareness and support ovarian cancer survivors and caregivers.
As a survivor and fierce competitor, Dr. Thomas is determined to be the top fundraiser in the 2018 walk. “I would love to raise $10,000 for the walk, that would be fabulous. I’d love to have more participants supporting this cause as well. My family, friends and coworkers annually support me by walking with me. We are the OB/GYN Warriors.”
According to Dr. Thomas, with ovarian cancer there are very few symptoms. “I only had the mass. There’s typically no pain and not really any symptoms. It’s so important for women to get yearly check-ups, especially as they get older, to keep an eye out for a mass or changes in your body,” Dr. Thomas said.
To support Dr. Thomas and raise awareness for Ovarian Cancer, click here. See link for team page or search for OBGYN of Indiana Warriors/Shirley Thomas.