Earlier this year, Dorine Olive was diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. At the age of 55, she was diagnosed with two different types of ovarian cancer, one type per ovary. Her diagnosis would have come much later, had it not been for twisted lunge and bow pose during her yoga exercises.
Dorine initially overlooked the slight pelvic pressure she was experiencing during yoga class because of an annual gynecologic exam earlier in the year that suggested she was in good health. After months of recognizing this odd sensation while in the twisted lunge and bow pose, Dorine made another GYN visit. A pelvic ultrasound discovered a five-inch mass, along with a white cloud-like area next to it.
A CA 125 test, where levels of the protein cancer antigen 125 are checked in blood work for early signs of ovarian cancer, took place the next day. Dorine’s results were within normal range. A total hysterectomy was scheduled to remove her ovaries in response to the ultrasound, and a date for the procedure was set for Aug. 23.
The hysterectomy found the original mass to be benign, but caught cancer next to it. Two types of cancer were found; endometrioid in one ovary and clear-cell in the other, and the malignancy had spread to her pelvic wall. Dorine remembers feeling shocked, especially after her CA 125 test results. Sept. 10 was the start of Dorine’s journey with chemotherapy, receiving carboplatin and Taxol. Taxol (paclitaxel) was later switched to Taxotere (docetaxel) to help minimize the neuropathy she was experiencing.
One way that Dorine continues to overcome her hurdles with cancer is by sharing her journey on social media. She’s built her posts to become more than weekly updates. “I wanted to turn this into helping women understand and identify how to be in touch with their body,” she said. “I want people to learn ways they can helps others going through cancer, remove any stigmas, and have people ask me questions.” She’s found that her posts have encouraged people to pursue a reason for the symptoms they’ve been ignoring – One reader even found out that he had prostate cancer after following the advice to listen to his body.
She also had a unique process of hair-loss to chemo with a hair-cutting ceremony and getting a wig made out of her own hair. With a henna design symbolizing supportive friends, growth, and family outlined on a newly bald head, Dorine dawned her new look while doing sunrise yoga on a local Florida beach, capturing photos to share with her community of support.
Dorine hopes to ring the bell (signaling the end of active treatment) while also ringing in the New Year, with her potential last treatment scheduled for Dec.31, 2019. In the meantime, she will continue her weekly Saturday morning Facebook posts and the yoga routine that helped her detect ovarian cancer at a relatively early stage.
Ovarian cancer is the seventh most common cancer among women, and is commonly diagnosed in its later stages. Read through the resources provided by FWC to learn the risk factors and symptoms of various gynecologic cancers, including ovarian.