I don't remember exactly when it started. Mom & I worked together for 15 years so I was with her almost every day for a large part of my life. From the time I was born until my parents moved to California in December of my senior year in high school, then again when I moved to California after graduating from high school. Although - I really couldn't stand California so I moved back to New Jersey with my then husband so for a couple of years there we were apart again.
Then I came to visit them for Christmas in Washington State one year and fell head over heels in love with this place. I moved here over Labor Day weekend that following year. And I was with my mom again. That was 1989. In 1995 she came to work at my current employer and she was there until ovarian cancer forced her into retirement in October, 2010.
For 15 years we were together almost every day. Vacations or when one of us was sick was about the only exception. Even weekends we would usually hang out doing something on at least one day, often both.
When she told me in July of 2009 she had started bleeding I looked at her as if she had grown a second head. I was there when she went through menopause. She hadn't had a period in over 10 years. I knew that. What in the world was she talking about? I didn't tell her anything she didn't already know and she did make an appointment to see the doctor.
That wasn't really the beginning of our nightmare, though. See - for years before that July my mother dealt with stomach issues. Gas, bloating, pain... She went to doctor appointment after doctor appointment. Two colonoscopies found nothing. Whatever other myriad of tests she had found nothing. I'm really not sure, though - not anymore - if they ever did a CA-125. Not until the bleeding started, anyway.
Looking back, I've often wondered why they weren't more aggressive in that area. She had a rough time with menopause. Heavy bleeding, a D&C (and pardon my ignorance - that's what they called it then but isn't that about the same as an ablation?) and all sorts of discomfort accompanied that time in her life. Why, when she complained of pain, bloating and such didn't they look further into the possibility it had nothing to do with her stomach and intestinal track we will never know. But they didn't.
Of course, we know now those are symptoms of ovarian cancer but it can mask itself pretty well. It sure did for her.