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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Meet “Nell” Tate…A Cancer Survivor

September is the month for recognition of the second deadly cancer which specializes in attacking women….Ovarian Cancer
By Sid Riley

There are two deadly, dreaded cancers which prey on our mothers, sisters, and daughters. They are “Breast Cancer” and “Ovarian Cancer”. It is important that we understand and watch for the symptoms of both. We should also support programs which provide for needed research, treatment improvements, and patient care in these fields.

September has been designated as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, while October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We felt it appropriate to include at least one local case of Ovarian Cancer while we are engaged in our Breast Cancer Awareness Series. That is why we want to introduce a wonderful lady, Mrs. “Nell” Tate of Grand Ridge.

Nell was born and raised in Holmes County. Her husband Billy worked for the Corps of Engineers, so they ended up living in Jackson County, near Lake Seminole and the Apalachicola River. Nell worked for the Florida Division of Corrections. They raised two children, a daughter and a son, and now are enjoying three grandchildren.

The Tates had enjoyed a rich, full, loving life at their mini-farm just outside of Grand Ridge, until October of 2005. Nell was 74, but was still very energetic and fully engaged in her family and her church. That all began to change when she began to experience extreme fatigue (which was not her style of life), to experience gas and stomach distress, and finally began to feel a strange bulge in her lower right side. She complained to her doctor during routine check ups, but testing and examinations found nothing.

During a trip to the mountains with a friend in October, these problems became so acute she vowed to force her doctors to find the source of her growing symptoms. This time when the doctor examined Nell the bulge was obvious. A CAT scan followed by a biopsy disclosed a cancer was present. After further testing, it was determined to be one of the most dreaded of cancers….Ovarian Cancer!

She had surgery in Tallahassee on December 23, 2005, just two days before Christmas. “I wanted to get it over with before Christmas so that the family would have caring for me behind them and they could go ahead and enjoy the holidays”, Nell said in her usual caring manner.

Then came chemotherapy, loss of hair, and six months of trips to Tallahassee to ingest more and more chemical poisons designed to kill the remnant’ s of the disease. Finally, by June of 2006 it was all over, and she was in remission!

“The people of my church and other friends were amazing. They kept bringing food and bringing food until we had no place to keep it. All of the cards, letters, and demonstrations of really caring about me and my problem, made me feel tremendously grateful. We are truly fortunate to live in such a wonderful community,” Nell exclaimed.

Since then she and Billy have made the most out of life together, sharing their common love for each other, their children, and their grandchildren. “One good thing which resulted from this terrible problem is that it pulled our family closer together. Our children had become busy living their own lives, and we were all taking life for granted. Facing my cancer has strengthened our common love,” Nell said with a glowing smile.

Then Nell disclosed some threatening news…her last blood test disclosed that the count they used to measure the threat of cancer had suddenly increased! It had jumped from a normal in the 30’s to 108! She now fears the cancer may have returned.

“If it is back, I plan to fight it with all of my energy. I want to live and enjoy my family every moment…as long as I am not a burden to them in any way”, Nell stated firmly. “The reason I wanted to have this article printed on my story is the hope that someone will read it and it will help them detect this cancer earlier. If I can help just one person it will be wonderful!”

Nell goes for another CAT scan and more testing on November 4. She has promised to call as soon as she gets the results. Please say a prayer for Nell Tate.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer:

♦ Bloated feeling

♦ Pelvic discomfort

♦ Gas, nausea, indigestion, constipation or diarrhea

♦ Back pain and fatigue

♦ Frequent and urgent urination

♦ Menstrual Disorders

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