Jeanne Giarratano

"Fourteen years later, I am a healthy, active mother of 3 grown children and a very lucky grandmother of a beautiful grandson (hopefully more to follow)."

I was diagnosed with clear cell carcinoma ovarian cancer on Sept 5, 2002 at age 47. My story begins about 3 months before my diagnosis.

Ever since my mother had passed away from ovarian cancer, at age 69, I was vigilant about having my CA125 done and annual gynecological checkups. I also tried to maintain awareness and take notice of any symptoms that may have seemed abnormal.

In June, I starting experiencing a terrible taste in my mouth and irregular periods. I just didn’t feel like myself so I decided to make an appointment with my primary doctor. As a result of that appointment, I found that my CA125 was slightly elevated, so an ultrasound was ordered. While waiting for testing to be completed, my husband occupied me with playing a casino game where a frog would jump from lily pad to lily pad and I would earn points. This took my mind off things, even if it was just for a short time.

My results showed something suspicious, so I had surgery to investigate further. During the surgery, the doctors found a tumor in my ovary which required a complete hysterectomy, followed by 6 rounds of carboplatium and taxol.

Walking into the hospital day one of chemo, we spotted a toy frog in the gift shop window, and my husband purchased it to cheer me up. From that point on, this toy frog became one of my good luck charms and symbols of hope.

During chemo treatment a blood clot was discovered in my lung so I was rushed back to the hospital until it was dissolved. After all my chemo’s, I opted for staging surgery since my doctors at Yale couldn’t really determine if my cancer had spread. There was no cancer spotted during this surgery, thank God.

Fourteen years later, I am a healthy, active mother of 3 grown children and a very lucky grandmother of a beautiful grandson (hopefully more to follow). My one frog has multiplied to many, and when I support ovarian cancer through cancer walks, my team name is “Hopping for a Cure”! I am passionate about supporting CT Women of Hope because early detection is so very important!!!

 Luckily I am a success story because my cancer was treated early (my mom was watching over me) and because I had some amazing

doctors. But most of all because I have a caring, loving, and wonderful family who took great care of me. My husband never left my side during my entire illness.

I did have testing for the BRCA 1 & 2 genes and was negative for both.

If there is one positive thing that this experience has taught me, it is to be grateful for your life and never take one minute for granted.

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