Endometrial Cancer Survivor Goes From Caregiver to Patient

Written By:Stacy Simon

In November 2012, Edie Roberts, 65, was experiencing bouts of nausea and increasing pain in her lower abdomen and pelvis. She was concerned about the symptoms, but she canceled her annual women’s wellness exam in order to care for her daughter who was undergoing breast cancer treatment 600 miles away.

“I was my daughter’s support system,” said Roberts. “I was trying at every moment to be strong for her.”

By the end of March 2013, Roberts’ pain and nausea became unbearable and she went to the doctor. She spent several days in the hospital for tests and was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. She would need surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Her reaction: shock and disbelief. While she shared the news with her husband and children, Roberts didn’t tell friends or other family members what was wrong. She now realizes she had become depressed.

In hindsight, Roberts says she should have sought counseling to deal with the physical and emotional changes her body went through as a result of her treatments, which left her feeling tired and sick. One of the worst side effects for Roberts was the loss of her hair, dreadlocks that before cancer had hung all the way down her back, but which fell out all at once after her second cycle of chemo.

“I don’t care how much your family comforts you, or how many times your husband kisses your bald head,” said Roberts. “It does not take the pain away of losing your hair. Only someone who knows what you’re going through, and looks like you, can understand the pain and emotions you are feeling, no matter how small or large those feelings are.”

Although Roberts did not make counseling a priority while she was in treatment, she did call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 several times for advice.

“I had so many unanswered questions, I didn’t even know what questions to ask,” said Roberts. “American Cancer Society can explain things and help you go through different steps. The first gentleman I talked to was helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly. He told me if it’s 3am, and I’m awake, call American Cancer Society. That meant a lot to me.”

Today, Roberts has no evidence of cancer and neither does her daughter. Roberts has gone back to school part-time to pursue a degree in sociology. And she is planning to seek out counseling at the cancer support center she learned about from calling the American Cancer Society. “Even though some of the things are over with,” said Roberts, “they’re not really over with.”

"I had so many unanswered questions, I didn't even know what questions to ask."

Edie Roberts

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