Despite her continuing fight against stage 4 high-grade serous ovarian cancer, Diana Chow describes herself as a woman with options. She attributes that positive outlook to her MD Anderson care team, led by Kathleen Schmeler, M.D., associate professor in Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine.
“Thank God for MD Anderson,” says Diana. “Otherwise, I’m certain that right now I wouldn’t be here.”
It all began Dec. 16, 2010, a day that did not go as Diana had planned. Good intentions of helping her sister move furniture led to a pulled abdominal muscle, a trip to the emergency room and a CAT scan that revealed a much more serious concern.
Ironically, it was a year to the day since Diana had lost her husband to complications from diabetes.
“It was a hard time for me,” she says.
From the emergency room, Diana went to MD Anderson, where further tests showed not one but many tumors — on her liver, intestine, spine and elsewhere.
“I was surprised at how much the cancer had spread, but Dr. Schmeler gave me options from the very beginning,” says Diana.
Diana, whose family has a history of cancer, has tested positive for the BRCA1 gene. That knowledge, she says, is a powerful prevention tool for her two grown daughters.
“I want my children to be proactive with this test so they can prevent getting stage 4 cancer,” says Diana.
MD Anderson, she says, is synonymous with hope.“There’s always hope, and you’re never out of options,” says Diana. “That’s what keeps me going.”