Tulsa Woman Shares Her Ovarian Cancer Survival Story

Saturday, September 18th 2010, 4:34 pm
By: News On 6

By Lacie Lowry, The News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.

A Tulsa cancer support group is spreading the word about the dangers of this deadly disease and sharing survivor stories as well.

Charlotte Johnson's doctor told her she only had six weeks to live.

"I will never forget the devastation that I felt," said Johnson.

Johnson was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. A silent killer she knew nothing about.

"Knew people with breast cancer that had survived, but didn't know anybody that had ever had ovarian cancer, and especially that had survived," Johnson said. 

Through aggressive treatment and a lot of faith, Johnson's death sentence turned into a survival story. She has been cancer free for 14 years now.

"Every day's a little bit better than the day before. It just seems like the birds tweet prettier now, the sunrise, the sunset, the rainbows," Johnson said.

Johnson has been a ray of hope in "Anna's Belles," an ovarian cancer support group. Ovarian cancer affects more than 20,000 women each year and less than half of those diagnosed are cured. 

Some warning signs are bloating, stomach pain and difficulty eating.

Learn more about ovarian cancer and the warning signs

Robin Green Tilly helped raise more than $16,000 for ovarian cancer research through jewelry making parties. Today, Anna's Belles makes the same jewelry.

"The pendant is just a tangible reminder that we instinctively, intuitively know ourselves, we know our bodies and it's our right to stand up and it's also our responsibility," said Robin Green Tilly, ovarian cancer research fundraiser.

According to Cancer Treatment Centers of America, ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecological cancers.

"Stand up for yourself. It's very easy for us to just say 'oh well' and not worry and we do that as women and that's why this can be such a silent killer," Tilly said.

Ovarian cancer can affect women of any age. Some patients currently undergoing treatment are as young as 8-years-old, others are in their nineties.