Wendy Griffith, diagnosed at 62

After my retirement in 2015, I spent the next year sailing from my home in Connecticut to the Bahamas and British Virgin Islands. Retirement life was good to me, and I was feeling really great. I had lots of energy, took many new adventures with my 3-year-old grandson, trained my puppy to become a therapy dog, and looked forward to more sailing and travel.

In the summer of 2019, I began to feel tired. I also had a constant need to urinate and bouts of constipation. However, being 62, I thought some of these symptoms were just normal for my age. The constipation worsened as we planned for a two-week trip that fall. I did not contact my doctor, but rather, let the excitement of our upcoming trip distract and deter me. We were on the trip when I started to feel constant pain in my upper abdomen, experienced breathing problems, and continued constipation.

“…I should have listened to my body. It was giving me many signals. I convinced myself that the changes I was feeling had to do with my age.”

Upon returning home, I contacted my primary care doctor. She ordered an ultrasound of my upper GI, which came back negative. I am grateful for my relationship with my doctor and am lucky that she is a good listener who relentlessly pursues answers. She immediately ordered a CT scan of my lower GI, which came back positive for nodules in my upper abdomen and lower peritoneal. On December 31, after numerous tests, I was diagnosed with High Grade Serous Carcinoma, which after surgery, was revised to High Grade Stage 3C Serous Tubal Carcinoma.

I knew something wasn’t normal that summer, and I should have listened to my body. It was giving me many signals. I convinced myself that the changes I was feeling had to do with my age. I would encourage others to never assume. Don’t put off calling your doctor if you are experiencing health changes. Discuss your concerns with your friends or family, and listen to their advice when they encourage you to seek medical advice.

Symptoms

  • tired
  • constant need to urinate
  • constipation