This is a story about a young Stow woman turning a negative into a positive.
In February, 33-year-old wife and mother of two Julie Nawrocky Reis was working out and felt something in her abdomen that "just felt wrong."
A few visits to the doctor later and experts said Reis had a large 16-inch by 18-centimeter tumor on her ovary. She had surgery to remove the stage 1B cancerous tumor about two weeks after she went to the doctor all because she knew something just didn't feel right.
"It's a good thing I went," said Reis, who is now cancer free after surgery and six rounds of chemotherapy. "It sucks overall but, cancer doesn't have to be a death sentence anymore ... but early detection is key. The problem is it isn't easy to detect the warning signs."
Take a look at a list of possible symptoms and signs including:
- Pelvic and/or abdominal swelling, bloating and/or feeling of fullness
- Ongoing unusual fatigue
- Menstrual changes
- Pain during sex
Because the signs are so hard to recognize most of the time, Reis said she is vowing to turn her negative situation into a positive by bringing awareness to the community about ovarian cancer.
Reis will be out in Stow Saturday — going door-to-door and stopping at places like grocery stores — handing out cards about the silent symptoms and asking residents to tie a teal ribbon to something on their property to show their support for finding a cure.
The effort is part of a national initiative called Turn the Towns Teal.
"I just wanted something good to come out of all this in addition to my recovery," Reis said about her involvement in Turn the Towns Teal. "I blog and I really get a lot from sharing with people what my experience was. Maybe I can help save a life."
Interesting in helping turn Stow teal? Email Julie Nawrocky Reis to request a ribbon and a symptom card.
The ribbons will remain up for the month of September — ovarian cancer month.