“My OB/GYN called me from her cell phone and left me a message saying that she needed to see me first thing Monday morning, and, of course, I got really upset because I knew something was wrong,” Hyche said. “He (my husband) called the number that was on caller ID, which was my OB/GYN’s cell phone number, and said, ‘OK, my wife’s really upset. What’s going on?’ and she just kept saying, ‘I can’t tell you over the phone. I will not tell you over the phone.’ I was crying, and I just told him to ask her if it was something bad, and she finally said yes, it was bad news.”
That Monday, almost a year ago to the day, Hyche’s gynecologist told her that she had ovarian cancer in not just one but both of her ovaries. Hyche said that she had been having lower abdominal pain, bladder infections and fatigue. She went to her doctor’s office where they ran numerous tests on her ovaries.
“They did some tests to look at my ovaries; I had about three to six tests done in one day where they were trying to find my left ovary and see what was going on. They did see that I had cysts on my ovaries, but that’s what they thought they were, just cysts,” Hyche said. “They never could see the left ovary. ... I went in for the hysterectomy on Sept. 4, 2012, and the reason why they could never see the left ovary was because I had a grapefruit-sized cyst on my left ovary and one that was a little smaller on the right ovary. But, still, they thought they were just cysts when they were taken out.”
Hyche’s husband, Thomas Hyche, who is the pastor at Meek Baptist Church, said they were all in shock when they heard the news.
“She had the symptoms, but we didn’t have a clue that she had it,” Thomas said. “She had it in both ovaries, and that’s rare for a 43-year-old. We’ve fought it and as far as we know, she’s cancer-free now. It’s just heightened her awareness for friends, family and everybody. She just wants to get the word out.”
September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of ovarian cancer awareness, Hyche and other supporters will be wearing teal today and hope that people will stop and ask, “Why are you wearing teal?” Hyche, who has been a sales associate at Carol’s Boutique in the Jasper Mall for the past 20 years, Carol’s owner Susie Akins and her daughter have purchased teal scarves to wear and will be handing out cards with information about ovarian cancer to anyone interested.
According to a news release by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, “Every year, more than 20,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, which is the fifth leading cause of cancer death for women and accounts for more than 14,000 deaths a year.”
Some of the symptoms of ovarian cancer are a swollen or bloated abdomen or increased girth, persistent pressure or pain in the abdomen or pelvis, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, urinary concerns and change in bowel habits with constipation and/or diarrhea. There is no definitive test to find whether or not a woman may have ovarian cancer, but Hyche says there are other ways to check your body.
“We just want to get the word out about the symptoms. A lot of women think that the Pap smear test will test for ovarian cancer, but it does not. I’ve been questioned a lot, ‘Well, how do you find out?’” Hyche said. “There is a blood test called a CA-125, it is elevated in some women but in some women it is not. I had it for several years, and mine was never elevated. It’s really just knowing your body, really giving your doctor the symptoms and even keeping a journal if you’re not getting answers.”
Hyche had six “really bad” rounds of chemotherapy, with one of those rounds being pumped directly into her abdomen. She said every round of chemotherapy made her sick, but “that one was probably the worst.” Then, around the first part of June this year, Hyche went for another scan and there was no sign of cancer. “It’s a miracle,” Hyche said happily. She has recently returned to work at the boutique within the past two to three weeks after being off for almost a year.
During times when she would feel “at her worst,” Hyche said their 10-year-old daughter, Annelise, and her friends would always help to cheer her up. When asked how she continued to stay motivated throughout her long battle with ovarian cancer, Hyche said, “It’s been pretty hard, but I’ve gotten lots of encouragement. We had a lot of church members and different people who brought meals to us, sent cards and gave us money because they knew I was not working. ... We are just so blessed. People are good, and they want to help. I am thankful to all of them, and I am thankful to be here.”