No plans to back down
But she wants to bring attention to “the most common cause of female cancer death”
Article & image by Valerie MacDonald
Not only is former local riding MP Kim Rudd working on behalf of Federal Liberal candidate Alison Lester and continuing in her consulting/moderator roles stemming from her political career, but she is also dealing with all that comes with having ovarian cancer.
Diagnosed just before the pandemic began last March, surgery and treatment have not put this hard-to-diagnose cancer into remission, Rudd told the News Now Network during an interview on her sunny front porch not far from Lake Ontario in Cobourg.
“It’s chronic….symptoms will come and go,” Rudd said. At the moment, she is continuing on a maintenance regime while experts determine if she is eligible for a special trial that could possibly put the disease into remission.
Ovarian Cancer Canada calls the disease the “most common cause of female cancer death” and an associated foundation calls it “silent but deadly”.
A big part of the problem is the symptoms are common, vary greatly, and “there is absolutely no test” for it, Rudd explained.
Some of those symptoms include heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, being tired, frequent urination, discomfort in the pelvic area, changes in weight and even in taste.
“It’s so hard to diagnose” because it can be some of these, or none, or point to all kinds of other conditions, she said.
Rudd said she was in Stage 3 before she was diagnosed just over a year ago and underwent eight hours of surgery after a mass was discovered despite having had yearly Pap tests that screen for cervical cancer and are recommended for women.
The Mayo Clinic says ovarian cancer starts in the ovaries and “often goes undetected until it has spread within the pelvis and abdomen…and at this late stage…is more difficult to treat.”
Unlike breast cancer, ovarian cancer doesn’t have a high profile.
Rudd said she became “a champion” for Ovarian Cancer Canada’s, Lady Balls Marketing Campaign (https://ovariancanada.org/Got-ladyballs/Media-centre/Success-of-the-campaign )in 2019 when the campaign was presented to the all-party finance committee she sat on in Ottawa. They were funded $10-million over five years, and Saskatchewan added $1-million more.
“Little did I know that eight months later I would find out I have ovarian cancer,” Rudd said of the ironic turn of events.
After the surgery, symptoms returned and she is now on a chemo regimen of “standard care” taking what are referred to as “Red Devils” monthly at Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH).
On the maintenance program, her palms are slightly reddish but she isn’t bald; her is head covered with white curls. But when going out she prefers to wear a wig.
Rudd said she is also eating a different diet and says “I feel good. I feel this is working.”
In early June, Rudd said the results of the trial test referred to as “5-5-5” at Princess Margaret will determine if she is a fit for the trial program.
She stressed there is ongoing research and progress in the treatment of this disease as with others.
She is very positive and such an attitude is considered an important part of fighting any medical disease. Rudd is also supported very strongly by family and friends, praising the care of doctors and other professionals at the hospitals where she is being treated which have included the local hospital and Lakeridge Health Oshawa.
“There is no other option,” Rudd said, adding that she is an “optimistic realist.”
She says she is “at peace” – not giving up the fight – but appreciative she and her husband, Tom, have brought up two wonderful children who are adults and have given them four wonderful grandchildren who are the “light of my life.”
Rudd wants women to be aware of the disease and has gone public to shed light on ovarian cancer and to help others.
She summarizes her situation in that practical way of hers: “I’ll be in and out of treatment for the rest of my life….and I intend to make that a long time.”