As a mass communications major, Chasidi, 23, was on the royal homecoming court, a member of the Student Government Association, homecoming concert host, extremely involved on campus and a “party animal.”
But all of that unexpectedly changed.
She started having strong pains throughout her body. They became unbearable so she went to the doctor to see what was going on. She was instantly sent to the ER to get a CT scan that revealed she had a large spot close to her ovaries and uterus.
Chasidi was then referred to another doctor who instantly knew something was wrong and recommended her to have surgery to remove the spot. When she woke up from the operation, a family member told her she had ovarian cancer.
“It was devastating. The doctor knew it was cancer, but I honestly didn’t think it was. I never prepared myself for if it was,” Chasidi said.
She was just one of almost 22,000 women in the United States diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011. Ovarian cancer is an abnormal growth that begins in a woman’s ovaries and can spread. It’s the ninth most common cancer among females, but the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths.
The specific cause of ovarian cancer hasn’t been pin-pointed but theories include: damage from the release of an egg and “increased hormone levels before and during ovulation,” according to ovariancancer.org.
Chasidi began chemotherapy immediately. The treatments soon became too much for her, causing the student to withdraw from classes. Unfortunately, not everyone understood. Because she was well into the semester, some of her professors almost failed her. But she took her case up with the president of the university, who allowed her to withdraw without repercussion.
The support continued when she returned home to her family and close ones who embraced her with love.
“I held on to my family and my boyfriend at the time. I saw my family’s face when I was diagnosed and I knew I never wanted to put them through that again,” said Chasidi. “I wanted to keep them and myself happy. I just stayed close to my family and friends. My lifestyle definitely slowed down.”
While her partying lifestyle changed, her positive mentality stayed strong.
“I just kept being faithful to God through it all. It was really Him that kept me going. I stayed true to my faith and believed everything would be okay. So, for sure, number one, without a doubt, it was Him. I also kept myself busy. I volunteered with Indiana Black Expo and ended up getting an internship,” she stated.
While it was an extremely tough period in her life, and some days were better than others, she knew God had a plan for her. In early 2012, Chasidi found out she was cancer-free.
Chasidi credits God, her supportive family and friends, as well as her positive attitude as the reasons she can now say she’s a cancer survivor.
“When I found out I didn’t have cancer, it was a very, very great feeling. I was kind of emotional. I was so happy and grateful,” Chasidi said. “It was a wake up call for me to take life more seriously. Sometimes I fall short, but I think I’ve done a little bit better. I actually went to the doctor today for a check-up and there were no traces!”
She understands everything has a purpose and knew complaining would only make her situation worse.
Throughout her experience, she never asked “why me?” but instead works to help other women who have been diagnosed, and even those who haven’t. While she says she could improve on being an advocate, she plans to continue informing women when she returns to school this fall.
“If anyone were to ask me about the situation, by all means I speak on it. I spoke at my school at a women’s conference educating women with resources and statistics. I’m also working with a woman at my school telling women about ovarian cancer,” she said.
She continues to humbly share her story whether it is on a platform or simply in conversation. Whatever the setting, she wants all cancer patients to know, “It’s not a death intent. Know that you have cancer, it doesn’t have you. Even if you can’t see the good day coming, just know God is putting you through for a reason, whatever the reason is. I want them to be able be positive throughout the situation.”