I had recently left my employment to focus on graduate school studies in counseling education and focus on operating my nonprofit dance company in Wisconsin. Ironically, dance is what brought me to recognize that something in my body was not right. I felt and immense pain in my lower abdomen and I couldn’t bear the pain. On March 21st, 2023, the evening of a dance rehearsal, I was rushed to the hospital to undergo an emergency surgery. My life flipped upside down in all of 24 hours in March: I found out I had a mass the size of an orange on my ovary; 2 hours later I found out I was losing an ovary and had to think about my family lineage; and 22 hours later I was diagnosed with having ovarian cancer.
Everything was moving extremely fast, and I was not able to catch up. After learning about the type of cancer I had, and the various treatment options, I gain some hope. Yet, reality continued to settled in. I was a single black woman in Wisconsin, who was unemployed and still in graduate school trying to live out her passions. I could not afford fertility treatment or my cancer treatment, let alone afford the transportation to the fertility clinic.
To add, I had to think about my legacy for the first time. This very day, I still cry at the fact that my fertility will not be the same. I think about the privilege of having a partner and the loneliness of my current reality with not having a partner. I think about how I will finish my last year of graduate school. I think about my dance career being affected.
All while, I remained and remain hopeful that going through cryopreservation can provide me with additional hope. Team Maggie’s Dream has granted me a sense of belonging and a chance at a legacy, even if my life looks different. Overall, Team Maggie’s Dream has given me the support I needed most. I have many odds stacked against me, yet I remain full of joy and peace. As I continue to learn more about ovarian cancer, being a young cancer survivor, and advocate, I vowed to find silver linings in my journey to keep me going.
For anyone that is going through a similar experience, find joy in the new and continue to lean closest to you. My family and dance family have been my grounding as they support me in discovering my “new rebirth” at life.
- Kyra Johnson