“You can do this! I’m getting through it. You can get through it!” Through her smile, laughter, and encouraging words, Karen Dias chooses to stay positive during the most difficult experiences of her life.
“Not only was she really fun to work with but she tries super hard, and that’s why she’s done so well over the past years is because she’s so motivated,” said Taylor Lawless, a clinical dietitian with Lee Health.
Karen was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014---an aggressive diagnosis that quickly spread throughout her body. “It was kind of scary. There were a couple of times where they didn’t think I was doing so well. So it was tough,” said Dias.
On her third surgery, doctors removed 198 tumors from her body. “The tumor had really taken over the whole abdominal cavity, so they had to remove 16 inches of my small intestine, half of my large intestine, I had a colostomy bag for a year and a half,” said Dias.
After surgery, Karen’s diet took a drastic change—so she started working with clinical dietitian Taylor Lawless to learn what foods her body could handle.
“I gave her a lot of recommendations, and she came back two weeks later and implemented them, and everything had improved just because of the stuff that she was willing to do and the effort that she put in,” said Lawless.
Today, Karen’s diet has become less restrictive-- And while doctors say she will never be in remission from her cancer, she doesn’t let that keep her from spreading joy. “I believe having a positive outlook, even though they may give you terrible news, I think staying positive through it, there’s always hope,” she said.
Hope, support, and keeping a positive outlook can help patients through their cancer journey.