During the month of September, AdventHealth encourages the community to learn more about gynecologic cancer and discover ways to support the women around us who are affected by this disease through an initiative called Teal Takeover.
In 2020 alone, it’s estimated that over 113,000 new cases will be diagnosed with gynecologic cancer in the US. By participating in Teal Takeover, you can make a difference for women like Dorine Olive who received this life-threatening diagnosis.
Dorine’s Goal to Educate Others
Maitland, Florida, resident Dorine Olive has become a powerful advocate for ovarian cancer education. Her advocacy began when she was diagnosed with cancer last year.
Dorine graduated from high school in Racine, Wisconsin and she was raised in a Navy family, having lived in Azores, Portugal, Pensacola, Florida, Panama and California.
After the ovarian cancer experiences Dorine has endured, her purpose and mission have become clear. She wants to educate women on:
- The signs to look for
- What expectations to have with their doctor and what happens during the chemo process
- The understanding that their annual exam has nothing to do with detecting ovarian cancer
Dorine hopes to help others who are going through chemotherapy and encourage people to listen to their bodies.
“I believe women need to be educated to ask for the CA-125 test because an annual Pap smear won’t detect ovarian cancer. However, in my case, the CA-125 test came back normal, which gave me a false sense of security that I did not have ovarian cancer,” Dorine explained. “It was during surgery/laparoscopic hysterectomy that the doctor discovered cancer in both ovaries — and each ovary had a different cancer,” she added.
Discovering Her Ovarian Cancer
Dorine’s journey began August 13, 2019, when a non-cancerous mass was detected that resulted in having a hysterectomy just a few days later. During that surgery her doctor found the cancers — called endometrioid and clear cell — in each ovary and in the pelvic wall. She was diagnosed with stage II ovarian cancer.
“It all started with an ever so slight increase in my abdomen that I noticed while doing yoga,” Dorine said. “But it was nothing painful or alarming and was ever so slight. After a few months passed, would question myself, ‘I am certain that I never felt this before?’”
Then it all started; September 10 was her first chemo treatment after her diagnosis. Dorine started doing weekly updates on Facebook, helping people to not only understand her journey and how she’s been impacted by cancer and the effects of chemo, but to also bring awareness to ovarian cancer.
“I felt I needed to have some sort of purpose because this has been the most physically and emotionally painful thing I've ever done,” Dorine said. “Through social media, I’ve had
hundreds of people reach out to me and let me know that my weekly updates have encouraged them to go to the doctor for various things that they had been ignoring. One person even found out they had prostate cancer.”
Finding Strength and Inspiration
When Dorine lost her hair, she had a hair cutting ceremony and had a wig made out of her hair. “My first reveal to the world of my hairless head was while I was doing some yoga during sunrise on the beach,” Dorine explained. “I also had a beautiful Henna art design on my head when I had no hair that symbolized my journey.”
Dorine has found strength and inspiration in her love of living life, experiencing and creating memories with her loved ones. She wants to see her son Derek live a happy fulfilling life, graduate from UCF and pursue his dreams. Her ultimate goal is to travel more with her partner Chuck Fletcher, who cared for her during her journey.
Prior to her diagnosis she did yoga five times a week—and now while she’s in recovery she’s slowly getting back into it. She traveled often and was always seeking outdoor activities to participate in.
Dorine loves to cook, garden and raise chickens. She was active for 10 years in her son’s Boy Scout troop. Derek became an Eagle Scout at age 14. She helped coordinate numerous events including the annual Golden Eagle Dinner fundraiser.
Over the years, Dorine has collected blankets, jackets and hats for the homeless, as well as yoga clothes for abused women who are building confidence to make it on their own.
Dorine and her partner, Chuck Fletcher, met on an online dating site more than seven years ago. Chuck has three grown kids, Kyle, Tyler and Rachel, who live in Orlando. He is President of Modern Construction Group and has been for over 30 years.
Both Chuck and Dorine have Harley-Davidson motorcycles that they enjoy riding. Every year, they create fun opportunities to gather with friends, such as scalloping in Steinhatchee, tubing down rivers and more. They also enjoy their season tickets to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, where they attend Broadway shows.
Road to Recovery
Dorine started spending much of her time watching Netflix when she was diagnosed with cancer because she rarely felt well enough to go out and it was important to minimize time in public due to a low-functioning immune system. She looks forward to becoming active in the community again.
Dorine is incredibly thankful to have known her gynecologic oncologist, Dr. Robert Holloway, for over 21 years. The two have been longtime friends and continue to work together to monitor Dorine’s health.
While most people were ringing in the New Year on December 31, 2019, Dorine celebrated her last chemotherapy treatment with numerous friends and neighbors to “ring” out her last treatment. The Church of the Good Sheppard, around the corner from her home, happens to be home to a huge bell in the parking lot—making for a perfect way to end 2019 and welcome 2020.
At AdventHealth Orlando, a nationally ranked hospital for women's care by U.S. News & World Report, we’re passionate about bringing positivity and hope to our cancer patients.
As part of one of the leading health care systems in the Southeast, our Gynecologic Oncology Program is at the forefront of discovery and innovation through a rich portfolio of clinical trials, large-scale clinical outcomes, research protocols and innovation — helping improve care for women around the world.
To learn more about Teal Takeover and ways you can get involved to support women like Dorine, click here.