Life doesn’t always go as planned. For my husband Patrick and me, this has never been more true. What started as trying to get pregnant left us with two surgeries and the dream of ever getting pregnant diminished. My name is Caitlin Lyons and I was 26 when I was diagnosed with a rare form of Ovarian Cancer called Serous Borderline Ovarian Tumors – Stage 3B.

After over a year of trying and tests coming back normal, we decided to give Clomid, a hormone inducer, a shot to get pregnant. Two rounds of Clomid later, I was having terrible pains that turned out to be four cysts on my ovaries. While my OB/GYN wasn’t super concerned, she wanted to keep an eye on them with ultrasounds every month. By September, I was down to two persistent cysts that were getting bigger. My doctor explained to us that she believed what I was dealing with was a bad case of Endometriosis. She laid out our options, and we decided surgery was the best choice to clear it up, make the pain go away, and hopefully increase our chances of getting pregnant naturally. Before we could schedule it though, she had to test my CA125 hormone, a marker for inflammation and cancer.

The Thursday after my appointment, I finally got the call that my CA125 test came back at 160 U/mL, almost 5 times the average level is 0-35 U/mL, too high to perform the surgery. Therefore, I was referred to a gynecologic oncologist at Northside Atlanta. In the span of just a few days, surgery went from optional to absolutely necessary.

We scheduled the surgery for October 14th. After the oncologist confirmed the OB/GYN’s findings, we walked out of the office scared and overwhelmed, but felt this would get us on the right path to not only heal my pain, but to also start our family.

When I woke up from surgery, Patrick told me things didn’t exactly go as planned. The cysts turned out to be Serous Borderline Ovarian Tumors. My right ovary was fully encased in a tumor and had to be removed. They were able to remove just the tumor from my left ovary, but it still remained covered in disease, along with all of my other reproductive organs. He also found countless smaller tumors sitting on top of my abdomen. He removed many of them, but there were too many and too small for him to be able to remove all of them. Needless to say, we were both in shock and nervous about what was to come next.

During my check-up a week later, we got the news we were the most afraid of – I was going to have to get a full hysterectomy in order to clear the remaining tumors and to stop the disease from spreading throughout my body. We were heart broken that at 26, I had cancer and our dream of getting pregnant was about to be gone forever.

On February 10, 2020, at 27 years old, I had my surgery – a full hysterectomy and they removed as many of the tumors as possible.  I am now on a hormone therapy treatment called Letrozole for a year and I get my CA125 drawn every 6 weeks. After two tests, my numbers have dropped from 160 to 10 U/mL.       During COVID-19, I was rushed to the hospital with what the doctors believed was a pelvic abscess that was at the beginning stages of turning sepsis. With pain killers and high doses of antibiotics, the abscess cleared up.  Dealing with this and being in the hospital during COVID was the scariest night of my life.

While we grieved the dream of having our own children, we also look forward to me being pain free and dreaming about other ways we could grow our family. Throwing out my prenatal vitamins and pregnancy tests was one of the hardest, but most healing things I’ve done. It helped me process my new life and accept that our future has changed.

Patrick and I are now Cancer Free and have a different outlook on life. We also have the opportunity to look forward to what is to come: bringing a baby into our family through adoption! We are so excited to open our arms and hearts to the journey of adoption! However, we can’t do it alone. The average cost of adoption can be upwards of $40,000. Your donation will go directly towards any fees and bills that we acquire as we go through the adoption process. Anything you give to help us bring home our Little Lyons Cub is appreciated more than we can convey!

Please join all of us and Thomas Richards Charity in contributing to this rewarding cause; 100% goes to help with an adoption for the Lyons Family. From the bottom of our hearts and everything we have, thank you so much for all of your support! Our love always, Caitlin and Patrick Lyons

Thomas Richards Charity is a 501(c)3 non-profit charity, an exempt organization “helping those in need in our community” as described in Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Please contact us if you have any questionsTim CiottiPresident TRCThomas Richards Charity (FB)