Gwen Hallquist

A Survivors Story

gwenMy name is Gwen Hallquist and I am an ovarian cancer SURVIVOR. I was diagnosed at the age of 38. I thought I had digestive problems brought on by stress, I was wrong. On Tuesday December 14, 2010 I went to The Murfreesboro Medical Clinic’s walk-in clinic with what I thought was colitis only to find out from Dr. Cote (a doctor I had never met before) that I had a 6 inch tumor on my right ovary. Dr. Cote quickly took control and made an appointment with Dr. Williams for the next day and to plan on surgery for Thursday. To make a long story short, after 4 blood transfusions and an extended hospital stay I finally went home. After several tense weeks Dr. Williams told me I had stage 1C ovarian cancer and would need chemotherapy.

I am one of the lucky ones because ovarian cancer is a silent killer and stage 1 is a rare diagnosis. Chemo wasn’t fun but thanks to the love and support of my family and friends I made it through it. My sister drove 9 hours to be with me during surgery and several times during chemo. My friends came and rubbed my back, cleaned my house and sat with me while I slept. My daughter and husband dealt with my emotions and pain and kept coming back for more. I tried to make the best of the situation though laughter (just ask my chemo sister’s and their husband’s who heard the laughter all the way in the waiting room) and staying positive. I grew up with 4 sisters on a 300 acre dairy farm and we learned how to be strong independent women; however, I had to learn to stop being ‘superwoman’ and ask for help while going through this.

While recovering from ovarian cancer I decided that I was going to run my first ½ marathon. I ran my first in October of 2011, five months after my last treatment. Since my first ½ marathon I have actually run three more and have plans for more! I am grateful that my cancer is not hereditary and now hopefully my daughter will be spared from ovarian cancer.


To My Dear Friend Gwen,

Once you have had cancer you become more aware of the people around you and that was the case when Gwen and I first met. We were both at Barnes and Noble Book Store for Story Time, me with my granddaughter and she with her daughter. I noticed her right away because she had that scarf tied around her head so I walked up to her and said “We are Sister” you and I because of cancer. I then asked what kind she had and to my surprise she said Ovarian! I was shocked because she was much younger than me and I just thought that is not fair. Here she is with her young daughter and she should not have ovarian cancer. Funny thing about cancer age does not matter. Turns out that we not only had the same type of cancer but we also shared the same doctor. From that day on Gwen and I have remained friends and she is now an active member of Standing Ovations Ovarian Cancer Foundation.

My prayer is that Gwen and I both have a long life and cancer free.