By Dylan Deprey
Whenever Chante Caldwell told somebody she was battling Cancer, they usually assumed it was Breast Cancer. Once she acknowledged that she was actually battling Ovarian Cancer, they would follow up with questions because they had no idea about it.
In 2010, she felt the symptoms: bloating, lack of appetite, weight loss, fatigue. She did what many women did, and played them off as menstrual and digestive issues. In 2012, she was misdiagnosed and the symptoms continued.
Since being diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in 2014, she has endured three surgeries, two separate rounds of IV chemo and has been currently taking medicine to keep tumors at bay.
“It is not as simple as checking for a lump,” Caldwell said. “It would have made a big difference if I got a CT scan in 2010, or 2011, when I was complaining about these things. It wouldn’t have changed the outcome, but it would have changed the way the treatment went and the amount of surgeries and the pain I went through.”
While participating in Ovarian Cancer Awareness walks during her treatment, she always noticed that there was nobody from her community there. She wanted to share her story and inform the women in her community. So, she had her cousin reach out on Facebook.
She eventually found a partner, ShaLeatha Walls.
Walls’ organization, Teal Talc, was born in 2017 after her mother lost a yearlong battle to Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer. The organization reaches out to women in the community to warn them about the dangers of using talcum based baby powders on their babies and genital region, along with spreading Ovarian Cancer awareness.
According to the American Cancer Society, studies in lab and in person have been mixed, showing slight signs of increase as well as no increase. Although studies have not confirmed the connection, there have been many high paying lawsuits involving talcum powder companies regarding asbestos-based and asbestos-free talcum powder.
In July 2018, Johnson and Johnson was ordered to payout $4.69 Billion to 22 women in Missouri, with more lawsuits pending in State and Federal court, according to a report in the Washington Post. Walls’ mother had used talcum powder since she was 14-years-old, and passed away from Ovarian Cancer at 68.
“It’s basically the silent killer,” Walls said. “A lot of times, we ignore these symptoms and we keep pressing on, so we don’t seek the medical treatment that we need. Before we know it, it’s too late, and that was the situation with my mom.”
Though she usually hosted an event sometime around September for Ovarian Cancer awareness month to honor her mother, she did not know if she had the time and energy, until she heard Caldwell’s story.
Caldwell and Walls have teamed up to close out Ovarian Cancer awareness month with a wave of teal for the Tealology Takeover Awareness and Education Session at Elations (4706 W. Fond du Lac Ave.) on Saturday, Sept. 29.
The event will bring community, professionals and Ovarian Cancer fighters and survivors together to talk about the facts, myths and symptoms of Ovarian Cancer, and also honor those who have passed on.
“I just want to educate, create and promote awareness among a vast age group and ethnicities because it doesn’t discriminate,” Walls said. “We hear so much about breast cancer, with the pink and ‘Save the TaTa’s,’ but we don’t think outside the bra.”
The Tealology Talk will include speakers Ola Summers from Bara Legacies to discuss life, accident and cancer insurance, Dr. Tyshunda Manning, Froedtert OBGYN and stories from survivors.
The all-teal event will host raffles and local vendors with natural health and beauty products. There will also be a dedication for those and teal balloon release and dedication for loved ones lost to Ovarian Cancer.
“This isn’t just about Ovarian Cancer, this is about teaching women about their entire body,” Walls said.