Sixth treatment = A technical knock out

When Carla Laster went into the ring to fight ovarian cancer, she made up her mind it was going to be a Total Knock Out.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes,

She wore a big smile on her face and a pair of pink boxing gloves on her hands. Carla Laster had just finished her last round of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. And she felt like she’d won the fight.

“My husband said when we started this that the sixth treatment was going to be a technical knock out (TKO) and that’s what we made it,” said Laster, who works as an assistant coordinator in championships for the NCAA. So for her last treatment she fulfilled the challenge – wearing a pair of boxing gloves when she finished her chemotherapy at IU Health Simon Cancer Center. A TKO is called when a referee counts to 10 over a fallen boxer. The fight is over.

Laster has been married to her husband Robert for 22 years. Their blended family includes seven adult children, and 10 grandchildren.

“That’s my thing, that’s what I had to fight for. I love my family,” said Laster. On June 24 she was admitted to the hospital for surgery to remove a 22-centimeter growth in her pelvis. During surgery cancer was discovered on her left ovary. In addition to removing the mass, and lymph nodes, doctors also removed her appendix that showed signs of discoloration and deformity. She started chemotherapy on August 22. She is under the care of IU Health obstetrics and gynecologist Dr. Sharon Robinson.

“It’s odd how things change so quickly. Last year I made chemo care gift bags for patients being treated for breast cancer. This year, when I learned I had ovarian cancer, I made gift bags for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month,” said Laster, 53.

Walking away from IU Health Simon Cancer Center was a relief for Laster and also offered some hope.

“I’m looking forward to spending the holidays with my family,” she said. “Before I was diagnosed we booked a cruise for 14 people. I’m ready to go and enjoy every minute.”