(August 3, 2010)
It is not in Angie Bautista’s nature to seek the spotlight. Though she was married to former wrestler Dave Bautista for eight years, she preferred to remain in the background, keeping her private life – including her battle with ovarian cancer – private. However, when Angie learned that Dave was traveling the country, filming a video to raise money for ovarian cancer research, she was thrilled. She welcomed the opportunity to reach a broader audience and knew immediately that she wanted funds from the video to benefit Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance. She was informed only after the fact – after production on the video was completed – that the video is dedicated to her. Now, having gotten over the initial surprise, she is grateful to share her story with others, in hopes of spreading the message about ovarian cancer to women everywhere.
Angie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer on September 9, 2002. As is the case with many cancer survivors, she remembers the date well. Prior to diagnosis, she had begun to notice subtle symptoms she could not attribute to other factors. An avid fitness buff, she was in good health and had recently started training for a bodybuilding competition. Around that time, she began to see bruises on her body that she couldn’t remember acquiring. Her energy levels dropped dramatically, and she had a hard time keeping food down. Her instincts immediately told her that something was wrong.
Right away, Angie saw her practitioner, who attributed the changes to her fitness training. Thinking it was a nutrition issue, her practitioner suggested modifying her intake of nutrition supplements. After 2.5 months, and no change in symptoms, Angie went back for blood work and a more extensive examination. It was then that a sonogram revealed a tumor on her right ovary.
Since her initial diagnosis and ensuing treatments with both Taxol and Carboplatin, Angie has been battling ovarian cancer steadily, going in and out of remission and keeping a positive attitude. Adding to that positive attitude is her son, Oliver, her “Miracle Baby.” Oliver was born three years ago while Angie was in remission, via in vitro fertilization.
“If there is one thing I could say to women about ovarian cancer, it is this: Cancer doesn’t look like one thing,” says Angie. She credits her love of fitness and bodybuilding with alerting her that something was wrong. “People think that people with cancer look a certain way, but cancer can affect someone who appears perfectly physically fit.”
“I’ve been blessed with a terrific support system,” Angie says. “Dave and I have a great relationship – I couldn’t have gotten this far without him.”
Bautista vs. Cancer was two years in the making and was put together primarily by Dave and his good friend, former Head of Security for World Wrestling Entertainment, Jimmy Noonan. One night as the two had dinner, Dave mentioned his idea to Noonan, who revealed his experience in the film industry, and a collaboration was born. Filming began a week later in San Francisco, and the finished product was presented to Angie in mid-2010.
“I’m proud of Dave and Jimmy for putting this together,” Angie says, “and I want for women to feel empowered about ovarian cancer. Statistics are just statistics; a positive diagnosis doesn’t mean we can’t beat ovarian cancer. It is our disease – we need to educate ourselves and listen to our instincts when we think something is wrong.”