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My journey in surviving ovarian cancer has been a difficult one, and also rewarding. I have met many wonderful people, learned a lot about myself, and have a deeper appreciation for life. Follow me on Twitter @KarenIngalls1, www.facebook.com/Outshine-An-Ovarian-Cancer-Memoir, and you can find my book at: http://www.outshineovariancancer.com. Proceeds will be donated to funding ovarian cancer research. ALL ORIGINAL CONTENT COPYRIGHT 2011 THROUGH 2013.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

RESOLUTIONS FOR A HEALTHIER ME




I had a health challenge in 2014 that is continuing into the new year. I have learned and relearned some important lessons from the experience when my ovarian cancer came back.

Beautiful lessons:
  • I am blessed to have so much love and support from family, friends, and even strangers.
  • Only brief "pity parties" are of value; otherwise, "happy parties" are just that: HEALTHY
  • Eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meat provide the body with necessary vitamins and minerals. 
  • A "spoonful of sugar" is okay in my diet. I know this is a controversial subject, but it works for me if kept in strict moderation.
  • I learned that living for today is most important...use yesterday as a lesson and set goals and dreams for tomorrow. 

Resolutions for 2015 are to continue the ones from 2014, and add: 
  • More exercise, which is saying get back into daily walks and yoga. 
  • Spend more quality time with friends and family.
  • Learn to enjoy the little things even more...there are so many of them (birds chirping, waves on the lake, sunshine, smelling flowers, etc). Did I say "little things"? They are little only from the respect that I have too often taken them for granted.


Being a healthy person involves physical, emotional and spiritual health. My belief is that these three aspects certainly do interact with one another and therefore are interdependent. 
The healthier me relies greatly on keeping my spiritual self strong. My faith in God and living life as He would have me live it is essential. 

I wish for each of you a healthy and happy new year. You each have made my life more healthy and beautiful...your prayers, love, and support are the greatest gifts I have received all year long.

I invite you to read "Nursing from Within," which is a book by Elizabeth Scala that could also be called "Healing from Within." Next week the blog will be about how each of us can and must heal from within so our lives are happier and healthier. I borrowed ideas from Ms. Scala for this and next week's blog. www.elizabethscala.com









Friday, January 16, 2015

CERVIAL CANCER: THERE IS HOPE

WHEN SHOULD WOMEN BE SCREENED?
  1. Get Pap test no later than age 21 and be retested every 2 years ages 200 and 29.
  2. If older than 30 every 3 years if they have had 3 normal Pap tests in a row.
  3. Women 65 and older can stop Pap tests if they have had 3 normal results in a row.
                                                                            (U.S. Preventative Services Task Force)

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:
  1. Irregular menstrual periods
  2. Vaginal discharge with unpleasant odor
  3. Watery vaginal discharge
  4. Vaginal discharge tinged with blood
  5. Back or pelvic pain
  6. Painful sex                                                      (Cancer Center of America)


HUMAN PAPILLOMA VIRUS (HPV) VIRUS: 

  1. A group of more than 150 related viruses.
  2. More than 40 types can be passed from one person to the next through sexual contact
  3. High risk HPV is major cause of cervical cancer
  4. Gardasil and Cervarix are two vaccines for prevention of HPV; 
  5. It is recommended that both males and females between ages of 9 and 25 get the Gardasil or females between ages 9 and 25 get Cervarix
                                                                                   (Medicine Plus)

  HEALING FROM WITHIN:      

         "Treat your body like the temple that it is...it is the house of your soul."
        "This is the only body you will have; it cannot be traded in for a new model."
    "Have a positive attitude, practice forgiveness, meditate or pray on a daily basis, and laugh and cry every day."




Some of us who are gynecologic cancer survivors are supporting the movement to have Coca-Cola cans be in teal for the month of September 2015. We ask for your help by writing them a letter and sending it to: Voices of Teal, c/o Ashley Altman, P.O. Box 247, Lebanon, GA 30146. She will send them all together in a packet to Coca-Cola. Thank you for your help.  






In my book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, you will learn about hope and healing from within. Available at www.amazon.com. 

All proceeds go to gynecologic cancer research at Florida Hospital Cancer Institute.





Thursday, January 8, 2015

CELEBRATING A NEW YEAR

When we think of celebrating a "New Year" we usually think of resolutions, parties, the New York City ball coming down at midnight on the eve of the new year. I do find that setting resolutions helpful, but I also like to take the time to celebrate people who have contributed positivity to my life.

Resolutions are promises to ourselves to make a positive change, or to stop a negative behavior.

This tradition has a long history:
  • The ancient Babylonians promised to pay old debts and return objects.
  • The Romans started each new year by making promises to their god, Janus.
  • The "peacock vow" was made in Medieval times by knights renewing their vows to chivalry.
  • Christians pray and make resolutions at midnight church services on December 31st.
  • Judaism has a rich history of seeking forgiveness for past wrongdoings; and to forgive others.

I am celebrating some good news that came out in 2014 for ovarian cancer:
  • New drug, Lynparza (olaparib) approved by the FDA
  • Excess weight gain linked to increase risk of developing ovarian cancer
  • Experimental vaccine for ovarian cancer continues to gain momentum
                     http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/categories/ovarian_cancer

I am also celebrating and honoring those who have made our world a better place:
  • Pope Francis, a champion of social justice.
  • All the medical researchers who are finding cures and help for all or us.
  • Xiao Meili, brought attention to sexual abuse in China and the world.
  • Katherine Chastain Treat, author about environmental allergens.
  • Stuart Scott, sportscaster who taught us how "you beat cancer by how you live."
The list could go on, but the real question is: what do you and I do to make this a better world? We can only start with ourselves, and then on to our family, friends, and neighbors. Loving and positive acts could apply in any relationship, so let's resolve to be kinder, wiser, and forgiving to others.


                 "If you have not often felt the joy of doing a kind act, you have neglected much, 
                                         and most of all yourself." (A. Neilen)

Sources:
http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/12118296/stuart-scott-espn-anchor-dies-age-49


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS


                                      THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS



                                                   WHEN I WAS A CHILD:

 I remember my grandmother Edith reading us "The Night Before Christmas."

         I loved to string the cranberries and popcorn, then wrap them around the tree.

               Living in Southern California, we made snowflakes out of paper.

                    My grandfather always had "magic walnuts" for us to open.

                            Visiting Santa Claus was always special and magical...and still is.


                                                     NOW AS AN ADULT:

I do not dream of a white Christmas...
              I do dream of a peaceful Christmas.

I do not need to roast chestnuts on an open fire...
              I do pray that every stomach will be full and satisfied.

Bells do not need to ring during a one horse open sleigh...
              I do want to hear bells ring from churches around the world.

Gifts wrapped all fancy with paper and ribbons are not needed...
              Only gifts from the heart to those in need.

I want mistletoe above every door,
               A table spread of plentiful food,
                             Laughter, smiles, hugs, tears of joy,
                                            And the message of Christ's birth celebrated.


                                                      NOW AND FOREVER: 

The miraculous birth of Jesus the Christ is what is to be celebrated each December 25th. This very special birth is the true magic of Christmas.


                                          MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU

Thursday, December 11, 2014

CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR THE CHRONICALLY ILL


There are many gifts that we can give to those who are ill, especially with a chronic illness like cancer. Here are some ideas:

     1. Those with cancer rely on their caregivers for so very much...why not give him/her a gift of your time? Spend a few hours or a day and play a game, read to them, pray with them, just enjoy conversation, or listen to their fears and strengths.

     2. Give the gift of housecleaning with either your own energy, or suggest the free service http://www.cleaningforareason.org/

     3. Share food: a pot of soup, fresh fruit, bread, high protein drinks, and freshly prepared vegetables.

     4. Bring small Christmas decorations and place around the home. Fresh pine or scented calendars can be difficult for some to smell due to allergies or nausea.

   
 
    5. Handmade items: Knit or crochet a blanket, cap, or shawl; sew a "belly pillow"; or give a cross-stitched item. Here is a blanket I treasure made by my daughter & granddaughter.


     6. Offer to write their Christmas cards for them.



     7. Take them for a ride; perhaps stopping at a favorite cafe or store.

     8. Provide CD's or tapes of their favorite music.


     9. Do some grocery or Christmas shopping for them.


     10. Stuff a Christmas stocking or basket with useful, small items: unscented lotion, soap, shampoo/conditioner, chocolate, hand sanitizer, tissue, small note pad, nail polish, mouthwash, lozenges, etc.

     11. Books, magazines, Soduku, crossword puzzles, etc.

                       MANY GIFTS THAT WILL MEAN SO MUCH...

                THESE SYMBOLIZE THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS


If anyone needs a free copy of my book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, to give someone with a chronic illness, please email me for a free copy. It is my Christmas gift.


***FOR THOSE OF US WITH CANCER, LET US PRAY THAT DR. SOON SHIHONG IS FINDING THE CURE FOR ANY CANCER. SEE HIS INTERVIEW ON www.60minutes.com






Thursday, December 4, 2014

STEP TO THE LEFT


                                                        STEP LEFT

                                                               By Carmyn Sparks

"When you complain, you make yourself a victim.  
           Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it.  
                 All else is madness!"  (Tolle)

Those "crazy makers" that come in our minds when we flee, freeze or fight to avoid the pain!

               How do we leave, change or accept the situation and avoid the madness?

In the New Testament the process is called "casting." 

              Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,"  
              I Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."




When I was growing up I use to fish with a fishing pole and hook.  In order to lure a fish I had to put a sticky, slimy worm on the hook, yuck!  After a couple of years I finally graduated to a casting rod which came with a bright and slimly plastic worm. No hook to bait! 

It took years to get the hang of "casting!"  It looked so easy to throw that line in the direction I wanted it to go, but I would get my line stuck in a tree, hooked on the ground behind me, caught on my shirt or pants, tangled up between some rocks and once it snagged in my hair.
I never attained to the professional level of "casting," actually, not any where close.

The point is some things in life sound and look so easy that we feel, "Hey, that is easy!  I can do that!"



The Bible has what appears to be "simple" life advice until we actually choose to do it.  Over and over again we have been told by pastors, teachers, our friends and all other biblical inspirations, "Don't worry, God is in control."  "Let it go and give it to God." "Trust and obey." 

If Jesus tells us "do not worry," then the implication is He knows we will worry?  You can't stop something unless you started it!  Therefore, His purpose in telling us is possibly to show us when we do worry, we can stop!  He is just reminding us that we do have the choice to stop! 

Now that sounds and looks really easy, right?

Well, if you are like me, you haven't attained to the professional level of "casting."  Our line gets messed up somewhere, and sometimes when we do cast it way out and another "big one" comes along and tugs at our line, we reel back in!  We may continue to become a wiser "caster," so to speak, but most likely we will never do it perfectly!

There is no life without its "worries" and our human hearts beat so imperfectly, that at times we will fret!

In our walk on this journey called life when our line seems to be stuck or tugging us in all directions, it is time to step left.
                                          L eave
                                          E very
                                          F retful
                                          T hought



Step back from the circumstances of our fretting, worrying, being anxious, complaining, we just stop doing that and start doing this, "cast it upon Him".





Just bear in mind on this journey, there will always be bigger fish to fry!  But always remember what we catch can always be released! 







Carmyn Sparks, author of "Transformed by Tragedy," speaks and teaches in various churches and women's organizations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  Carmyn offers Biblical answers which serve to give insights and practical applications that identify and explain personal and interpersonal struggles in the Christian’s walk with God.  Because of her personal identification with other women’s sexual abuse issues, Carmyn has a viable platform from which to minister Biblical truths to women of various backgrounds and cultures. Visit the author's website at www.yoflife.com



Thank you, Carmyn for your insightful guest blog. Every time I cast out my rod and reel in a small or big lake, I will think and pray about when I need to stop fretting and step to the left!















Wednesday, November 26, 2014

GIVING THANKS DAY

                               




I have always wondered why we do not say "Happy Giving Thanks Day"...

                                             I GIVE THANKS, 

For the healing of my grandson. He will be discharged from the hospital after fighting off an aggressive bacterial infection.

                                           

For the safe delivery and health of our first great-grandchild:


For my healing from ovarian cancer...tumors are gone: 


AND I GIVE THANKS to each of you who have supported me through my website, blog, books, and being a part of my life. I praise God for these and other blessings.

www.outshineovariancancer.com