About Me

My photo
My journey as a writer began as a child, but my first published book came as a result of my ovarian cancer diagnosis. The title is Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir which received two awards. All proceeds are donated to gynecologic cancer research. I am a member of Rave Reviews Book Club. Follow me on Twitter @KIngallsAuthor www.facebook.com/KarenIngalls, and you can find my books at www.amazon.com. ALL ORIGINAL CONTENT COPYRIGHT 2011 THROUGH 2018.

Monday, January 22, 2018

TENACITY

Tenacity in my opinion is a part of our personality that can help us overcome many challenges. Whether it is cancer, financial concerns, family matters, or any other part of your life they each can be met with tenaciousness. In other words, be persistent, determined, and patient. 

Here are some examples of young people being tenacious that are inspirational and motivational:

         Indiana University grad, Parker Mantell overcame his stutter to deliver a powerful commencement speech noting that Beethoven's deafness, Ray Charles' blindness and Albert Einstein's dyslexia didn't stop them from achieving greatness.

         Sixth-grader, Adrianna Kenebrew, who's legally blind, doesn't let her condition stop her from excelling in gymnastics.

         Born with a rare condition that required the amputation of his right foot and left leg, two-year old, Kayden Elijah Kinckle learned to walk while repeating the phrase, "I got it."

These three stories can be found at https://www.today.com/news/25-inspirational-stories-2014-showcase-strength-love-tenacity-1D80373058 along with some others.

From Cancer Care

        Chris' daughter was the first thing to enter his mind when he was first diagnosed. While everyone has a story and a reason for being, Chris's determination to be here for his daughter is an inspiration.






From Cancer Hope Network:  
Bridget: "Life as I knew it becamse completely altered after the cancer word entered my world. It was through perseverance, inner strength...HOPE, and love topped with my faith...that I survived. https://www.cancerhopenetwork.org/get-support/stories-of-hope.html/title/bridget-breast-cancer






From Target Ovarian Cancer:

         
I'm always of the opinion that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and I wasn't going to let something silly like a cancer diagnosis change my opinion. I made the decision that I wanted as much positivity to come from my journey as possible.
https://www.targetovariancancer.org.uk/information-and.../younger-womens-stories

I have learned in my nine-year ovarian cancer journey that steadfastness, faith, hope, and knowledge were my tools for facing this challenge. In other words, I was and still am tenacious,

Whatever your challenge might be, I would love to hear your story of facing and dealing with it. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

NEW APPROACH TO HELP PREVENT OVARIAN CANCER

For those women who have a strong family history of ovarian cancer and/or the
BRCA gene mutation, there is a new surgical technique now being researched to possibly prevent ovarian cancer occurring in family members. I am a nine year 
survivor of this cancer and though I am BRCA negative, I was honored to be interviewed and videotaped for this article.


If you are BRCA positive or of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, this is an article particularly important for you to read.

To watch the video go to this link: http://abc7.com/health/doctors-studying-new-approach-to-help-prevent-ovarian-cancer/2914666/


Ovarian cancer is often called the "silent killer" because symptoms can be so subtle, 
women may not know they have it until the cancer is in a late, hard-to-treat stage.

Now, researchers across the country are studying a new approach to prevention. They're enrolling women in a new trial that will focus on stopping the disease before it strikes.

Nine years ago, Karen Ingalls was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Doctors found a 
tumor in her abdomen that was about the size of a melon.

"I had to start thinking about what I wanted to do and what God wanted me to do with whatever time I had left," Ingalls said.

About 1,100 miles away from Ingalls', researchers at the University of Chicago are working on a new treatment option; enrolling women in the WISP trial. That acronym stands for "Women Choosing surgIcal Prevention".

"It's a trial meant for people who are at quite elevated risk for ovarian cancer because 
they've been identified to carry a mutation in a gene," said University of Chicago's Dr. Iris Romero.

For years, doctors have recommended young women at high risk have both their fallopian tubes and ovaries removed. It greatly lowers the risk of cancer but causes early menopause.

Half of the women enrolled will have the traditional surgery. The other half will have two surgeries, removing just their fallopian tubes first. New research suggests that is the point where ovarian cancer actually begins.

Dr. Romero explained, "So in the WISP trial where a patient chooses to take a two-step procedure, she may delay the onset of menopause by several years until she comes back to get her ovaries out."

Dr. Romero said the goal is to determine if women have less sexual dysfunction and a 
better quality of life by staggering the surgeries. In the meantime, survivors like Ingalls continue to advocate for ovarian cancer education and support.

Ingalls was treated with surgery and chemo and had two recurrences but is currently in remission.

"I am encouraged, and I think we are on the right road," said Dr. Romero.

Researchers said their ultimate goal is to find out if removing just the fallopian tubes 
will be enough to protect against ovarian cancer.

For more information on the WISP trial, visit clinicaltrials.gov.
My thanks to the Tesaro Pharmaceutical Company for sponsoring this article 
and video. As a member of their Patient Leadership Council, I know how much this company is doing to help women all over the world.
I hope you will each forward this blog on to everyone on your email list. I appreciate your support and help in getting the word out about this too 
often fatal cancer. The symptoms are subtle, ignored, and misdiagnosed so too many women are at a late stage when diagnosed. 


Monday, January 8, 2018

INSPIRATIONAL COUPLES




There are two couples who are truly inspirational to me. They are my neighbors, Harry and Annabelle, and long-time friends, Stan and Jayne. They are the perfect example of a complete marriage, which means that each person respects, honors, and loves the other.

Harry and Annabelle have encouraged and supported me from the very beginning of my new life as a cancer survivor. They sent cards, made telephone calls, and daily prayed for me. They attended my recent book launch, purchased a copy of Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, and after reading the book they said, "Karen, you are an inspiration."

In the ten years I have known them, they have been an inspiration to me by the way they live and treat each other. For Harry and Annabelle who are 92 years young, God is the center of their lives; their love is unconditional; and they follow the Golden Rule. After 72 years of marriage they have heard and seen it all, yet they are not hardened, scornful, or unforgiving. Life has not always been easy for them yet they have been caregivers to each other, family and friends. Their sense of humor, positive outlook, and having looked at life through youthful eyes has helped them to be independent and productive.

Stan and Jayne amaze and inspire me with their complete love and devotion to one another. Their lives are also God-centered. Even during the difficult times of job losses, deaths of parents, and frequent moves they have stood together and faced each challenge with faith and love. I have known them for thirty years and I have not heard them complain nor feel sorry for themselves.

When I was first diagnosed with cancer they immediately were by our side. Their prayers, visits, and phone calls were filled with love and encouragement. Stan has a beautiful gift of creative design and word expressions. He remembers birthdays and anniversaries and sends out cards, some of which he has designed. Jane is always smiling and has a contagious and recognizable laugh. She is a good listener, loves to give hugs, and is there to give support wherever needed.


These two couples are inspirational because they are God-centered, loving, generous, kind, and giving. Is there a person or couple in your life who has influenced you in a positive way? Do you believe you are an inspirational person to others?

We all need positive role models especially in our growing-up years. In closing, this quote sums up the message of this blog: A loving heart is the truest wisdom. (Charles Dickens)

Thank you for stopping by. I welcome those people or couples who are inspirational to you.
(Thanks to anxiety.org and images.ist.com for photographs)


Monday, January 1, 2018

DREAMS FOR 2018

It is always this time of the year when we make resolutions, planning to make changes that will improve our health and quality of life. For many of us it becomes a challenge for a variety of reasons: time, finances, commitments, encouragement, or support.


This year I am dreaming about a better year in 2018 for all women who have or might be diagnosed in the future with any gynecologic cancer.


                                         Here are my dreams for this new year.

DREAM #1:
      A reliable, safe, and inexpensive method of testing for ovarian cancer.
              Our only methods now is the CA125, which provides only about 70% accuracy and an
               ultrasound of the ovaries.
              Most of our women are diagnosed at a late stage, which makes treatment and 
              survival more challenging.

DREAM #2:
      A cure for ovarian cancer. 
               Part of the problem for finding a cure is that there are over forty different types
               of cancer cells associated with ovarian cancer. "Ovarian cancer is a heterogenous
                 disease, firstly meaning that several different types or histologies exist, each with its own unique
                 genetic make-up. It also means that within an individual patient, different sites of cancer are 
                 likely comprised of several genetically distinct, subtypes of cancer cells." 
                (http://blog.dana-farber.org/insight/2017/09/immunotherapy-and-ovarian-cancer-an-update)
               Financial support for research is something I can do to help.

DREAM #3:
      More education of doctors, nurses, and the general public about ovarian cancer.
                Too many physicians do not consider the possiblity of the woman's symptoms
                being ovarian cancer. Therefore, the woman is often sent from one specialist
                to another. I call it the "Gilda Radner syndrome."
                Most nurses (myself included) did not receive any education about gynecologic
                cancers. This is still true today, yet ovarian cancer is the 5th leading cause of 
                death.
                Too many nurses and the general public believe that PAP smear will determine 
                any gynecologic cancer. THE PAP SMEAR ONLY DETECTS CERVICAL CANCER.
                 Being involved in "Survivors Teaching Students" is a program that is helping thousands
                 across the nation. I plan to become a part of it this year.

DREAM #4
      Women will become comfortable understanding the functioning of the area below the waist and 
      be more willing to talk about it with their physician, family, and friends.
                 This is the area of the body where are menstral periods are; where we have sexual      
                 sexual intercourse; where we become pregnant and give birth; and experience menopause.
                 There is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. 
                 As women it is vitally important to act upon any change immediately. 



                  I offer a free presentation about women's health issues in the gynecologic area.
                  It is called "Teal, Tea, and Me." Let me know if you would like to have such a
                  presentation in your home, church, or women's group. There is no charge.
                 
I DREAM OF A WORLD WHERE THERE IS NO CANCER. CURRENTLY IT IS A UTOPIAN DREAM. HOWEVER, WITHOUT DREAMS, THERE IS NO HOPE, AND WITHOUT HOPE THERE IS NO RESEARCH FOR BETTER TESTING AND A CURE.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

CHRISTMAS AND HOPE


Christmas is celebrated by Christians around the world. We hear the carols and watch our favorite Christmas stories. We scurry around decorating our homes, baking Christmas cookies and breads, shop until we drop, and try to write Christmas cards in between everything else. 

                                                 CHRISTMAS IS STRESSFUL!  
                                        CHRISTMAS SHOULD NOT BE STRESSFUL!

Does it bring such gifts of joy to everyone? Unfortunately the answer is no. It can bring more sorrow, bitterness, loneliness, or anger to some. Yet the message is one of new birth, love, and hope. It is not about gifts, Santa Claus, and dreaming about a white Christmas. 

   The messages of peace, love, joy, and giving are there for us to embrace and share with others.

When I think of Christmas my sense of hope is even stronger.  In my preteens I survived sexual and physical abuse and now I am a survivor of ovarian cancer for nine years. 

Hope was and is a key factor in surviving any event. With hope, there is no fear. They cannot co-exist. Hope means never saying "I can't." It means digging down into the deepest part of yourself and using your God given gifts to survive. Hope also means faith. For me, it is a strong faith in God.

For those who are facing a serious illness, loss of any kind, desperation, or loneliness, I encourage you to let the message of Christmas and the power of hope bring you the true blessings of Christmas.

I just finished reading Letting Go Into Perfect Love by Gwen Plano where the author shares how hope and faith helped her. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K7WYTW6/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1


            My prayer is that the joy, hope, and love of Christmas will fill your heart and soul.


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

HEALTH UPDATES

There are a few updates that are very exciting that I would like to share with you this week. Some of them are for general health issues and some are specific to ovarian cancer.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET:
An anti-inflammatory diet also contains increased amounts of antioxidants, which are reactive molecules in food that reduce the number of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules in the body that may damage cells and increase the risk of certain diseases. An anti-inflammatory diet can help many conditions, including:
rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, colitis, diabetes, obesity, heart disease to name just a few.

CANCER:
While smoking is still by far the biggest cause of cancer and cancer deaths, obesity, poor diet and drinking too much alcohol cause an increasing number of cancer cases and deaths. But more people are surviving cancer. In 1975, 49 percent of people diagnosed with cancer were still alive five years later. By 2012 it was 69 percent. 

The leading preventable causes of cancer: 

  • Cigarette smoking- 19 percent of cancer cases and 28.8 percent of deaths
  • Obesity and overweight – 7.8 percent of cases and 6.5 percent of deaths
  • Alcohol intake – 5.6 percent of cases and 4 percent of deaths
  • Ultraviolet radiation – 4.7 percent of cases and 1.5 percent of deaths
  • Lack of exercise – 2.9 percent of cases and 2.2 percent of deaths
  • Low fruit and vegetable intake – 1.9 percent of cases and 2.7 percent of deaths
  • HPV infection – 1.8 percent of cases and 1.1 percent of deaths
FOODS THAT AFFECT HEART HEALTH:

Eat more of:

  • Nuts
  • Seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Polyunsaturated fats (such as soybean oil, corn oil, walnuts and flaxseed oil)

What to eat less of: 

  • Sodium
  • Processed meats
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Red meat (such as steak or pork chops)

OVARIAN CANCER UPDATES:
Targeted therapy:
 is a newer type of cancer treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack cancer cells while doing little damage to normal cells. Each type of targeted therapy works differently, but they all attack the cancer cells' inner workings − the programming that makes them different from normal, healthy cells. Bevacizumab (Avastin) is the targeted therapy that has been studied best in ovarian cancer.

The targeted therapy drug Zejula (niraparib) for women with some types of ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancers. This is the third of this type of drug, called a PARP inhibitor, approved to treat women with ovarian cancer. But unlike with the other two drugs, the use of Zejula is not limited to women with a BRCA mutation. It’s approved for women whose cancer has come back after they received chemotherapy.

Immunotherapy:
Another approach is to develop tumor vaccines that program the immune system to better recognize cancer cells. Also, monoclonal antibodies that specifically recognize and attack ovarian cancer cells are being developed.

Christmas season is the time of giving, family, friends, and celebrating. Let's each give ourselves the gift of health by adopting the guidelines above. Only I can choose to lose weight, eat the right food, exercise, not smoke, and engage in only moderate alcoholic intake. 

                         Our bodies is God's gift to us when we are born; 
                           what we do with our bodies is our gift to God.

My thanks to the American Cancer Society, Medical News Today, and NBC News, and Tesaro Pharmaceutical  for the above information.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

CONTEMPLATION



With Thanksgiving Day just two days away, it is always a time when I contemplate my life and how I am living it. 

I think about all the things for which I am most thankful:
           My health
           The health and well-being of my family

I evaluate decisions and actions I have taken over the past year. Did I act out of love? Did I act out of jealousy or envy? Did I say things out of ignorance or incomplete information?

I make goals or resolutions for my future. No, I do not make New Year's resolutions which can often be a cliche and not taken seriously. By looking at my life from the perspective of giving thanks, my resolutions to be a better person take on a deeper meaning.

Today I am giving a talk on H.O.P.E. It is a perfect topic for this season of the year especially with the current world, national, and local events. Hope requires courage and confidence; it is a prayer; not just wishful thinking.

I recently gave a talk in Washington D.C. about a particular aspect of my journey with ovarian cancer. It centered around time...what do we do with our time? Do we spend each moment in silent fear, regrets, or in joy and love? I am grateful for each moment.

Time, hope, and thankfulness are all tied together. This Thanksgiving I am grateful for the past nine years I have had, for my ability to share my gifts of writing and public speaking, for the doctors and nurses who have provided such beautiful and expert medical care, for the Tesaro Pharmaceutical Company that has invited me to be a part of their outreach regarding ovarian cancer, and I am most deeply grateful for my husband, family, and friends who have supported and encouraged me.

My prayer is that you will also take this time of year to share your thankfulness, to contemplate how you are living your life, and to resolve to live a life of hope, serenity, and gratefulness.


Blessings, Karen