About Me

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Ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in 1 of 72 women; 14,000 will die. Please know the symptoms and risk factors: read Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. Books at www.amazon.com. ALL PROCEEDS GO TO GYNECOLOGIC CANCER RESEARCH. I am a member of Rave Reviews Book Club and Rave Writer's International Society of Authors, and Patient Leadership Council for Tesaro, Inc. I WILL NOT USE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE THAN CONTACTING YOU DIRECTLY. ALL ORIGINAL CONTENT COPYRIGHT 2011 THROUGH 2018.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Be Gentle

A friend shared this quote with me yesterday "When you feel frustrated about your limitations, be gentle with yourself. Treat yourself as you would a loved one you're nurturing back to health...." How true! I remember those dark days of dealing with active cancer, surgery, and chemo with all the physical, emotional and spiritual reactions. At times I said, "I want my life back." Well, guess what?! I had my life. It was just a new life; a different life. In my book Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, you will learn how I turned cancer into another of life's many challenges I had faced. Seeing it as a challenge, not as a "why me," "punishment," or "my failure," etc. allowed me to nurture myself.

My mother was a wonderful role model when it came to dealing with health limitations. When she was 16 years old she developed rheumatic fever, which subsequently damaged her heart's mitral valve. She could not do the activities that teenagers and young women usually do...dancing, playing tennis (which she loved), going up and down stairs, be in high altitudes, active sports, and so on. She did have three children much against her doctor's advice, which further compromised her health. I never heard her complain about her limitations. Sometimes she pushed herself too far and then paid the price, but she enjoyed life and made the most of it.

Last week, I blogged about the flat tire and today's blog is basically the same subject. I felt it was worth repeating the theme, because a disease like cancer and its treatments takes so much out of the life we once enjoyed. The moral is: "Nurture myself as I nurture others."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Is Your Tire Flat?

I recently read "a bad attitude is like a flat tire, you won't get very far until you change it." We cannot always change life's events...like my ovarian cancer...but I did know that I had to change my attitude towards it. Was I going to be a flat tire and not be able to move or just go bumpety-bump down the road.  Was I going to live each day to its fullest, or was I going to drown in my own sorrow, probably bringing every one else down with me? Or was I going to stagger through each event giving myself and others only half of my hope and love? No, that was counter to who I am.

I grew up in an abusive home so I was familiar at an early age about how life sometimes sucks! I was also fortunate to have wonderful grandparents, who were inspirational, positive, and loving people. I chose to leave the abuse; seek God; and pursue an education and career so I could help people. In Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, I share how the power of positive thinking, looking at a glass half-full, and seeing the cancer as an opportunity to grow and change helped me. I changed my flat tire!

Have you changed your tire?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Prayer & Meditation

I took this picture of a pelican sitting on top of a piling, looking very regal and in control. He appeared to be quite content sitting quietly with his eyes closed. I assumed he had eaten enough fish and was enjoying the warm sun, gentle breeze, and the stillness. I did not think he had any fears about predators at that moment. I have kept this image, because it is a reminder to be in control and at ease often by being prayerful and thankful.

During my most difficult days, I crave to be like the pelican. I find meditation to be the avenue to reach such a state of peacefulness. In my book Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, I refer to Qigong, which is an ancient method of energy balancing and meditation. Whether doing breathing exercises, meditating in my own way or with the assistance of a CD, or saying a prayer with deep intent, I always feel better afterwards. To me prayer and meditation are interchangeable words that are ways for God and me to commune; for me to listen; and to let God know what is in my heart.

Even though my cancer is in remission right now, I still rely on prayer and meditation to keep me strong and peaceful. Science has documented the release of endorphins, the slowing of the heart rate, and the decrease in blood pressure when someone is in deep prayer; any medication is more effective in the person who is relaxed and at peace; and MRI images have shown positive changes in all body organs.

Has prayer and/or meditation been beneficial for you?

Go to my website: www.outshineovariancancer.com to get a glimpse of my book.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

An Inspirational Couple

Last week I talked about caregivers and I believe that my neighbors, Harry and AnnaBelle, are the perfect example of a caregiver to each other and to us fortunate to know them. To give care to another it should not be for self-gratification, selfishness or resentment. Caregiving should be an act of unconditional love. I am blessed to have this wonderful couple in my life.

They have encouraged and supported me from the very beginning of my new life as a cancer patient. They sent cards; made telephone calls; and daily prayed for me. Now that I am a cancer survivor their prayers and support are still there. 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.

Is there a person or couple in your life who has influenced you in a positive way?