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, September 27, 2012

God Will Bring You Through It

"Hi, my dearest. I am so glad you called," Aunt Arleigh answered her telephone with her usual brightness and enthusiasm. I smiled and let out a sigh of relief. I had put off calling her because I was concerned I would hear that she was very sick. She is 86 years young, has COPD, and works as an actress in Hollywood, mainly doing television commercials. She is my bright star!

For the past two weeks I have received too many phone calls about someone who has passed away or is seriously ill. A wonderful young mother died of ovarian cancer in Michigan. She was diagnosed 6 months before me. A dear friend went in for back surgery and has not been well since; another friend is fighting for every breath due to the long term affects of agent orange; and my brother-in-law has been diagnosed with bladder cancer. A dear friend just learned that her 45 year old son has Stage IV colon cancer and it is inoperable. Heavy burdens for so many.

"If God brought you to it, He will bring you through it." I do not know who deserves credit for this quote, but I think it is powerful and appropriate for today's blog. The fact is that life is full of challenges, diseases, and even death. I am sure you have seen pictures of trees or flowers stretching up toward the sun through the smallest of cracks in a rock. Sometimes they seem to defy gravity. That is the image I keep in my mind as I pray for strength, courage, and understanding when I am faced with what may seem to be an overwhelming challenge.

Like Aunt Arleigh says, "I am not ready to go now, but if God is ready for me, I will go with a smile on my face." She always reaches through "the cracks of life" and shines in God's love.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Planting Seeds of Life

This morning I planted a croton in a large pot, sat it on the plant stand, and decided that this colorful plant would be a welcome sight at our front door. I then went to my various plants scattered around the front and back yards; pulled some weeds; dead-headed the marigolds; cut back the impatients; then fed them all some fertilizer and water.

Robert Louis Stevenson said, "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant." I believe it also could be said, "Don't judge your life by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant." How am I living each day? Am I interacting with love in my heart? Have I been forgiving? Do I offer a helping hand?

Recently three of us were talking about our lives and the question came up, "What would you do over differently if you could?" One friend said, "There is not one thing in my life I would change," while two of us said there were some things we would do differently. We cannot go back and change the past; we can only live in the present. One important lesson I learned as a teenager was that I must plant the seeds of love, kindness, and generosity now. My favorite Bible verse then and now is: "I must work of Him while it is light, for the night cometh when no man can work." (John 9:4)

In my book Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, I share how this lesson was reinforced.  Bad, tough, or tragic things can still happen. They are the weeds of our lives. But if we live in the Light, the flowers  of goodness and love will grow.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Waves of Life

This past weekend I participated in a golf tournament to raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Florida. My husband and I stayed at a hotel in Daytona Beach and our room overlooked the Atlantic Ocean. In the late afternoon I sat and watched the pounding surf and began to marvel at the power, vastness and uniqueness of each wave. I watched the surfers and realized that they had to either ride the wave on their boards, gently float over it, or they had to dive into it. Is not that a simile of our lives? Sometimes the wave appears so large that we know we have to react to it with perfect timing to ride and survive it. When we are faced with such an event in life, we need to use our healthiest resources to "ride" or get through it.

Some surfers were tossed about as the wave crashed over them. Perhaps they underestimated it or were not looking for it. Just such a wave hit me when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I was not "looking" out and did not heed the warning sign of the bloated stomach. Like the surfer, I was tossed around for a while, then I gathered my resources of excellent medical care, complementary therapies, prayer, laughter, and positive thinking.

When I went through my divorce it was like diving into a wave. My life did crash around me, and at times I gasped for air hoping to rise above the turmoil. I once again used the healthiest coping resources around me such as friends, meditation, counseling, good nutrition and exercise.

"When life gives you rough waves, surf them," is a wonderful saying, and I wish I knew who said it to give that person due credit. I pray that each of you will use your healthiest resources to ride whatever waves life brings you. God bless.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Teal for Ovarian Cancer

September is ovarian cancer awareness month and teal is our color. This month is not about wearing teal. It is about spreading the word about this deadly disease.  My mission in life is to keep speaking out about ovarian cancer until every woman is as informed about it as they are for breast cancer.  I have written this information before, but if each of you send this blog to all your friends, awareness will be increased, and perhaps we will see a decrease in the mortality rate.

Symptoms are:
      1. Bloating or increased of abdominal size
      2. Abdominal pain
      3. Feeling full quickly after eating less than normal
      4. Urgent need to urinate
      5. Painful intercourse
      6. Change in bowel habits

These are not unusual symptoms for any woman, no matter her age. They are similar to menstrual, menopausal or post-menopausal signs. The key is if they are new, recurrent, or worsening for more than 2 weeks. That is why it is important to document and take that information to a physician. 

If you have any of the following risk factors, then it is imperative to see a gynecologist, or a gynecologist-oncologist is ideal.

Risk Factors:
      1. History of breast, cervical, rectal, uterine, colon, or ovarian cancer; or family history of same.
      2. Never been pregnant
      3. Eastern Jewish descent
      4. Risk increases with age.

There is always HOPE and I believe that education AND research are the keys to winning this "battle".  We teal sisters of ovarian cancer thank you for your support and helping us to get the word out.