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.

Monday, September 30, 2013


            Nurses are taught, and it is assumed we do, GIVE CARE.

In other words, nurses always act with kindness and gentleness; they listen and respond to the patient's needs and wants; they are the intermediary between the doctor and the patient; and they always explain what and why they are performing a certain task.

                                       Most nurses are care-givers

                                   Most family/friends are care-givers.

        One gives care to people with love; we take care of animals or objects; if we take care of people we are not helping them.

        I'm a retired registered nurse, who spent a week in the hospital after major surgery for a total hysterectomy and colon resection at which time ovarian cancer was diagnosed. I then had many doctor's appointments, chemotherapy sessions, scans and tests, and telephone calls to or from the nurses. Now I, the nurse, was the patient and what a different role it was for me.

       In my book Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, I share about my journey with this lesser known disease; how certain medical professionals helped or hindered me; and the role my caregiver played.

        I strongly believe in the power, comfort, and healing of healthy touch. I was sexually abused when a young teenager, but I have turned that event into a positive one. Once I forgave the perpetrator, I was able to be open to any form of touch that was given out of love, and I have counseled other victims of sexual abuse. The following is an example from my book of nurses giving care through healthy touch:

                "While in the hospital, I was very aware of how often the nurses placed a hand
                 on my shoulder, arm, or hand with complete ease while they answered questions,
                 assessed my pain, or offered suggestions. The staff responded to my request for
                 any complementary care that might be available. A registered nurse who head of 
                 the alternative care department did some Therapeutic Touch, which works with
                 energy fields to promote healing."

Here is an occasion that was not a care-giving act by my definition as written in my book:

               "Once the MRI was complete, the technician instructed me to get
                dressed and then sit in the main waiting room to be sure the films
                were okay for the radiologist to read. Then an unusual thing happened
                that left a deep impression on me. It is a lesson for those in the healthcare
                field to be mindful of what they say and how they say it. After about ten minutes
                the same technician came up to me and said, 'You may leave now. Your doctor
                will call you with the results.' When I stood up to leave, she gave me a hug and 
                whispered, 'I'll pray for you.'
                I knew her heart was in the right place and her intentions were beautiful, but her
                words filled me with a terrible fear. I thought I must surely be on death's doorstep
                with my body full of cancer. Did she hug every patient? Did she tell everyone
                she would pray for them?"

My husband, Jim, was my primary caregiver. He listened, helped, supported, touched, and was in tune to my needs, except for one time. We both came to understand that he needs to have someone attentive to him most of the time when he is sick. My need is to be left alone at times so I can "go into myself" and pray, think, sort out, or do deep relaxation/meditation.

In summary, it is important for the professional and family caregivers to know and respond to the needs and wants of each person. This can best be accomplished by listening with intent, spending quality time, and getting to know the individual as completely as possible.

I will be discussing my book, ovarian cancer, the roles of caregivers, and the healthy ways I faced this devastating disease on Oct. 7 from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm EST on http://www.rnfmradio.com. If you can't listen to the show at that time, it will be archived and available for listening on Blog Talk Radio http://blogtalkradio.com/rnfmradio.


Thursday, September 26, 2013


We have all seen the television commercials, mainly from lawyers, about mesothelioma.  I let the  information go in one ear and out the other...thinking the lawyers were just  "ambulance chasers."
I thought it was a disease of just old men, who were exposed to asbestos. I knew it was a serious, life-threatening disease and I knew asbestos was the main culprit. Here are some facts:

Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects thin layers of cells lining the body's organs:

                   *It is most commonly found in the lungs, but can occur around any organ.
                   *The main cause is asbestos.
                   *It may remain dormant for decades...so if exposed to asbestos, see a physician.
                   *Even family members of those exposed are at risk!                               
                   *Early treatment can save lives.

Symptoms are:
               1. unexplained weight loss
               2. chest pain under the ribs,
               3. shortness of breath,
               4. persistent or painful cough,
               5. lumps under skin in chest area,
               6. pain, swelling, or lumps in the abdominal or pelvic area.


                                       SEPTEMBER 26TH IS 

                              NATIONAL MESOTHELIOMA DAY!



After viewing the video, please share it with your friends, families, and social network connections.

 The earlier the detection, the greater chance for a complete recovery. Let's each do our part to spread awareness about ovarian and mesothelioma cancers. Thank you for your support and help.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Please give a warm welcome to Lynnette Sheppard a registered nurse, who will share her (and others) solution for menopause. It is an article for women, and the men in our lives who live with our hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep problems.

Wait a minute. Every woman’s Menopause is different, an individual journey. Each of us has our own constellation of symptoms and changes.

      How can there be one remedy that can help smooth this transition? Quite by accident, our group of Menopause Goddesses stumbled upon this magical, miraculous medicine.  We found that the most effective and important remedy for the Change is...wait for it: Us! Girlfriends! Women sharing Wisdom!

     In the throes of peri-menopause, girlfriend Theresa and I were overwhelmed by the sheer number and severity of symptoms of the Pause. We truly thought menopause would be no big deal. After all, we exercised, ate pretty healthy diets, and generally took care of ourselves. Maybe a few warm flashes and we’d be finished. We were so wrong!

     On a whim, we decided to host a “slumber party with a focus” to see if Menopause really was as big a deal for other women as it seemed for us. (Short answer: YES!) And now our goddess group is preparing to meet for the 11th annual gathering. We all agree that we would have never made it through without one another.


     Or maybe we’d have made it somehow, but it would have been a much rockier road. We have laughed, cried, commiserated, consoled, learned, and grown together. We shared everything we knew and didn’t know about the Big M and a synergy was created that made us much more than the sum of our hot, cranky parts.

     It wasn’t just the new horizons of Menopause that we tackled.  Midlife brought us a number of other changes and challenges. We found ourselves revisiting and recreating relationships, with everyone, including ourselves. As a group, we went through breakups, divorce, marriage, and all the relationship permutations in between. Because of one another, we came out stronger, happier, healthier women.

     Health issues visited many of us. We collectively suffered Lyme disease, cardiac virus, depression, herniated discs, high blood pressure, celiac disease, and more. I can personally vouch for the boost an immune system gets from the compassionate comfort offered by caring women.

                   The number one remedy for anything that ails us? It really is girlfriends.

                                          Truth Telling,
                                                            Heartfelt Sharing


Meet Lynette Sheppard, RN:
      Author of “Becoming A Menopause Goddess,” Lynette hosts the popular     Menopause Goddess Blog. This virtual community brings women together to share wisdom, humor and heart to help their sisters through the transitions of menopause, midlife, and more.

She brings her expertise as a Registered Nurse as well as her experiences as a woman completely blindsided by the Change to help others have a smoother Menopause journey.

Lynette also writes for several websites among them VibrantNation.com and Empowher. She has served as the Menopause Examiner for Examiner.com   and the Menopause Health Maven for Wellsphere.com

     If you’d like to create your own goddess group, visit Menopause Goddess Blog and search “Creating Your Own Goddess Group.”

      Or buy the book “Becoming a Menopause Goddess” that chronicles all we learned together in those early days of The Big M.

Menopause Goddess Blog:  http://www.menopausegoddessblog.com/
Amazon: Becoming A Menopause Goddess:  http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-A-Menopause-Goddess-ebook/dp/B004W9CMS8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1303346935&sr=1-1

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/becoming-a-menopause-goddess-lynette-sheppard/1100558494?ean=9781617922411&itm=1&usri=9781617922411

Print Version:  http://thebigmwebsite.com/

Thursday, September 12, 2013


          I have a passion to change the world's information and statistics about ovarian cancer, but I know it can only be accomplished "one step and one person at a time." 

               "All the flowers of tomorrow are the seeds of today." (Anonymous)

  •  If I can plant the seed of knowledge about ovarian cancer in one woman's mind, then I have achieved one purpose of my life now.
  •  If I can give a woman and her family hope, inspiration, and peace, then I believe I am doing what God intends me to do.

            "You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream." (C.S. Lewis)

Harriet Hodgson

"Helping other bereaved people makes me feel good inside,"
Harriet Hodgson, age 78.

Author of more than 30 books and inspirational speaker. Most recent book is Seed Time, Growing from Disappointments, Losses, and Sorrows.

                   Jan Erickson developed a fashion line for the elderly and disabled in 2002.

"It's just been an amazing gift to be able to have this business and to believe that we're doing something that matters," she stated in 2012 at the age of 62.

Shirley Corder

"My prayer for each one of us is that we will start to copy the eagle---that we will spread our wings," Shirley Corder, age 68.

A registered nurse and breast cancer survivor; freelance writer; author of Strength Renewed: Meditations For Your Journey Through Breast Cancer.

Diana Nyad, Age 65

            "You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." (Unknown)

  • What if I don't see the first step? Of course, you will see it.
  • What if I trip and fall? So what? Pick yourself up, brush off the dust, and begin again.
  • What if I can't see the top of the staircase? That's okay. You don't need to see it.

We can make changes in ourselves, change our attitudes, set goals, and be willing to take the first step. Each of these women have shown us that it can be done. They each pursued their passion and the world is a better place for it.

Share about changes you have made; goals you have set or achieved; and what were your first steps. Would love to hear from you.

At the age of 71,  I am at a Barnes & Noble for a book signing with my editor, Angela Wiechmann.

"My mission in life is to spread the word about ovarian cancer, and offer hope to women and their families."

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

For the month of September it may be purchased at 20% discount through www.BeaversPondBooks.com. Use the word "teal" in the coupon.

Proceeds go to ovarian cancer research.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


     Alabama quarterback, AJ McCarron, was in a horrific wave runner accident at the age of 5. His parents were told he probably would not live, or at best have severe brain injury. The family prayed and God "gave me a second chance at life."

     Almost 20 years later AJ meets Starla Chapman, a little girl with acute myeloid leukemia in the same hospital he was in as a young boy. They connected at a spiritual level and are friends. They both are miracles.  Starla's message is: "just trust."

                        Click and watch this video: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=9617318

        I have a friend appropriately named Angela, and she is a cancer miracle. Her journey with it started as a teenager, was told she had almost no chance to recover nor ever have children. Angela believed in God and prayed for a cure...and was blessed with good health. Today she is the mother of 3 healthy, robust sons, and now anticipating the arrival of her first grandchild.

Professional football player, Mark Herzlich is a miracle case who recovered from bone cancer. He never lost hope and his goal was to play football again, which he did.

"I went through something terrible and other people are going through something terrible right now. If I can help motivate them in a way or just share my story and show them an example of a positive outcome, then I can give them hope."

Another miracle: Rachel Lozano prayed for intercession and care in Rome. Upon returning home the doctors told her there was more cancer and she was terminal. During one last surgery to remove the cancer the doctors were shocked to find no cancerous tissue. "They (doctors) actually had to testify that they could not explain why I'm alive," said Lozano. 

She had a rare form of cancer called "Askin's Tumor."

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. This year I celebrated my 5th year of being cancer free, so I consider the last 5 years of my life to be miraculous. Prayer, hope, belief, and trust are acts and traits that sustained AJ, Starla, Mark, Angela, Rachel and I to face very challenging health issues.  They are still part of our daily lives as survivors.

                                                         NEVER LOSE HOPE
                                                           JUST TRUST...
                                             SOMETIMES MIRACLES DO HAPPEN