About Me

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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 2017.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

SURVIVORS & THRIVERS

A survivor is someone who goes on just living, but goes one step beyond by surviving. Someone who is thriving gives back to all those who helped her/him to survive. They give so much of themselves and I do not have the space or knowledge to be able to recognize each survivor and thriver. I do congratulate and thank you.

Here is a list of some Facebook Survivor sites that might be of interest to you or someone you know:

  • Ovarian Cancer Women
  • Sisterhood of Ovarian Cancer Survivors
  • Teals of Steel
  • Seana's Teal Fight Like A Girl
  • Women of Teal
  • Ovarian Cancer Survivors
  • K.O. Ovarian Cancer
  • Ovacome USA
  • Ovarian Cancer Together
  • Teals the Deal
  • Cure Ovarian Cancer
  • Inspire
These sites are for information, inspiration, and support.


I am recognizing only three women OUT OF MANY who have done and continue to do amazing things to bring awareness, support, and fund raising.


Let's start by celebrating the lives of some from around the country, who have been affected by ovarian cancer:
                           https://www.facebook.com/la.la.gurrl/videos/1076514215707148/

       My thanks to Sheila Yvette Cushman for putting this video together.
She works tirelessly to inform and educate women. She is always there for women looking for support. Her photo is in teal to celebrate Ovarian Cancer Month.




A long time survivor, friend and role model to many, and a leader in advocating for ovarian cancer did this interview in 2013: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMXJRcy4BWc  Thank you, Bonnie Donihi for all that you do.


met Kim Swearengin through a site on Facebook dedicated to providing support and information to those of us with ovarian cancer. She works tirelessly raising awareness and money for research and she always has a big smile on her face. 

http://wric.com/2015/08/10/knowledge-is-power-in-ovarian-cancer-awareness-full-video/



Each of these ladies volunteer their time to promote awareness, raise money for research, and be available for support and encouragement. They are just three out of thousands. 

Here are only some OF THE MANY ovarian cancer organizations.

  • Ovarian Cancer National Alliance
  • National Ovarian Cancer Coalition
  • Women & Girls' Gynecologic Cancer Alliance
  • Foundation for Women's Cancer
  • Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance
  • Ovarian Cancer Institute
  • St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness
  • Laura Crandall Brown Ovarian Cancer Foundation
  • Ovarian Cancer Alliance of San Diego
The list goes on...please Google for an organization in your area. Volunteer your time, your talent, and your energy. 

I wish I could give recognition to every woman, man, and organization who have been providing information, support, funding, and education. THANK YOU...you know who you are.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

HAIR OR NOT, WE ARE BEAUTIFUL


One of the difficult side effects of chemotherapy is the loss of one's hair.

                              For some of us it was a very challenging experience, yet for others,
                                                   it was a small price to pay.

                                        
                      Think about these words from my ovarian cancer sisters:

                       "Some people just stare at me and it makes me mad."
         "People shift their eyes away avoiding any contact through a smile or nod."
      "My two grandsons just looked up at me and then went on playing their game."
                          "My husband kisses the top of my bald head."

         These are reactions that we as a public need to think about.
                  What kind of a message are we giving out.
                          Is it one of love, acceptance, fear, disdain, or own discomfort?


                  There is a double standard in our society when it comes to hair":

                    ***Men are not shunned if they are bald; too often women are.

           ***Yul Brynner and Michael Jordan were and are still seen as sex symbols, though bald.        

         ***Sinead O'Connor is the only female celebrity I know of who has remained popular despite choosing to be bald.

         ***Other female celebrities who had their heads shaved for movie roles let their hair grow back. They were not seen as sex symbols while bald.      


          Two examples of women who have been in the public eye and were well accepted with their bald heads. News anchor Shelley Smith and beauty pageant winner Kayla Martell http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1346025/Bald-beautiful-Beauty-queen-suffering-alopecia-Miss-America-hair.html

http://www.espnfrontrow.com/2015/02/beautifully-bald-shelley-smith-continues-battle-cancer/



I think of Joan Lunden and Robin Roberts who have been very open about their times of baldness. I congratulate them.


"When I was bald I could feel the coolness of air conditioning, which was not comfortable."

"I preferred wearing hats and scarves. The wig was not comfortable."

"I missed not having eyelashes and eyebrows more than the hair on top of my head."


A dear friend and ovarian cancer sister gave me permission to take a picture of the back of her otherwise bald head. She had received radiation for some brain tumors that did not hit one small area. She laughs about it...good for her.

BALD IS BEAUTIFUL...IT MEANS WE ARE BRAVELY GOING THROUGH A DIFFICULT TIME...IT SYMBOLIZES OUR SPIRIT AND TRUE SOUL...THERE IS MORE TO LIFE 
THAN HAIR! 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

IMPORTANT INFORMATION


                                                                  PLEASE READ:
          
       "I received an email from a young lady named Teresa in response to last week's blog. She commented that she realized how many of the symptoms of ovarian cancer she had been experiencing. She went to the doctor, had an ultrasound, and now is awaiting an appointment to know her diagnosis."

               YES, WE DO HAVE TO KNOW WHAT THE SYMPTOMS ARE.



                                            SOME DATA ABOUT OVARIAN CANCER
  1.    Did you know that 1 in every 70 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer?
  2.    Most of us do not have a history of ovarian cancer, but might have a family history of colon,                breast, or prostate cancer?
  3.    There is no accurate test to detect ovarian cancer.
  4.    About 70% of us will not survive 5 years.
  5.    Yet there is poor funding available for research. 
  6.    And a minimal number of awareness programs.


                             PAP SMEARS DO NOT DETECT OVARIAN CANCER.
                                            (It only detects cervical cancer.)

However, women need to get a pelvic/rectal exam every year to detect possible ovarian, uterine, or rectal disorders or cancer.



                                            KNOW YOUR FAMILY HISTORY

Know both sides...fathers can pass genes on that affect a woman's health.
Be sure to alert your physician to any family history of colon, breast, or ovarian cancers.


                                               WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?

  • Family history
  • BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 positive test results
  • Eastern Jewish heritage
  • History of polycystic syndrome
  • History of smoking
  • Never having been pregnant
  • Taken HRT (estrogen hormone replacement therapy)
  • Had fertility treatment
  • Started menstruation before 12 years
  • Risk increases with age.

                                             BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE

According to a small, non-scientific survey I did last spring, it was quite evident that physicians did not always listen to concerns or symptoms nor ask about family history. Only 25% of the doctors did listen and ask the right questions. There are times when we must be strong in our resolve and demand for certain tests (transvaginal ultrasound and CA125). 

                  "My family doctor only did testing because I demanded it after she sent me home the 
                   first time and I still didn't feel better after 2 months later." 
                                                   Diagnosed Stage IIIC


Recommended links:



Order your copy of Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir now at a discounted rate www.outshineovariancancer.com


 On Sept. 17th at 11:00 am CDT I will be interviewed on RRBC SPOTLIGHT HONORS for my book, Novy's Son. It is a novel about one man's journey seeking love and acceptance from his father.
Join the conversation on Twitter by sending in questions/comments using #RRBCSpotlightHonors.                           



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

OVARIAN CANCER SYMPTOMS

                       An introduction by me, a survivor, thriver, and advocate:

   "SOME OF YOU MIGHT BE TIRED OF READING ABOUT OVARIAN CANCER ON THIS BLOG SITE...BUT MY CONCERN IS, DO YOU REMEMBER THE SYMPTOMS? DO YOU KEEP A DIARY? DO YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO OR WHO TO SEE? HAVE YOU TOLD OTHERS WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED?
    "IF YOUR ANSWER IS NO TO MOST OR ALL OF THESE QUESTIONS, THEN PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ THIS BLOG AND THOSE THAT WILL FOLLOW OVEER THE NEXT FOUR WEEKS. THE INFORMATION COULD SAVE YOUR OR SOMEONE ELSE'S LIVE."

Let's start with some disturbing statistics:
                22,000 women in the U.S. alone will be diagnosed
                14,000 women in the U.S. alone will not survive 5 years.
                This disease will affect young girls and any age group of women.

  A happy group of survivors singing about the symptoms of ovarian cancer:              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsCBkXTM0Yk&feature=youtu.be

     The symptoms can be any one or a combination of:
  1. Bloating
  2. Abdominal or pelvic pain
  3. Back pain
  4. Digestive problems,
  5. Vaginal bleeding or unusual discharge
  6. Bowel changes
  7. Urinary frequency
  8. Painful intercourse
  9. Fatigue


                                   KEEP A DIARY. HERE ARE SOME LINKS:
                             
                               http://www.ovariancancerin.org/symptomdiary.pdf
          http://www.sloca.org/files/8814/0793/9934/Symptom_Diary_Guidance_FINAL.pdf
                                                                 OR
                                     Just keep track on an ordinary calendar

MY PERSONAL RECOMMENDATION (WHICH IS SUPPORTED BY MANY SURVIVORS AND PROFESSIONALS), SEEK OUT MEDICAL ATTENTION WITH YOUR GYNECOLOGIST IF ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS PERSIST FOR 2 WEEKS.

     INSIST on having a pelvic, rectal, and abdominal examination AND an transvaginal ultrasound
                                                 and a blood test called CA125.

PLEASE watch this video and listen to this lady's words of advice:
                                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjPHz13Svck
She may use humor and a light-hearted approach, but that is okay because her message is great and she keeps the viewer's attention.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I encourage you to forward it on to all your friends so we can help women all over the world and save lives.

For the month of Sept. Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir is offered at discounted prices. For a signed paperback go to http://amzn.to/R0zjva.
For an ebook version go to http://amzn.to/1LRfeS6