About Me

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My journey as a writer began as a child. I wrote poems and short stories which were my way of dealing with various life changing events. 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. My first book is Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir which received two awards. All proceeds are donated to gynecologic cancer research. My second book is a novel Novy's Son, about one man's attempt to find love and acceptance from his father. This is an all too common problem in our society. My third book, Davida: Model and Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens is about the love affair between this great American sculptor and his model. ALL ORIGINAL CONTENT COPYRIGHT 2011 THROUGH 2017.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

ZEJULA, NEW DRUG FOR OVARIAN CANCER



Zejula was approved on March 28, 2017 by the FDA for ovarian cancer patients who have had at least one recurrence and are platinum resistant. Zejula is a PARP inhibitor, which means Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors target DNA repair and are specifically active in cells that have impaired repair of DNA by the homologous recombination (HR) pathway.

One of the advantages of this particular drug is that it does not require prior genetic testing. A woman could benefit from this drug whether they have the BRCA mutated gene or not. With other PARP inhibitors genetic testing is required, and getting the results can be lengthy. With cancer patients time can be everything.

It was an honor to be invited to the Patient Leadership Council meeting in June of this year in Boston, MA. The meeting was initiated by the Tesaro Pharmaceutical Company, which hired the Snow Companies to arrange and lead the meeting. Invitations were sent out to about ten women survivors/advocates or caregivers, but unfortunately some of them were not able to attend. There were four of us survivors, but we were full of information and enthusiasm to contribute as best we could. It was in January 2017 that I received the invitation not knowing that I would be on the drug in June of this year. Serendipity? God at work? Yes to both.

Tesaro’s mission is to be more available to the social, economic, and medical needs of the ovarian cancer woman. Therefore, the purpose of this council is to help them achieve those goals. I will not be able to list all the things we talked about, but here are a few.

1.We discussed the need for Tesaro to be visible as a company that truly does care about the patient and be available to us. The general public has the image that pharmaceutical companies CEO’s sit in their skyscraper offices with no regard as to how the cost of producing drugs is passed on to the patient. Too many people are unable to pay for their prescriptions, or the insurance companies will not cover them. If Tesaro can change that image by reaching out and helping the patient that would go a long ways in improving how the public sees their company.

2.They wanted to hear from us advocates what programs we do, the successes, our use or not of social media, and how we reach out to the communities. We shared about our own journeys and what things, groups, brochures, etc. did and did not help; what resources did we seek out; how was communication with our physicians and nurses; what brochures, books, videos or articles were helpful? We spoke about various national and local organizations and how they have helped.

3. We also talked about the need to reach out to those in remote areas where there are not any oncologists nor gynecologic oncologists within their areas.

4. The communication that occurs between a physician and a patient is a critical part of the treatment of ovarian cancer. It was interesting statistics how physicians perceived that they explained very well any treatment or medication. Yet, only a third of the patients agreed. It was strongly suggested that the woman needs to go to her appointment with a list of questions and seek answers that are clearly understood. This is particularly important during the early stages of treatment when emotions can interfere with communication.

Here is a graph that shows the effectiveness of Zejula from the clinical trials:

                                       
                                            http://www.tesarobio.com/en

I came away from the meeting inspired to do more. Yet, I need your help. I cannot do it alone. It is so important for me to hear from you, and if possible, to offer your help in some way. There are too many of us women who live in fear, feel alone, and are dealing with insurance companies, seeking financial resources, need of caregivers, and support from family and friends.



Therefore, I now call upon each of you to share your suggestions, thoughts, concerns, questions, and comments about your experience as an ovarian cancer survivor. What are your unmet needs? How well does your physician communicate with you about tests, medications, treatments, or surgeries? Is their enough information available to you about resources in your area?

Your input will be valuable. You are important and your voice needs to be heard. Please write to me at kareningalls1941@gmail.com and give me your feedback. I will pass on any information anonymously. I will do my best to answer your questions and meet your needs. I will continue to communicate with you via my blog at www.outshineovariancancer.blogspot.com or the various ovarian cancer sites on Facebook.

                                  Thank you for reading this and I hope to hear from you.


Saturday, June 3, 2017

CANCER, LAUGHTER, HEALING

This is an excerpt from a blog by Sylvia Swanson of the Vero Beach "Friends After Diagnosis" support group. Like Sylvia, I have always tried to use humor when facing various challenges in my life, including cancer.
(Please check out my special birthday announcement at the end)

                                           
 


Rx FOR ANY DAY – HUMOR 
                                                                                                      Whether life feels heavy or easy, a hearty laugh makes whatever is happening feel better.  At our home a serotonin boost is welcome any time of day, any day of the week.  Life certainly provides a plethora of opportunities to laugh at ourselves, turning embarrassing moments into lighthearted revelry, and sometimes memorable stories that come out at family reunions (I try to avoid the latter but am not always successful).  Here are a few stories to lighten your day.


       Let’s see – should I start with my mad dash into the men’s restroom?  In my own defense I was desperate and grabbed the first door in the restaurant hallway.   Once I realized my mistake, I quickly exited with gratitude that no one was in the room.  However, my face turned three shades of red just thinking about the possibilities.  

     Then there was the time I tried a new shopping center while we were traveling and noisily walked right into a large glass entrance panel wondering why it didn’t open like the panels on either side.  When I was done laughing at how silly I must have looked, especially to those familiar with the shopping center, I picked myself up and tried to look as though nothing had happened (I haven’t mastered the it’s not me look yet but I’m trying) while wondering why there usually is an audience when these things occur.  


     This is a laugh on Curt with his permission.  During a trip Curt and I were using an underground train station which does present a number of challenges.  The train itself offered a combination of seats and poles for light and heavy traffic.  The train drivers never start or stop smoothly so maintaining one’s balance through a series of jerks often creates the unexpected.  As we boarded we were delighted to see two empty seats right across from each other. 

     I sat down quickly but Curt had only begun his seating decent when the train started with a harder than usual jerk.  He completely lost his balance and his arms shot up trying to connect with one of the balance poles.  He missed the poles, but his arms kept flailing around looking like propellers seeking to go air born endangering the people calmly seated on either side of him.  His derriere was headed into the lap of the woman seated next to him who was looking every bit as surprised as Curt.  She did what anyone would do when another person is about to sit on top of them.  With open hands she shoved his derriere up and over the seat arm rest so he finally landed in the empty seat which was his original intent.  Slightly red in the face, he said his apologies and was relieved to see she was smiling.  He didn’t need to look at me to know I was laughing!  
  

     This next experience occurred when I was using the public bus transportation system.  My bus pulled up to a stopping area where two elderly people stood with their backs to the bus because it was windy.  The man wasn’t sure if this was the right bus to take so he stepped on board and asked the driver if his destination was on this route.  When told yes he immediately bought two tickets, spotted an empty seat halfway down the center isle, and was about to sit down when he realized his wife wasn’t with him.   She was standing outside completely oblivious to the fact that her husband was already on the bus and thought she was right in back of him.  The bus doors were closing when the husband said, “Oh wait please, my wife is still outside!”  As he walked back down the isle to the door he said jokingly, “I could get rid of her, couldn’t  I.”  He hesitated as though thinking about the possibility, and then smiled and said from the bus door, “Dearie, we’re leaving.  Get on the bus!”  The whole bus laughed and applauded as she got on and little pockets of laughter continued the rest of the way to the shopping area where I left the scene.  The two women in back of me couldn’t stop laughing and kept repeating what he had said which made them laugh again.  One woman declared she thought he was a handsome man and, if the bus had driven off without his wife, she would have gone to sit with him.

    If while reading this you have experienced something between a guffaw and a chuckle, then you have done some destressing.  How about sharing one of your humorous stories in the comment area to help keep the laughter going?  Let’s enhance our health with laughter therapy to boost our immune system and lighten our day.
Until next time - Sylvia

My thanks to Sylvia for sharing this humorous and helpful blog. We all need to put some humor into our daily lives whether we have cancer or not. 



I am celebrating my 9th year of surviving ovarian cancer with two special offers. First, on June 5 & 6 my ebook version of Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir will be FREE at goo.gl/K9x33h. Even if you have the paperback, getting the free ebook helps spread the word to others.

OR you may purchase my signed paperback for just $3.00 to cover cost of shipping by sending the money to PayPal and emailing me your address at kareningalls1941@gmail.com. All proceeds go to gynecologic cancer research.


                                THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!   





Sunday, May 28, 2017

HONOR

What comes to mind when you hear the word "Honor"?  How would you define it?

There is the military Code of Honor which is drilled into the soldiers from their first day. The Warrior's Code of Honor  "is in war it means to give your word of honor to do your duty...your word...your honor whilst standing face to face with Death gives meaning and purpose to life..." 


On September 19, 2010, while clearing a path for United States Army Rangers in Kandahar, Mast took a wrong step into an IED along the road. The explosion resulted in the amputation of both his legs and one of his fingers. His actions were honorable and heroic.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Mast


Honor is often used in commercials saying "It would be my honor...." to provide some kind of commercial service. 

Or, "It is an honor to be your friend...." which I have said and heard from others.




In Rave Reviews Book Club each month we have "Spotlight Honors" for authors whose work deserve special recognition.







A quote from Lisa Cicciarelli, "I consider it a privilege to honor and celebrate the thousands who represent our future of a world free from the pain and suffering of cancer." at a Relay for Life event in New York.

Some Reading Suggestions for Memorial Weekend: 
              "We Were Soldiers Too" a series of three books by Bob Kern
              "MIA: A Hero's Return" by Frank Pisani
              "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival" by Laura Hellenbrand            




On this Monday, May 29 we celebrate Memorial Day by honoring those who have served our country from the very first war through today. Let's make it more than a day at the beach, a BBQ, or a family gathering. Let's make it a day of truly honoring our military and thanking them for their sacrifices.

And, it is my hope that when we use the word honor we use it with the intentions of honesty,  ethics, and sincerity. Honoring someone must include these three things plus LOVE.

                                          Wishing you a most blessed Memorial Day.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

HOPE


THE GIFT OF HOPE

HOPE IS...living with courage and confidence, not fear.  
                                                                                  (Penny Boldrey, cancer survivor)
                            

HOPE IS...being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness around.
                                                                                  (Desmond Tutu)

HOPE IS...accepting finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
                                                                                  (Rev. Martin Luther King)


Whenever we are faced with a challenge (illness, divorce, job loss, untimely death, etc) we always have a choice to make: how are we going to face it? 

             1. Will we give up before we even begin to fight?
             2. We will blame God, others, or doctors and not take on any self-responsibility?
             3. Will we try to be better people? Help others? Learn from our situation?

Cancer is certainly not the only challenge a person could face, yet it creates more fear than any other disease or disaster. Hope is the key to each of the individuals here below:


My dear friend, Marilyn (left) faced her journey with ovarian cancer 
with humor, optimism, and died with dignity.


This young girl will do a ballet dance despite her loss of her ability
to use her legs. She and the wheelchair will dance!


Tim Nurse hopes to be back on the ice rink after winning the game
against mantle cell Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cancer.


What can we do to help people keep their hopes alive? 
     1. Support them with love and positivity.
       2. Financially donate to research and help to families.
       3. Encourage them with your presence and help.
       4. Pray for them.

I encourage financial donations to any and all of the following:
            Dr. Robert Holloway's ovarian cancer research program at Florida South Hospital
                     Cancer Institute.
            Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
            St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
            GoFundMe.com for Tim Nurse https://www.gofundme.com/timnurse


All proceeds from the sale of my book, "Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir" goes to Dr. Holloway's cancer research program.
For a signed paperback copy, please contact me at kareningalls1941@gmail.com or purchase an ebook at https://www.amazon.com/Outshine-Ovarian-Cancer-Karen-Ingalls-ebook/dp/B00KI1HGZI/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1495382166&sr=8-10&keywords=ovarian+cancer+books



Monday, May 15, 2017

WHO AM I?

I ask the question, "Who am I?" We are each unique in our personalities, which I find amazingly beautiful. We can stand out in a crowd or be one to blend in and not be particularly noticed. How we become the person we are is a fascinating journey. 


As I was driving down the road yesterday I looked at the various cars passing by or alongside me. I suddenly realized how most cars all look very much alike. There might be some variation with taillights, headlights, size and placement of windows, but all in all they are fairly similar...just like us! 

Have you noticed how the Cadillac and Jaguar no longer have their distinct looks that any of us could easily recognize? The newer models all look like other cars.

                          One car that has maintained its unique look and style is Corvette:



Its low sleek body has changed very little since the first one rolled off the production lines in 1953. No matter the year of production, its unique low to the ground, headlight placement, and two passenger style is easy to recognize.

Then a Volkswagen Beetle pulled up next to me at a stoplight. Now, there is a car uniquely different from all the other cars...and it always has been. It truly stands out. From 1938 to 2003, the two door, 4 passenger Bug was available with its engine in the rear. Such a revolutionary new concept from the traditional long and big sedans of the United States.
There are those of us that are so unique and different, we stand out in a group. Do you remember Tiny Tim from the 1980's? He played the ukulele and sang "Tip Through the Tulips" mainly in a falsetto voice. Due to his unique persona and style he stood out from other performers and was easily recognized. He built his career on his uniqueness.

We each have our different personalities. According to Webster's Dictionary a personality is "a combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual's distinctive character." How do we develop our personalities? Is it genetic, familial, life events, influence of other people?

Most psychologists agree that these two factors—temperament and environment—influence the development of a person's personality the most. Temperament, with its dependence on genetic factors, is sometimes referred to as "nature," while the environmental factors are called "nurture."

There are stages in the development of our personality: infancy, toddler, preschool, school, and adolescence.

Some people have taken the Multiple Minnesota Personality Inventory, which was first published in 1943. It has gone through several revisions and is still used today to assess personality and psychopathology. I took the test a couple of times as part of a pre-employment requirement.

According to the Myers-Briggs test I am an INFJ, which is the rarest personality type. It appears to be a very common personality among writers. It is a simple test and you might learn something about yourself! I direct you to this link https://storyempire.com/2017/05/10/personality-types-and-writers/?c=2933#comment-2933 for a most interesting read about personality types and writers by the very talented author, Mae Clair, who is also a member of Rave Reviews Book Club. From her blog it was discovered how may of us writers are INFJ's.

The personality test Enneagram seems to be more about what kind of a person you are. It divides the personality into nine categories, which has in itself raised some controversy. Despite the controversial viewpoints, it is a method of self-understanding. I show to be "The Helper."

There is the theory that we are either Type A or Type B personalities. The "A's" were time driven, anxious, impatient whereas the "B's" were relaxed, more reflective, and non-competitive. This theory is not as well accepted because of the small number of people in the study.

The message from this blog is that we are each a uniquely beautiful human being. The important part of this look at personalities is how we contribute to society, interact with others, and how happy or content with who we are. We can make changes if we want to. We can learn to be more outgoing or more shy; to be more assertive or more laid back; or to be more of a leader or a follower. Whatever changes we choose to make they must be true to our essence.

              I WANT TO BE A VW BEETLE THAT IS CUTE AND GETS THINGS DONE
                           EFFICIENTLY, BUT HAVE THE SPEED OF A CORVETTE!


Thank you, Mae Clair for your contribution to this blog. I encourage you to go to her website and check out her books. https://maeclair.net/blog/



Saturday, May 6, 2017

LIFE IS LIKE A RAINBOW

            AFTER A STORM, THERE ARE RAINBOWS

There may not be a pot of gold in the literal sense, but rainbows symbolize opportunities to be healthier, happier, and more complete. In Native American culture some tribes believe the
rainbow is a bridge between the spiritual and human world; Buddhists believe the seven colors represent the seven continents. In Irish culture a rainbow is synonymous with a pot of gold; and in the Polish culture the pots of gold are a gift from angels. Christians believe that the rainbow is a sign from God that the world will not be destroyed by a flood again and in the book of Revelations it is a sign of the second coming of Jesus.

I believe there are seven lessons to be learned from a rainbow. My thanks to www.colorpsychology .org and Dr. Jennifer Kunst for her article "Seven Strategies To Truly Be Here Now."


RED is the first color of a rainbow. It has the highest wavelength with each subsequent color 
         decreasing in wavelength. In Christianity this arc corresponds to Archangel Uriel which 
         represents wisdom and energy. In modern day Buddhism and Hinduism the red arc  
         corresponds with the base chakra, which is the first chakra that connects a human to the 
         physical plane. 

                   #1. Turn toward reality. Don't turn away from life, but towards it.


ORANGE represents creativity and the ability to enjoy oneself.  It is the second chakra which 
         is associated with fertility, sexuality, and creativity.

                  #2 Embrace your life as it is rather than as you wish it to be.


YELLOW is associated with Archangel Jophiel which represents the brilliance of wisdom and
                  thoughts. According to the chakra beliefs of Buddhists and Hindus, it is the seat
                  man's ego and personal power.

                 #3 Take your time.Slow, disciplined, incremental growth is the kind
                       of approach that leads to lasting change.


GREEN  is the fourth color and represents health, wealth, and love. It is where love is given
               and received.

                   #4 Practice gratitude; it is a recipe for emotional health and well-being.


BLUE is the fifth color and is associated with Archangel Michael who represents spirituality.
           Within the chakra belief system it is in the throat area and is where the ability to
           speak with purity resides.

                   #5 Stay close to your feelings, even the painful ones. We need our feelings to
                         find satisfaction, meaning, and pleasure in life.


INDIGO represents the bridge between the conscious and subconscious. It is called the 
              third eye in Buddhism and Hinduism; the ability to see the unseen on the 
              spiritual level.

                     #6 Accept success and failure as part of life's journey. We are all learning.
                          No one gets it right every time. A more compassionate attitude towards
                          ourselves only helps us grow.


VIOLET  is the final color and has the lowest wavelength. It is a mixture of red and blue and
               represents mercy. It is the highest chakra point where human consciousness
               connects with the Divine.

                    #7 Tend to your loving relationships. These relationships don't just happen
                         magically; they grown and are sustained through attentive care and 
                         sometimes hard work.


                Thank you for visiting this blog today. I welcome your thoughts and comments.




Saturday, April 29, 2017

CHARLES PORTER: LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT




I am pleased to welcome, Charles Porter to my blog this week. He has an amazing story to share about his journey with cancer from which we can all learn. He has faced his cancer with dignity and through books, articles, and presentations helps others face their cancer or other life-altering diseases. We "met" through the website, "Anti-Cancer Club."





In April of 2010 I was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I was thirty years old and in what I thought was the prime of my life. I was in the best shape of my life. I had recently appeared in Italian Men’s Vogue or better known as L’uomo Vogue. I had a string of Independent films in the can and national commercials airing. The momentum was in my favor but my diagnosis completely flipped the direction of my career and life on its head and I was on a journey that I had never expected. Unbeknownst to me all of the physical training and dieting that I was doing for the craft had actually prepared me for what I would face almost a year later.

I was riddled with tumors from neck to thigh and many were in my bones, breaking ribs and eating away at my spine and pelvis. We attacked the cancer with many types of chemo finally settling on one that would bring me to my knees begging for mercy. There was no other choice, I had to get a stem cell transplant and salvage chemo coupled with full body radiation would take my levels down to the point where I would be a suitable candidate for success. The transplant was a success and after my thirty day stay I was released back into the world. I was given a fresh start on life.
For days I fought back against the fatigue that this new immune system brought on to no avail. Weeks later I was able to extend my walks from five to fifteen minutes.

Eventually I was up to half an hour or more. It took a full two years to get back into the gym and give it a good go at a challenging workout. My support team which was comprised of great friends ranging back to my middle school years, my family, and my then girlfriend and now wife. This team included people of many different cultures, backgrounds and religions and prayer was definitely at an all time high within my circle. All dominations and beliefs were welcomed, needed and appreciated. My mother, who is a registered RN made sure that food, particularly berries and salmon, was at the forefront of my treatment and recovery. I truly bought into the belief that if I could move then I can heal and I made it a priority to stay as active as possible even if it were for only a few minutes during a walk. I had to stay active. I had to keep moving.

I enjoyed a brief moment in remission and had a slight set back with a relapse in May of 2015. I was told that there was a trial drug for my disease that has been having wonderful results so I gave it a shot. The plan was 105 weeks of treatment and then reassess.

My first call when I was diagnosed, once again, as disease positive was to my friend and agent Joan who was also a two time cancer destroyer.

At this point my cancer circle had expanded, as they do, and unfortunately I had seen some come to an end in their journey of life. This left me with some fear, which is normal, so I sought out the encouraging words of a fighter who has lived to tell the tale. I also sought counseling from an oncology therapist. To top it off I have included the practice of meditation into my daily regiment consistently for almost a year to date. In my seven years living with this disease I have come to the conclusion that I must seek out and use every tool available in order to obtain the moments of joy that occur and that could be missed were I constantly in a fog or under the depressing cloud that can sometimes arise in our moments of doubt.

I am now at week 94 of 105. I remember how I felt when I stepped back into the clinic for treatment on week one. I am reminded because though the treatment has decreased tumor sizes or eradicated them completely, there are others who are on their first treatment of their first and hopefully only diagnosis. Those who have experienced cancer first hand know that when you see that I.V., port or bag hanging from the pole we are all in a fight for our lives. We are fighting for our loved ones, friends, careers, pets, and hopefully for our love of life. Whatever it is that gets us up to walk in and face the day and the potential side effects from this drug or that drug, we can all share in that cause. So as I write feeling healthy and strong just having made one year as a married man and with a baby on the way, I say to us all, keep living moment by moment grateful for each day and the possibilities of tomorrow. Love the ones that love you and give it your all. Every day may not be a great day but the ones that are great are worth living.

Walk when you can walk and run when you can run. Pay attention to what you eat because as cliche as it is, your are what you eat. Seek nature and therapy as you are not alone in your anxiety or fear but there are methods to help you along the way. Of course my dream to is to finish this treatment and live a happy healthy life until my dying day but that may not be in my cards. So I will play the hand that I am dealt and play it to win. I call this post, ‘Love At First Sight’, because that is what I feel for each one in the fight whether I know you or not.

The last two treatment sessions I had I sat next to first timers and I knew there was a reason. One was by herself and she was over sixty and set in her ways, the other was a teenager and the mother was so scared. The older one was mad because her life was set in stone and this completely got in the way of her routine. I said this anger is either going to save you or kill you. She laughed. The teenager was more accepting and I encouraged her to stay positive and eat well. We both were diagnosed with the same cancer and she felt inspired by my story as did the older woman. I saw the older woman the following week on a routine check up and she was smiling and said her numbers were down and the meds were working.The smile on her face made me smile. She accepted that this was happening to her and best not to deny but to move forward. She was settling into her new routine. That is our only choice in this matter. We Must Move Forward. It’s hard and that is okay. Life is about suffering while at the same time embracing the moments of joy whenever they appear.

Much Love and Never Quit.

You can also find support from blog post, hosted segments, and book clubs at anticancerclub.com

My Instagram is cfpgram
Twitter is   @neverquit

My books available on amazon.com are:
          









         Get To Know: Unlocking the Essence in You                        


            Choose Your Path
The third installation of my books of poems will be published and released in 2018.
 Thank you for your time and encouragement as we live this journey of life.