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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, July 31, 2017


How do we define the word awe? According to the dictionary, "it is a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder." We often see it in nature, but I am often in awe of certain people and what they do. 

I am in awe of the many men and women I have met who have successfully overcome tremendous challenges or illnesses. What gives them the strength, power, and fortitude to climb out of the valley of despair to the mountain of joy and health?

         I think of Mother Teresa who had many obstacles and hardships to overcome, but she never stopped believing in the importance of her work. She never gave up.

         The more I read about Abraham Lincoln, the more I am in awe of all he achieved against all odds. He persevered because he knew what was right for this country.

         Martin Luther King, Jr. pushed through to bring equality to his people. He refused to be stopped even during the worst of times. His faith kept him strong.

          I am in awe of the parents I have met who had a child die, or like my grandmother whose only three children died before she did. She and other parents rely on their faith and purpose of life to overcome such grief.

          The many women and men who give their lives to helping others either as volunteers in the chemotherapy room, at the food banks, organizing marches and fundraisers, giving to the homeless without a second thought, and those that have developed businesses, charities, websites, etc. to bring attention to a cause. Those millions of people who help their neighbor or a total stranger just because they need the help.

There is an organization called WEGO Health "is a mission-driven company connecting healthcare with the experience, skills, and insights of patient leaders." I have been involved with this company for a number of years as an advocate and more recently as a health expert. There are some incredibly dedicated men and women who are helping others. I am in awe as I scroll down the list. https://awards.wegohealth.com/nominees? I invite you to go down the list of some 200 men and women and endorse those who touch your heart in a special way.

Who are you in awe of and why? When I think of my heroes and heroines who have or are trying to make the world a healthier, happier, and better place to live, I look deeply into myself. Am I doing all I can? Am I sharing and caring as much as possible? Do I give to others as generously as I could? Do I wear more smiles or frowns? Do I praise or be too critical? Is my hand outstretched or held back?
When I see a mountain, a hawk, or a butterfly, I remember the valleys I have climbed out of, the power of soaring with God beneath my wings, and that I am no longer a caterpillar, but a beautiful butterfly hopefully nurturing people with love.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


This is a blog written by a breast cancer survivor, blogger, and advocate. I met Sylvia Swanson a few months ago when I gave a talk about ovarian cancer to the group "Friends After Diagnosis." She has given me permission to share this blog with you.

When faced with a challenge, and sometimes that challenge is cancer, we each dig deep into our inner resources for help with this unexpected event, and hopefully, open ourselves to the wisdom of others who have walked the same road.  As I was working my way through breast cancer I came across this quote from Eckhart Toole, “Some changes look negative on the surface, but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”  This brought to mind the phrase ‘look beneath the surface’ which became my mantra.

I slowly began to realize that just as we know there is a lot going on under the ground we walk on, or the ocean we swim in, beneath the surface of our tough experiences there are gifts to be discovered.  Once I realized the richness of what was happening to me beneath the surface, I thanked my Higher Power and followed my instinct to explore this further.  This created a heightened awareness of the treasure this quiet time apart from my usual activities was offering me.

Here is some of what I discovered beneath the surface of cancer.  One of the most valuable gifts I received was the gift of getting to know myself more deeply, clarifying my priorities, and changing some personal choices.  A part of myself I did not know had gently invited me to come closer for a deeper befriending of myself, encouraging me to let go of the negative attitude of unworthiness and transform how I see myself.  This meant honoring my limits and letting go of an activity that was meaningful for five years to refocus my energy in a different direction. 

Other gifts took the form of new empathy for anyone who has lost a body part, dealt with skin grafts, or needed multiple surgeries (I had six surgeries in ten months).  At a deeper level, I experienced the value of a tender touch, which can often say more than words.  Hugs are serotonin boosters and powerful healers.  Another discovery was the miracle that happens when we let go of someone we love who needs to make their own way, mistakes and all, by themselves.  From my husband’s help and patience I received the gift of more love than I thought possible, which strengthened our bond because we no longer take life for granted, but instead savor every precious moment.  And, beneath the surface of cancer, I found the beauty of support groups who understand, as only one who experiences it can.

Challenging as my journey has been, after all the tears were cried (and there were a lot of tears including an uncontrollable bout in Publix), and the losses acknowledged, for me, looking below the surface and seeing so many gifts has more than balanced the scale.  Susan Vreeland sums this up well with this quote, “No matter where life takes you….the place where you stand at any moment is holy ground.  Love hard and love wide and love long, and you will find the goodness in it.”



Saturday, July 8, 2017


What is beauty? We know it when we see it and we utter such words as "wow," "incredible," "amazing," or "oh my God." What is beautiful for one person, may not be for another. According to Wikipedia it "provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction."

In nature I find beauty everywhere I look. I am blessed to live on a lake where floral and fauna is all around me. The beauty of the eagle soaring above the water looking for his next prey; the heron which gracefully and slowly strides along the seawall; the alligator that glides across the water sometimes only showing his eyes; or the mockingbird who hops along the grass making his chirping sounds mimicking other birds.

The beauty I find in people comes from far more than their physical attributes. There may well be physical attributes that draw me to him or her, but if there is shallowness, egotism, or negativity then any perceptual experience of pleasure quickly disappears.

There are men and women in my life who are not "movie star beautiful" just from the physical sense, but their love, kindness, generosity, and gentleness make them more than movie star beautiful. They are the essence of providing pleasure because of who they are inside.

My great-grandfather wrote of his model and mistress (my great-grandmother) that she was the ethereal woman. By that she had not only great physical beauty, but also had the inner beauty coming from the depths of her soul. You can read about them in my most recent novel, Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Avail. at Amazon. Here is the link: (goo.gl/68D6QT)

My memories of junior and senior high school might be similar to yours. The physically pretty girls and the good-looking boys were the popular ones. They were a minority but many flocked to be around them. They were the homecoming kings and queens, the jocks and captains of sport teams, and the rest of us often wished we could be like them.

Once I finished college, I quickly discovered that many of those popular kids did not do well in college or life after high school. Some got married too soon. Others had babies before they had themselves truly grown up. And time began to take its toll on their physical attributes of beauty.

Every great religion teaches the importance of the beauty of the soul. We are to bring love, pleasure, and happiness to others. That is what beauty is about. In my book, Outshine I write "...that the beauty of the soul, the real me and the real you, outshines the effects of cancer, chemotherapy, and radiation."

Every rainbow, sunset or sunrise, animal, flower, and tree bring great beauty to my life as does those people whether friends or strangers bring beauty to my life by letting love shine through them.