Friday, September 29, 2017

Day 29 A month of Teal : Your Verse - My Verse

"What will your verse be? 
Each of us has something to share. A voice, a passion, a perspective. The potential to add a stanza to the world's story.   ..."

Take a few minutes to watch this ad. Don't skip it - listen to the words and look at the images.

Apple - iPad Air - TV Ad - Your Verse from EPC on Vimeo.

Apple ran this series of advertisements for the Apple iPad Air in 2014 . I thought I might want to write a blog post based on my verse so I jotted this idea down on my blog topics sheet.

As we come to the end of Ovarian Cancer Awareness month I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about my verse.

I have always been interested in science. When I graduated high school the quote going with my yearbook photo was - To the Moon and Beyond. I thought I would become and astronaut.  I never did become one, I became a chemical engineer and teacher, but the science I learned helped me many times on my life's journey.

When I was diagnosed I didn't know a lot about ovarian cancer and I hadn't met anyone with ovarian cancer. I reached out to Cancer Hope Network and talked to a support volunteer who was a 5 year ovarian cancer survivor. Then my gynecologic oncologist recommended I reach out to the Kaleidoscope of Hope Ovarian Cancer Foundation and the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Both organizations gave me the tools to learn more, empowered me to share my story, allowed me to network with other women diagnosed with the disease and gave me hope.

In the time since my initial diagnosis I have spent a great deal of time learning about ovarian cancer from genetics to pathology to histology to immunotherapy to targeted therapies. I have been given amazing opportunities to interact with oncologists, genetic counselors, researchers and other women advocates. I have shared my story with small groups of women and with audiences filled with health care providers and cancer researchers. 

I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to survive ovarian cancer and my verse must include being the voice of those women whose lives were taken too soon by a disease where an effective screening test has still not been developed.

So what is the  stanza I have added to the world's story -

Hearing the word cancer,  
My knees are weak.
With family, faith and expert doctors 
I remain in this world.
Now I take what I love and 
share my "voice,  passion, and perspective
so all will know about this disease and 
those women whose life's journey include
ovarian cancer. 

What is your verse?

Every day is a Blessing!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Day 27 A Month of Teal: 50 States of Teal

The report 50 States of Teal Ovarian Cancer Care Across America is an undertaking of the OCRFA.
The Report  "evaluated the performance of each state in connecting women to quality ovarian cancer care through 10 metrics. These metrics span the entire continuum of care, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and end-of-life care.  We awarded states one point for each metric they met, for a maximum of 10 points. The last update to the report was in 2015.

I was interested in seeing how NJ, my home state,so I searched the site and found this.


How did your state do? 

Every Day is a Blessing!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Day 26 A Month of Teal : Twitter Images for Advocacy

I use twitter to raise awareness of ovarian cancer both as an individual and as the co-moderator of the #gyncsm ( gyn cancer social media) chat.  Over the past few weeks I have compiled a few Tweets which shared informative images. Thank you OCRFA, SGO, NOCC, Foundation for Women's Cancer and the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation for these images.

Full image

Have you seen any photos or graphics that you feel have helped to raise awareness this month? Please share a link in the comments below.  

Every Day is a Blessing!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Day 25 A Month of Teal: OC Around The World

Women are at risk for ovarian cancer around the world.

Ovarian Cancer is the 7th most common cancer worldwide.
There were 239,000 new cases of ovarian cancer worldwide in 2012.
The rate of ovarian cancer was 2 times higher in Central and Eastern Europe than in Eastern Asia.
The highest incidence of ovarian cancer was in Europe and Northern America; 
and the lowest incidence in Africa and Asia 
About 58% of ovarian cancer cases occurred in less developed countries.
The highest death rates from ovarian cancer were found in 
Lithuania, Ireland, Latvia, Poland and Norway


Every Day is a Blessing

Friday, September 22, 2017

Day 22 A Month of Teal: Gene Mutations and Ovarian Cancer

Most ovarian cancers are sporadic. They are caused by somatic mutations.

But about 20 to 25 percent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a hereditary tendency to develop the disease. This tendency is called Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (HBOC). HBOC may be diagnosed if your family history shows multiple members of the same side of your family being diagnosed with breast and/or ovarian cancer. lists these situations as indicative of HBOC
  • 1 or more women are diagnosed at age 45 or younger
  • 1 or more women are diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50 with additional family history of cancer, such as prostate cancermelanoma, and pancreatic cancer
  • There are breast and/or ovarian cancers in multiple generations on the same side of the family, such as having both a grandmother and an aunt on the father’s side both diagnosed with these cancers
  • A woman is diagnosed with a second breast cancer in the same or the other breast or has both breast and ovarian cancers
  • male relative is diagnosed with breast cancer
  • There is a history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and/or pancreatic cancer on the same side of the family
  • There is a history of breast and/or ovarian, pancreatic, or male breast cancer in a family of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
What germline mutations are linked to Hereditary Ovarian Cancer?
"Between 65 and 85 percent of germline mutations are in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. The lifetime risk of ovarian cancer in women with a BRCA1 gene mutation is 40 to 60 percent, and the lifetime risk in women with a BRCA2 gene mutation is 20 to 35 percent."

"A significantly increased risk of ovarian cancer is also a feature of certain rare genetic syndromes, including a disorder called Lynch syndrome. Lynch syndrome is most often associated with mutations in the MLH1 or MSH2 gene and accounts for between 10 and 15 percent of hereditary ovarian cancers."

Are there other mutations linked to  ovarian cancer? 
Yes, other mutations  include:

It is recommended by the Society of Gynecologic Oncology that all women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have genetic testing. (
The SGO also has available a Genetics Toolkit 2016  online.

Additional information on HBOC may be found on the FORCE website 

My next post for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month will be on Monday Sept 25th. 

Every Day is a Blessing! 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Day 21 A Month of Teal : Your Treatment Team

In the past few posts I have discussed different treatments that women diagnosed with ovarian cancer may undergo . You might think the only members on your health care team are a gynecologic oncologist or surgeon, oncologist and oncology nurses. That is what I thought too initially. But I was wrong.

I learned in a very short period of time that there were other very valuable members of my team.

On my team was my pharmacist who helped me create a schedule for taking my medications to prevent nausea, constipation and pain without interfering with other prescriptions I was taking.

On my team was my social worker who was there when I needed a shoulder to cry on or a technique to keeping me calm while waiting for test results or when my treatment was delayed due to low white blood counts.

On my team was my nutritionist  who gave me tips on what to eat to try to get my hemoglobin higher and how to eat smaller meals through the day.

On my team was my genetic counselor who I spoke to before ( we put together a pedigree/ family tree) and after having genetic testing ( we discussed the results).

On my team was my pathologist who even thought I never meeting him/her in person provided me with information that impacted the treatments I had.

On my team was my radiologist who let me know when my tumors were shrinking and when I was disease free. I was lucky enough to meet one radiologist in person.

On my team was my clinical trial nurse who gave me her cell phone so I could reach out to her at any time with questions and concerns.

On my team were the oncology treatment nurses who made sure I was administered the correct chemotherapy.

On my team was the cancer center staff who greeted me warmly as I signed in for chemo and scheduled port flush and  follow-up appointments.

All of these people played a role in my life for months at a time.

You may read more about your treatment team on the Patient Resource Page 
Cancer Care

Every Day is a Blessing!