Thursday, April 23, 2015

I feel so ...

I know I haven't posted in a while. Actually, I've been working on this post for a while editing and adding to it. 

A few weeks ago a very dear friend's husband passed away from prostate cancer. I knew he had no treatment options left but it still came as a shock to me. He had been a vibrant 61 year old who had retired to spend time with his wife, children and grandchildren.

It sure didn't seem fair. Cancer does that - it takes good people. Don't get me wrong I am sure it takes the lives of not so great people too. But it is torture for those with cancer and those on the journey with us.

My first thought when I heard the news was what it would be like for me if my rock, my husband of 37 years, passed away.  I don't know how I would handle it. How could I get through a funeral. And then what would happen the first time I couldn't open a jar or move a piece of furniture ? Or what happens when I feel sick and still have to walk Amber in the rain or snow? Or how do I make meals for one?

But them another odd feeling came over me. How could I face my friend.  How could I, NED for 5 years since my recurrence face my friend. Would she look and me and think - why are you still here and my husband is gone?

I felt wary of going to the wake and seeing her for the first time since her husband's death. I hesitated getting out of the car and entering the funeral home. I  waited on line and finally reached her two sons. They called me by name gave me a hug and thanked me for coming. Then I moved over to my friend. She teared up - and so did I as we hugged and I told her how sorry I was. Then she told me that she prays for me every day because having cancer sucks.Yes, it sure does. But she wasn't angry at me and that made me feel so much better.

But I continued thinking about my friend and her husband and even mentioned them during my monthly gynecologic cancer support group. When it came to my turn to update everyone I told the group how unnerving it was for me, a survivor, to face my friend when her husband died. Then I asked the women, a majority are currently in treatment, if it was OK for them to hear my reports on being NED.  At times I felt guilty about being in good health among all these women struggling to make treatment decisions and dealing with side effects. Every single one of them said they were happy I was at the group and that my presence gave them hope. Those words brought tears to my eyes and I could once again bury my survivor's guilt for a little while longer.

Cancer changes your life and your outlook on life in more ways than you can imagine.

Dee
Every Day is a Blessing!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

SGO from a Distance- Part 2

Before I begin sharing some tweets from yesterday's SGO Annual Meeting I want to share Ovarian Cancer Prevention: Ready for Prime Time a commentary written by Otis Brawley, MD in the ACS Journal CANCER. Initially the letter was not available to those who were not subscribers to CANCER. But after tweeting about survivors / advocates having to pay $6 to read the letter, editors made the commentary as well as the original article ( Society of Gynecologic Oncology recommendations for the prevention of ovarian cancer) available to all free of charge. Thank you to Wiley and the editors of the ACS Journal CANCER for responding within hours to my request.

 Where You Are Treated is Important:



Pap Test & Ovarian Cancer:



Do Ovarian Cancer Survivors Know their BRCA Status?



Cediranib and Endometrial Cancer:



Ruciparib Effectiveness in Ovarian Cancer:

Cervical Cancer and Bevacizumab:
Solving the Health Care Problem





Thanks so much to all the docs and researchers at SGO for sharing their insights during the Annual Meeting.

Dee
Every Day is a Blessing!


Monday, March 30, 2015

SGO From a Distance

Due to family commitments I was unable to attend this year's SGO Annual Meeting in Chicago. I did though follow a number of advocates and physicians who were tweeting live from the event. Here are some of the high points of the sessions from Saturday and Sunday.







Ovarian Cancer:



















Clinical Trials:



Vaccines:





 Genetics/ BRCA Mutations:






Risk Reducing Surgery:



HPV:




Exercise:




I certainly appreciate the efforts of those attending the meeting to let us at home be on top of the latest research in gynecologic cancers.

Dee
Every Day is a blessing!



Friday, March 27, 2015

Family


Our family tree - a gift from my son and daughter-in-law

Last weekend was filled with joyful celebration. We traveled to Auburn, Alabama to attend my son's wedding. My husband and I were so happy to welcome a very beautiful, caring, smart and talented "daughter" into our family and we were touched by the family and friends (both ours and my daughter-in-law's) who made the trip to witness the beginning of Matt and Amanda's new life together.

In 2008, a few weeks after my surgery for a recurrence,  two very good friends gave me an  Operation Bling Foundation necklace. During the past few years I took it out often and looked at it and thought about the support my friends provided and smiled.  But it never seemed the right time to wear it. The right time was on Saturday when I was there for a milestone in  my son's life.

I know I've written this many times before on this blog but back in 2005 I did not think I would see my son graduate college, get his Master's degree or marry. But there I was sitting in the front row with my grandson on my lap watching him and his wife say their vows. Holding back tears. Feeling very blessed.


Dee
Every Day is a Blessing! Blessed to have Amanda as part of our family.


Monday, March 16, 2015

A Teal Walk for Ovarian Cancer Research - The Sandy Sprint



No need to wait until September to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer and funds for research. You can take part in the Sandy Sprint Super Hero 5K/10K this April. The Sprint is hosted by the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation at the Philadephia Art Museum in Philadelphia.  This year is extra special as the Foundation will celebrate its 15th Anniversary.

While not required participants are encouraged to dress as their favorite Super Heros and to raise $150. If you are unable to attend you may participate as a Sleepwalker. Last year's almost 4000 participants raised $252,000 for research. Funds raised at this year's event will support the Ovarian Cancer Dream Team and the Ovarian Cancer Research Grant Program.  

I have completed this walk in the past and had lots of fun with other survivors and caregivers. These survivors would love for you to help out this year.


To register visit www.sandysprint15.kintera.org
Online registration closes on Wednesday April 22nd.


Dee
Every Day is a Blessing! Blessed for Foundations like Sandy Rollman who are raising funds for research and a cure.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Your Immune System and Cancer Treatment - Cancer Support Community Free Progam

Research into developing  immunotherapy treatments for various cancer has increased dramatically over the past few years. Here is a link to an article on the immunotherapy treatments for advanced melanoma and cervical cancer that were highlighted at the 2014 ASCO Annual meeting. 

In an effort to inform patients about immunotherapy treatments a free workshop on your immune system and immunotherapy as a cancer treatment will be presented in NJ.

Thursday , April 16, 2015
6:00-8:00 PM 
Bridgewater Manor
1251 US 202/206 
Bridgewater NJ
Dinner will be served.

Registration is required . Please contact Cancer Support Community Central Jersey at (908)-658-5400 to register (www.cancersupportcnj.org) .

Please click on the image above for speaker information and sponsors of the event.

Dee
Every Day is a Blessing! 



Subway Series, Teal and NOCC

Help raise funds to assist NOCC in it's mission to raise awareness and support women with ovarian cancer by taking part in this exciting sporting event.

A portion (15%) of the regular price tickets sold for the 4:05 pm April 25th Yankees vs  Mets baseball game at Yankee Stadium will go to NOCC.
Please click on the image below for more information or see
--> http://nocc.kintera.org/YankeesMets.

Dee
Every Day is a Blessing!