Saturday, January 29, 2011

February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in NJ - KOH Event

Last year the NJ State legislature passed a law( S2363) designating February Ovarian Cacner Awareness month in NJ. So we in NJ have two special months to raise awareness of the disease that affects more than 700 women a year in NJ.

The Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation will be holding an awareness event and fundraising event on February 18th. Here is the info I received from KOH.


FRIDAY - February 18th, 2011
Open House from 6PM-9PM @ The Wine Chateau
1380 Centennial Ave Piscataway NJ 08854

Please join us in raising awareness and funding Ovarian Cancer research.

100% of the evening's Silpada Jewelry Showcase proceeds will be donated to the Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation in honor of NJ-Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Exquisite, handcrafted, genuine .925 Sterling Silver Silpada Designs Jewelry provided by Independent Representative, Debra Martin.

Complimentary Wine Tasting hosted by Brian Freedman, resident blogger and Director of Wine Education at The Wine School of Philadelphia.

Please help us spread the word, bring a friend or a few ... stop-in anytime between 6PM & 9PM and Party for a Purpose!

Suggested Minimum Donation = $15

Personal Check, Visa, Mastercard, Amex & Discover cards accepted for jewelry purchases. NO CASH SALES ALLOWED @ THIS VENUE.

Thank You !
The Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation


Every Day is a Blessing!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Are you a Caregiver in NJ Looking for a Support Group?

The Teal Wings of Hope Foundation is starting a cancer caregiver support group in Hamilton , NJ in March of this year. The group will meet the second Wednesday of the month and will be professionally facilitated. Please contact Karen Neuls at (609) 213-9508 or for more information.

Thanks Karen and Teal Wings of Hope Foundation for seeing a need in our part of NJ to support caregivers and to find a way to provide that support.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Words

As most of you know, I have been writing this blog since December 2007. I began writing to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer by sharing my story and providing links to news, research and ovarian cancer events in New Jersey.

I can't tell you how excited I was in late December when I was notified by Becky Walker from the Navigating Cancer website that they had chosen to add my blog to their Ovarian Cancer resource page. Thanks, Becky! The great thing is that this new site is a fantastic resource for all cancer survivors. You will find many helpful forms and pages for your medical history, to track your treatments and side-effects, and to keep track of doctor visits, etc. In addition there are online Navigating Cancer communities for different cancers so that patients can share their experiences and news/ advice. If you join the ovarian cancer group be sure to send me a message and say Hello! ( I'll be placing Navigating Cancer on my resource page so you can check back at any time for the link.)

Earlier this week my friend and blog author, Allison asked if she could post my entry John Paul II and I as a guest blog on Why I Am Catholic. Of course I said "Yes" to her request to be part of such a faith-filled blog and to make people in a different community aware of what it is like to be an ovarian cancer survivor. Thanks Allison for your friendship and the opportunity to share my story.

Every Day is a Blessing! We are having yet another snowstorm here in NJ but I am blessed to see the beauty of the snow on the trees!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The World of Cancer Bloggers

Updated 2:00pm

Over the past five years I have become friends with a number of other ovarian cancer bloggers. There are blogs written by survivors in England, Canada and throughout the United States. When I log in to update my blog I make sure to check out all the blogs I follow. ( See the column on the right.) We don't have a large numbers bloggers but we have managed to find each other.

Today I was saddened to learn that Daria Maluta , writer of Living With Cancer had passed. My sympathies to her family and friends. You are in my thoughts and prayers .

Thank you Daria for letting us join you on your journey . We will miss you.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Friday, January 21, 2011

John Paul II and I

©"L'Osservatore Romano" photos from the book John Paul II: A Light for the World.

I have written this blog about my experience as an ovarian cancer survivor for over three years now. I've shared stories about my CT and PET scans, the anxiety of waiting for CA-125 results, the options I had when I recurred, the sadness I felt when friends lost their battle and the decisions I made when I recurred and . But I also wrote about the good times,the support of my husband, the great medical care I received, the relief I felt when I was in remission, the happiness when my daughter married, how proud I was of my son when he graduated college and then graduate school and how thrilled I was when we traveled places I only dreamed about seeing. People often ask me how I have survived these past 5 years. And was it my positive attitude and I tell them it has been " Family, Faith and Good Medicine".

Well I haven't really shared much about the Faith aspect of this journey so I thought in light of the future beatification of Pope John Paul II ( or as I fondly call him JP squared) that I would write a bit about my faith on this cancer journey.

I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. But if you go back to March of 1995, I was not very happy with my God. My sister Roberta passed away after a 5 year battle with breast cancer. My prayer was not answered.

Then in October of 1995 my daughter and I were given a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the mass offered by Pope John Paul II at the Meadowlands. It was a cool, very rainy day. But I remember clearly being moved to tears as he entered the stadium and again as he offered mass. (The photo above is actually of the Pope responding to my side of the stadium. I'd share one of my photos but we were in the very top tier , 9 rows from the top and the Pope was very small.) At the end of the Mass, I held up rosary beads which he blessed. Today , you can find those rosary beads in my pocketbook.

Fast forward to 2005, the Pope had passed away in April. He was more than my pontiff he was a world leader I looked up to and admired. I received my ovarian cancer diagnosis in July. I didn't forget those rosary beads blessed by Pope John Paul II. I used them to pray to Jesus when I was upset , I prayed during my chemo infusions and I prayed when it was 3 am and the steroids kept me awake. I thought about the dignified and holy way that Pope John Paul II faced his disease and death. That was the way I wanted to face my diagnosis.

My Aunt Dora prays to the Blessed Mother . But I pray to Mary and to Pope John Paul II. I read these words spoken by the Pope every day:

" Today, I tell you:
continue unflaggingly on the journey on
which you have set out in order
to be witnesses everywhere
of the glorious Cross of Christ .
Do Not Be Afraid!
May the joy of the Lord,
crucified and Risen,
be your strength, and may
Mary Most Holy
always be beside you"

The Pope's words gave me the strength to continue with treatments when I really wanted to stop, the strength to face the surgery for my recurrence and the strength to get through each day whatever that day may bring. Those words still give me strength. Maybe even the strength to write this post and share my Faith with others.

Every day is a Blessing! Thank you JP squared for helping me to face this disease.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sharing a Cancer Diagnosis - Sometimes It Takes Time

When I was first diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer in 2005 , I told my family and close friends. I told my employer, a local all boys high school, about my surgery and treatment. I even had a letter to my students published in the school newspaper. In the letter I told them I had ovarian cancer, that I was going take part in a clinical trial, that I would be bald , and why I would not be able to teach while I was in treatment. I also asked my students to share information about ovarian cancer with their mom, grandmas, sisters and aunts.

Because I was enrolled in that clinical trial, I was asked in early 2006 to share my story in the Star-Ledger, a state-wide newspaper. I spoke to the reporter for about a half hour and then she asked me if she could use my full name and send a photographer to my house to take some photos. I was ok with having a photo taken. I was bald and pale but that really didn't bother me that much. But at that time, two short months after my diagnosis I was just not ready to share my story with more than my local community.What I was not ready to do was to have one of my students read about the survival rate and think I would not survive. I don't think even I wanted to face those statistics at that time. So I declined having my story published.

How things have changed during the past few years. I found my voice. I think making it through that first year and end up in remission gave me the strength to become an ovarian cancer advocate. Since that first request I have told my story in this blog, on two different ovarian cancer foundation websites, in NJ Monthly, on the TV show Good Morning NY, at a number of ovarian cancer foundation events and in numerous local and state newspapers. I kept telling my story even after I recurred in 2008. Why ? Because women need to know that others do survive a late stage ovarian cancer diagnosis.

Yet there are other women who do not want to share their story. It is their right to share as much or as little of their journey as they would like. And you know ... that is ok.

So why did I choose today to write about sharing a cancer diagnosis? A number of business news shows this morning reported that Apple CEO, Steven Jobs was taking a medical leave of absence. There was lots of speculation as too why he needed the leave including his pancreatic cancer diagnosis, how he looked at the last meeting and his liver transplant. CNBC interviewed and ethicist regarding what information Apple should or should not release about this leave. An Apple media release stated that Steve Jobs will still be involved in important decisions but the COO , Tim Cook, will be responsible for the day to day operations.

Steve Jobs might be a CEO but he is also a person with a family. So folks let us give him a little room to deal with whatever is causing him to take this leave. When the time is right for Steve Jobs to share with the world what is happening he will. And we need to respect him as a survivor to make that choice.

Ever Day is a Blessing!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Clearity Foundation & Molecular Profiling for Ovarian Cancer Patients

Yesterday I read a post on Libby's H*O*P*E Blog called

Caris Life Sciences Launches Molecular Profiling Service For Ovarian Cancer Patients

I learned about the launch of a new profiling test for ovarian cancer patients produced by Caris Life Sciences. Please hop on over to Libby's H*O*P*E and read Paul's excellent summary of this service.

The article also included a note about the Clearity Foundation. The Foundation a 501(3) (c) non-profit provides molecular profiling tests at no cost to ovarian cancer survivors. The Foundation was founded my Dr. Laura Shawver who was diagosed with ovarian cancer in 2006. When a woman provides her tumor for a molecular profile or "Blueprint" she agrees to have her data become part of the larger database. For more information please contact the Foundation at
Every Day is a Blessing! I am so pleased to learn that more research is being done to understand the molecular profile of different types of ovarian cancer cells.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Teal Tea Foundation Fundraiser- Jan. 18th

Rosa's Ristorante Fundraiser

Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Anytime between 11:00am and 10:00pm.
3442 S. Broad Street
Hamilton, NJ 08610
Please let staff know you are there to support the Teal Tea Foundation! Take Out Too!

For more info about the Teal Tea Foundation please click here.


Every Day is a Blessing.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pink Roses Teal Magnolias- Survivor's Group for Women

UPDATED 1/14/11

Pink Roses Teal Magnolias

Survivor's Group for Women

Join us in Voorhees on January 24 as we kick-off the Survivor's Group for Women, a special 8-week program for women cancer survivors who have completed chemotherapy, are undergoing radiation, surgery, or hormone therapy. The group focuses on issues related to treatment during and survival after cancer.

Series Topics:
Role Changes
Anxiety and Worry
Body Image
Relationship Issues
Stress Management

Presented by: Cooper Cancer Institute
Registration: Please call Behavioral Medicine 856-673-4254
Start Date: Monday, January 24th, 6PM - 7PM
Duration: 8 weeks
Location: 900 Centennial Blvd., Building 1, Suite A, Voorhees NJ 08043
Cost: $32 for the entire 8-week program.
Cash or checks accepted; please make checks payable to The Cooper Cancer Institute.
Every Day is a Blessing!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

NCCN Ovarian Cancer Guidelines


The National Comprehensive Cancer Network just release a new version of the Guidelines for Ovarian Cancer Patients. It includes chapters on diagnoses, treatment, types of Ovarian Cancers, follow-up, recurrence and clinical trials . The document is informative and easy to read and navigate. You can read the online version here.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Bridge to Wellness- A Program for Cancer Patients and Caregivers

I've written about the Elixir Fund in the past. The Fund provides comfort and care to cancer patients and their caregivers in NJ and LA.

The Fund is sponsoring a new program called Bridge to Wellness at Four Winds Yoga in Pennington, NJ. The six week seminar series introduces patients and caregivers to complimentary therapies to help reduce stress and manage side-effects. So if you always wanted to learn about Meditation, Massage, Jin Shin Juytsu, Yoga, Acupuncture or Tai Chi this series is for you! The series begins on February 21st and all sessions run from 7-8:30pm. The cost of the series is $30. Registration is required. Please call 800-494-9228. Sure sounds like a great way to take a break from cancer.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A New Beginning a Few Days Late

Hello 2011! I hope the start to everyone's year has been good so far. Mine certainly has.

I know I should have written an entry sooner but "Writing on my blog more frequently" was one of 2010 's New Year resolutions. So what are my resolutions this year? Well, I don't have any. This is probably the first time ever I haven't had any resolutions to break. Does that mean I don't have any area's that need improvement ? Nope , I am just pretty content with where I am in life right now. Sure my primary care doctor would probably say that I should go on a weight loss program of some sort to help with my high blood pressure. And my gyn-onc and friends would probably say I should be out there walking more. Nick would probably say I should cook at home more. Terry and Andy would probably say I should visit more and Matt would say I should bug him a little less about calling. Ok everyone, I hear you all. I'll try in all areas but without a New Year's resolution list.

I've been thinking about why I have begun to think this way. Is it because I am a bit older? Is it because I survived cancer and a recurrence. I really don't know. Honestly , back in 2005 I did not think I would celebrate the beginning of 2006 and here I have celebrated the beginning of 2011. I do know that being a cancer survivor has changed how I look at things and do things. Some family and friends would say that has been a good thing. Some would say I have become way too opinionated for them. But that is who I am in 2011.

So without resolutions , what do I look forward to in the year ahead? I want to spend time with those I love. I don't really care what it is we do as long as we do it together.

Every Day is a Blessing!