Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Celebrate Culinary Arts and Support NOCC

The NJ Restaurant Association
and ArtPride NJ Foundation
invite you to
Inspiring Women
A Celebration of the Visual and Culinary Arts
This exhibit features the work of New Jersey women artists.
The opening reception on March 5 showcases
the culinary talents of
New Jersey women chefs
at Hospitality House,
NJ Restaurant Association's
historic townhouse.
A silent auction, pairing artistic & culinary delights, awaits your bids.

Proceeds benefit

ArtPride NJ Foundation, the NJ Restaurant Association,
National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

$50.00 per person
Participating Restaurants (as of 2/3/12)

Restaurant Serenade, Chatham

Terra Momo Restaurant Group, Princeton

Milford Oyster House, Milford

Landmark Hospitality, Jersey City

Assembly Steakhouse, Englewood Cliffs

Kuzina by Sophia, Cherry Hill

Hudson County Community College, Jersey City

RSVP by clicking here
For questions contact:
Madeline Orton at
or 609-479-3377 ext. 305

Every Day is a Blessing!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Endometriosis and Ovarian Cancer

A study published in The Lancet Oncology on February 22, 2012 (Association between endometriosis and risk of histoligical subtypes of ovarian cancer:pooled analysis of case-control studies ) showed that women with endometriosis had a significantly increase risk of low grade serous, endometrioid and clear-cell ovarian cancers. Researchers reviewed data from over 23000 women in 13 different studies who reported endometriosis. Other subtypes ( high grade, mucinous etc ) did not show the association. The study did not show a cause-and-effect relationship. The study recommends future research to understand how endometriosis is transformed into a malignant condition.

Additional information may be found here.

Every Day is a blessing!

Monday, February 27, 2012

PTSD and Cancer Survivors

I attend a support group. We talk a lot, just ask Julie our social worker. Sometimes we laugh when we think about parrots and Topotecan treatment and sometimes we cry. We also share information with each other. My friend and OC survivor,Pam, recently sent me a link to the Mayo Clinic blog Living with Cancer blog written by Sheryl Ness, RN about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Cancer survivors. You might think of PTSD as an anxiety disorder that occurs only in combat situations or when your life is threatened in a natural disaster or a physical assault. You can learn more about PTSD on this PubMed Health page.

But studies have found PTSD may also occur in cancer patients. We experience a life-threatening medical diagnosis. We experience shock in hearing our diagnosis and as cancer survivors live longer our lives may receive repeated threats as we face recurrences. The NCI has a excellent section on its site dealing with PTSD.
"PTSD in cancer survivors may be expressed in these specific behaviors:
  • Reliving the cancer experience in nightmares or flashbacks and by continuously thinking about it.
  • Avoiding places, events, and people connected to the cancer experience.
  • Being continuously overexcited, fearful, irritable, and unable to sleep.
To be diagnosed as PTSD, these symptoms must last for at least one month and cause significant problems in the patient's personal relationships, employment, or other important areas of daily life. Patients who have these symptoms for less than one month often develop PTSD later. "

To read more please Click here for the NCI section.

If you have the feelings described above or you are a caregiver of a loved one who is expressing these behaviors please speak to your health care provider.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Loss of Another Teal Sister- Nicole

Just about a year ago I wrote the post It Really is About the Attitude . It was about Nicole Christison , my friend Larry's niece. I met her at his son's wedding. Nicole was battling ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer like mine but at the same time different. Instead of the serous epithelial type I had, Nicole had the small cell subtype. Small cell Ovarian Cancer is a rare disease which accounts for about .1% of all the ovarian cancers diagnosed.

Today I learned that Nicole lost her battle with cancer.She was 29. What a courageous battle she fought.

It is hard to explain how I feel right now. I am sad. And I am angry. Angry that another young vibrant life has been lost to this disease. Angry that we don't have a better understanding of this subtype. Angry that because the subtype is so rare that novel treatments and clinical trials to test those treatments are scarce.(Oncology review)

What can I do ? What can you do? Together we must raise awareness of all types of Ovarian Cancer and just as important we must fund research into all subtypes of the disease.
I will do this for Nicole.

Rest in Peace Nicole.

Every Day is a Blessing!

CSC -CNJ Embrace Hope Luncheon

Embrace Hope Luncheon

A Luncheon to Support Cancer Support Community Central NJ

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at Hamilton Farm Golf Club

Featuring Motivational Speaker

Deborah Morosini, MD
sister/sister-in-law of the late
Dana & Christopher Reeve

Event Cost: $100 per person (includes lunch and valet parking)

For tickets and more information

Thought my readers in NJ might be interested in this event. The Cancer Support Community of Central NJ
offers networking and support groups, educational programs and lifestyle classes to improve the lives of survivors of cancer.

Every Day is a blessing

Friday, February 24, 2012

Missing Her Since 1995

On Monday, I read a post on the blog The Pink Underbelly titled "Blindsided". The author wrote about running across a hospice booklet she had received in 2005 when her mom was dying. She described being blindsided by the grief she felt.

On this gray and dreary day in NJ as I sat making out a check, I stopped to look at the date on my calendar - February 24th. I said out loud " Today would have been Bert's birthday" and I started to tear up. I didn't think my husband heard me but he came in from the study and gave me a big hug and I cried. It seems that you don't even need to find things to have the loss of someone touch you in amazing ways years later.

Roberta, who I called Bert, died in 1995 after fighting breast cancer for five years. I so wish that I could pick up the phone and talk to her like we used to. Except in addition to talking about our children we would talk about our wonderful son-in-laws and adorable grandsons. And we would laugh about how I went north instead of south on the Turnpike today.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Teal Tea- May 6,2012

Ready for a fun way to raise funds for ovarian cancer research. Then join me on May 6, 2012 at the Teal Tea in Princeton, NJ. Wait till you see what table decorations I have planned for this year.
Click here for more information about the Teal Tea Foundation and the Tea!

Every Day is a Blessing!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Research: Freezing Tumors, Faulty Dendritic cells and Platelets

Check out some interesting research news.

Wayne State University researchers found freezing ovarian cancer tumors improved survival rates in women with late stage disease who present with a small number of tumors. Twenty-one women were in the study ("Cryoablation of Metastatic Ovarian Cancer for Local Tumor Control: Improved Survival and Estimated Cost-Effectiveness, ) using cryoablation.

OC Progression and Dendritic Cells
Using mouse models Wistar Cancer Center researchers have found that a women's own dendritic cells may aid in the progression of malignant ovarian cancer cells into metastatic disease. The dendritic cells alert the immune system to threats but also suppress other anti-tumor cells from working properly. Researchers are already working on reprogramming RNA to restore these dendritic cells to their tumor fighting role.


Thrombocytosis ( high platelet levels) and high levels of interleikin -6 was associated with advanced disease and shortened survival . The study analyzed 619 patients with epithelial ovarian cancerand then looked at human samples and mouse models to study the mechanism of the thromobcytosis.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Doxil Shortage Update - a Source in India

The FDA informed USA Today on Monday that a source of Doxil ( doxorubicin HCL Liposome) has been found in India. The FDA will allow the drug to be imported from Sun Pharma Global, which has been inspected by the FDA .

Information on Lipodox can be found here.

The job now is to prevent this shortage situation from happening again with other generic drugs critical to the survival of cancer patients.

Every day is a Blessing
doxorubicin HCl liposome injection

Monday, February 20, 2012

Link Up: 10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me

My friend who writes the blog Rambling Follower invited me to participate in this Link-Up. So now that things have settled down at home here are 10 things you might not know about me.

  1. If need be, I can replace the float, flapper and handle on a toilet tank and I know how to solder. I spent many days off from school and during the summer tagging along with my Dad who was a plumber.
  2. I can twirl fire. Well, maybe not anymore, but I did in high school for the Thanksgiving Day football game my senior year.
  3. I was in the Rifle Club in high school. We used to practice at the police shooting range. Ask my kids how much fun we had at the Shooting gallery at Disney.
  4. When I was in high school I dreamed of being an astronaut and loved reading science fiction.
  5. My high school guidance counselor told me I didn't really want to be an engineer. I proved her wrong. I graduated in the second class of women to ever graduate from Rutgers College. I have an undergrad degree in Chemical Engineering and a graduate degree in Material Science from the College of Engineering.
  6. I was a coxswain for the lightweight men's crew team in college. In four years I was thrown into many lakes and rivers including Lake Carnegie, Lake Cayuga, the Housatonic, the Schuylkill, & the Raritan.
  7. I have two US patents for packaging. ( # 4,775,523 & # 4,590,065).
  8. I call tomato sauce "gravy" and find nothing more comforting than gravy and meatballs on Sunday.
  9. I enjoy traveling and I hope to visit all 50 states. I have 17 more to go.
  10. I collect bells. They run the gamut from silver Christmas bells, to glass blown to brass bells.
If you are one of my blogger friends feel free to write your own list and leave a comment so I can read more about you.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

"In sickness and in health"

The true test of any relationship is when one of the individuals becomes ill. In the past seven years, I have had two major abdominal surgeries, 15 chemo treatments, a heart catheterization, 1 MRI, 3 PET scans, 15 CT scans , and countless blood tests and port flushes. Nick has been there every step of the way.

In the course of our marriage Nick has been ill and in the hospital one time, thirteen years ago. During the past week I have been the one making the trips to the hospital, eating the cafeteria food, making the insurance phone calls, keeping family and friends up-to-date on how things were going. And when I came home I was the one taking care of things around the house from taking care of the dogs to paying bills to putting out the garbage and recycling. I have a new found understanding of what the past seven years has been like for Nick. It has been emotionally and physically exhausting but I would not want to do or be anywhere else except here by his side every step of the way.
Every Day is a Blessing!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Roll Reversal

I write this post from the hospital where I had both my ovarian cancer surgeries. I write this from the same floor where I stayed after my surgery. But this time I am here as the caregiver and family member. I write this post from my husband's hospital room.

On Friday, he had emergency surgery for a hernia that contained a kinked bowel which caused a blockage. The surgery went well and he was able to avoid the complications to the bowel such as resection or colostomy that could have occurred.

This time I was the one waiting in the surgical waiting room watching the monitor for information about my husband. First it listed him in pre-op. Then the monitor showed he was in surgery. And the minutes ticked by and became hours. Then the monitor said he was in recovery and the surgeon came out to speak to me. The waiting room is same room Nick fondly calls the "fish tank" room. This time I am the one making the trips to the dining room on the 2nd floor. I am the one figuring out where the ice machine is. I never needed to know that before. I was the one worrying and pacing the floor. I was the one driving home alone.

It is not easy feeling so helpless. I just want to make things better.Being the caregiver is tough. Now I can appreciate how Nick felt when I had my surgeries. It is an emotional and tiring time.

Posting will be few and far between over the next few days.

Every Day is a Blessing! Blessed to have such a wonderful surgeon and his team taking care of my husband.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Doctors Don't Follow OC Guidelines

The has been a buzz on the internet about a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine titled " Vignette-Based Study of Ovarian Cancer Screening: Do U.S. Physicians Report Adhering to Evidence-Based Recommendations?". In the study , 1800 family physicians,internists and gynecologists answered a 12 page survey regarding women's annual exams and their offers or orders for a transvaginal ultrasound (TVU) or CA-125 blood test .

The conclusion of the study was
"One in 3 physicians believed that ovarian cancer screening was effective, despite evidence to the contrary. Substantial proportions of physicians reported routinely offering or ordering ovarian cancer screening, thereby exposing women to the documented risks of these tests"

The report also stated that 33% of the doctors offered TVU and the CA-125 to low risk women. Everyone should know that physicians answered questions based on patient scenarios. The doctors were not answering questions about their actual patients.

Although I am happy that physicians are aware of ovarian cancer there appears to be a need to better educate physicians that screening of asymptomatic women is not recommended by any professional medical organization or government agency . Maybe one of the ovarian cancer organizations ( OCNA or NOCC or even FORCE) might develop some continuing education training for physicians regarding ovarian cancer symptoms, risk factors, the CA-125 test, a review of the studies regarding screening and the different way they should interact with both low risk and high risk women.

If you would like to read further commentary on this study please see:
Wall Street Journal

Huffington Post

Every Day is a Blessing

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cancer Support Community Website Relaunch

The Cancer Support Community is relaunching their website and blog in the next few days. Over the past 6 years, I have taken part both as a participant and a workshop provider in many Cancer Support Community Central NJ programs. I was pleased to learn that the CSC blog will include my Women of Teal blog in their blog roll. Thank you CSC.

You can find the new site at

CSC has so much to offer news, downloadable tools, and support groups, both online and at their affiliate facilities. In NJ there are four affiliates.

  • CSC Central New Jersey, Bedminster ( formerly known at the Wellness Community)
  • CSC Northern Jersey Shore , Eatontown
  • Gilda's Club Northern NJ, Hackensack
  • Gildas Club South Jersey, Linwood

Click here for addresses, maps etc.

If you are a cancer survivor or caregiver I am sure you will find information about survivorship, support and guidance at the CSC. I know I have.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

World Cancer Day


Today is World Cancer Day! A day to raise awareness , prevention and treatment of cancer throughout the world.

What will I do?
I will donate to my Celebrate Hope campaign to raise funds for OC research at the Cancer Institute of NJ.

Every Day is a blessing

Friday, February 3, 2012

Survivors Teaching Student Program - OCNA

I know that I have readers from all over the country who are OC survivors. You can help future health care practitioners learn the symptoms of ovarian cancer and diagnose it earlier by sharing your story. Please consider becoming a volunteer with the Survivor Teaching Students Program now being coordinated by my friend , Susan Leighton.

We all have a story to tell! Did you know that the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance has a program that gives you the chance to tell your story while educating future doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants? Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women’s Lives® is an innovative educational program through which future healthcare professionals increase their understanding of ovarian cancer symptoms and risk factors so they will be able to diagnosis the disease sooner. Sharing your story and relating it to the risks factors and symptoms of ovarian cancer puts a face on the disease. It truly makes an impact on the students. Ask anyone of the hundreds of women nationwide who volunteer their time to make this program a success why they participate, and you will hear how rewarding it is to know they are helping women who will be treated by these students in the future. The reaction of the students to our stories is empowering! We need volunteers throughout the country. Training is provided. If you are ready to help, please email me, For more information, please visit

Every Day is a Blessing!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Celebrating Hope and Giving Back to The Cancer Institute of New Jersey

In July of 2005, I heard the words “ You have Stage 3 ovarian cancer”. My gynecologic- oncologist at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey ( CINJ) told me that I should not look at the survival statistics for ovarian cancer because statistics are just that statistics not individuals. Then she told me she would do her best to make me well.

Well, here we are in 2012 almost seven years later and the doctors at CINJ have made me well not just in 2005 but again in 2008. Currently, I am disease free. I am certain that taking part in the CINJ clinical trial lead by Dr. Lorna Rodriguez and the outstanding treatment and follow-up care by Dr. Darlene Gibbon has made the good health I experience today possible.

In the past I have asked you to donate to other organizations in support of ovarian cancer awareness and research. This year during the month of February, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in New Jersey, I am asking you to directly support the ovarian cancer research that is taking place at CINJ by donating to the Cancer Institute of NJ Foundation through my personal fundraising campaign. I hope to raise $5000 so the doctors and scientists can continue their research to better understand ovarian cancer, develop new treatments and find a cure .

As a special thank-you, I will mail a note card of my painting called “Hope” to the first forty-five donors. You can see a photo of the note card on my donor page at . If you prefer you may also go to that page and print out a form and mail in your donation.

Thank you in advance for your donation.



PS- The relative five year survival rate for late stage ovarian cancer is 30%. )

Every Days is a Blessing!