Monday, December 30, 2013

Celebrating my Blog's 6th Anniversary

Six years ago today I started this blog. My goal was to talk about my journey as an ovarian cancer survivor and share information with women diagnosed with the disease in NJ.

My blog has come a long way since 2007. I now cover more research news and scientific meeting highlights. Over the past year, I have written about my recurrence anxiety,  research news, fundraisers and provided information about the new #gyncsm twitter chat that I co-moderate. I also posted pictures from my trip to Perth, Australia and the birth of my second grandson.

This month NOCC shared my post titled Advice From My Christmas Past on their Facebook page. I had 200 new visits to that page which lead to a December page view total for my blog of over 3000. I appreciate NOCC's support of my blog.

Thank you to all my readers for your comments, shares and e-mails . 
May you all have a Happy and Healthy 2014. 

Even after over 800 posts I look forward to providing you with the latest research news and events of interest to ovarian cancer survivor and caregivers in New Jersey.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Peace Joy and Love

At this blessed time of the year 
I wish all my readers 
Peace, Love, Joy 
 Merry Christmas

May your year ahead be a 
Happy and Healthy one.

Amber wishes you a Merry Christmas too!

Every Day is a Blessing!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

When My Alma Mater and Cancer Center Work Together

In July, Rutgers University, my alma mater, and The Cancer Institute of New Jersey(CINJ) where I have been treated merged. Recently, I have noticed the wonderful collaboration between the doctors/ researchers at CINJ and the professors at Rutgers.

Just the other day I read two articles about that collaboration.

In Rutgers Today, you will find the article Battling Cancer with Big Data .The article discusses doctors at CINJ collaborating with computer engineers at the Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute to determine a better way to treat patients with rare cancers and those with poor prognosis.  Manish Parashar is Director of RDI2.

“Our team provides the computational engine to review thousands of images, so our      collaborators at the Cancer Institute can analyze these images, search the database, test hypotheses and answer important questions,”Parashar says. “We take the imaged samples and radiology studies from one patient and ask, ’Have I seen a case like this before?’”

Analyzing the data and using matching algorithms can be done in a matter of hours.The team is studying rare pediatric cancers as well as ovarian and pancreatic cancers and sarcomas. A clinical trial is ongoing.

Surviving ovarian cancer: Rutgers scientists attack drug resistant cancer cells presents the research being done by one of my Gynecologic Oncologists, Dr. Lorna Rodriguez and Tamara Minko, professor at Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy.  CD44 is a membrane protein which when over expressed causes ovarian cancer metastasis and drug resistance. In their study, which used lab mice, the researchers found that by using small inhibiting RNA molecules to decrease the level of CD44 and the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel  they were able to cause cell death and tumor shrinkage in the mice.
Journal article:

Targeted Nanomedicine for Suppression of CD44 and Simultaneous Cell Death Induction in Ovarian Cancer: An Optimal Delivery of siRNA and Anticancer Drug

I am excited to see what the future of cancer research will look like as my Alma Mater and my cancer center continue to work together.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Sunday, December 15, 2013


I was excited when my daughter and her family moved to California and began a new stage of their lives. My husband and I were happy to take an early Christmas trip to see them. Now you understand why I haven't posted in 14 days.

It didn't matter that the temperatures were cold outside, below freezing some mornings, because my husband and I were busy with our two grandsons. We playing games, colored, read books and created weird train track designs with John. Yes, the Thomas the Tank Engine collecting has begun. We feed Thomas, watched him roll over and laughed at his giggle.

We saw the graduate school my son-in-law attends, took a ride on 17 Mile Drive and enjoyed the delicious meals my daughter made. It is hard to put into words how thrilled I am to have the chance to spend time with my daughter and son-in-law and to watch my grandchildren grow. I  can remember times in 2005 when I didn't think I would make it to Christmas.

So except for a few tweets I didn't talk or think about cancer the entire time. I wasn't Dee the ovarian cancer advocate, I was simply Grandma. And that has done wonders to enrich and energize my life.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

George Johnson's "Cancer Chronicles..."

I often describe myself  as a cancer information "hound". I am always sniffing out new information about cancer in general and gynecologic cancers in particular.

I first heard about George Johnson's new book Cancer Chronicles Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery in September. George Johnson is an accomplished science writer. He has been published in the New York Times, National Geographic and  Scientific American and wrote nine books. When I learned that he was prompted to learn more about cancer and write this book when his wife Nancy was  diagnosed with uterine papillary serous carcinoma I knew I had read the book. So I put my name on the  reserve list at my local library.

Last week my name moved to the top of the list and I picked up the book. I began reading it as soon as I got home.. The first chapter with its' discussion of cancer in dinosaurs (spinal bones from Hadrosaurus skeletons exhibit cancer.) drew me right in to the book.

Johnson covers topics from epidemiology and the structure of DNA to clinical trials, risk factors and mutations. He discusses how chemicals and environmental issues originally thought to cause cancer have been found to play a less prominent role. The book is an interesting mix of history ( he speaks of  Madame Curie in a section on radiation) and recent studies of herceptin, hedgehog genes and translational research. His wife's journey through surgery and treatment are woven into the factual information he provides.

Johnson never forgets who his audience is. He explains difficult concepts in a way that any cancer patient, survivor or caregiver can understand. He provides 60+ pages of notes and sources at the end of the book.

I highly recommend this book and regret having to return this copy to the library. I guess I will just have to buy my own copy.

More information about the book and author can be found at

Every Day is a Blessing!