Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Help Support the DOD Ovarian Cancer Research Program

I received an e-mail this morning from OCNA regarding the appropriations for the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program  for fiscal year '15 .  I was happy to read that the author of the Senate Letter of Support for the $20M appropriation bill was no other than my NJ Senator , Robert Menendez. He has always been a strong supporter of cancer research.

If you are an ovarian cancer survivor, caregiver of an ovarian cancer survivor or family or friend of a survivor,  please click on this link ( ) , fill out this form ( a letter is already written for you) and send an e-mail to your Senator. Hurry... the Senator's signatures are required by 5pm on May 1st.

Thank you on behalf of all women diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tick Tock - 5 years

In September 2008, I gave a talk about ovarian cancer to the nursing students at Seton Hall University. I had such a nice time sharing my story as a Stage III Ovarian Cancer survivor. I also shared information about the symptoms of ovarian cancer, the risks for the disease and the disease's survival statistics with those future nurses. As I told my story I remember telling the group that the 5 year relative survival rate for ovarian cancer that has spread to distant organs was about 30%. I was at 3 years out from my initial diagnosis so I told the group that I hoped to be in that 30%. At the time I gave the talk, I didn't know that I had recurred and had disease on my liver and spleen. I would learned that a few weeks later after having a CT scan. As many of you know I had surgery in November of 2008 and started chemotherapy in 2009. At the time I wasn't sure that I would make that initial 5 year mark.

On April 22, 2009,  I had my last chemotherapy treatment. I hit 5 years from my initial diagnosis in 2010 but I had recurred. So I restarted that 5 year clock on the day I had my last chemotherapy.

Tick, Tock...2010
Tick, Tock...2011
Tick, Tock... 2012
Tick, Tock... 2013

Tick, tock... April 22, 2014 Five years!!

Feeling extremely blessed today and every day.


Every Day is a Blessing !

Monday, April 14, 2014



The Society of Gynecologic Oncologist held its annual meeting in Tampa in March. There were a number of studies whose results were presented that are of interest to ovarian cancer patients. The SGO also issued a clinical practice statement recommending genetic testing for all women diagnosed with ovarian cancer and endometrial cancers. The #gyncsm(gyn cancer social media)  chat ( of which I am co-moderator) discussed SGO News during their April 9th Chat. To see the topic questions, read the transcript of the chat or refer to the resources presented during the chat,  please see their blog page. If you want to read through the abstracts from the meeting please visit

This Foundation for Women's Cancer video shares news from the meeting.

The American Association for Cancer Research  held their annual meeting early this month in California. While this annual meeting presented research for all cancers there were a number of interesting studies related to ovarian cancer. ( Search abstracts here.) A prospective study of of over 14,000 women in the Child Health and Development study found an association between irregular menstrual periods and the diagnosis of serous ovarian cancer . In  Irregular Menstruation May Predict Increased Risk of Death From Ovarian Cancer.  published online by AACR, 

“It is notable that the 2.4-fold increase in risk of ovarian cancer death we observed for women with irregular/infrequent cycles in this study is close to the threefold increase in risk observed for women with a family history of ovarian cancer in a first-degree relative,” explained Cohn. “Our study finding could lead to better understanding of the 90 percent of ovarian cancers that occur in women with no family history of ovarian cancer and with no known high-risk inherited mutations.”

The results were independent of race, age or weight. I know that my menstruation was very irregular when I was young and again about 5 years prior to my diagnosis. 

It may be too soon but I wonder if irregular menses needs to be added to our discussion of symptoms of ovarian cancer.   

Every Day is a Blessing!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Stay the Course

For the past two weeks time seems to have been flying by. We are having some painting done in our home so my normal routine and place I work on the computer has been disrupted.

Most of my time was spent reviewing grants/ proposals  for two organizations. Some of the proposals are on subjects other than cancer so I needed to take extra time to do the review. I am learning a tremendous amount though I still experience issues with remembering what I just read. If I read one proposal and wait till the next day to write my final review I have to go back and reread the information. Then my reviews were reviewed and suggestions for rewrites were send . Even with pages of notes that I took as I read about the research I still needed to reread ( now for a 3rd & 4th  time) the sections where changes were suggested.  A bit frustrating to say the least but I got through it all. I understand that if you  "exercise" your brain, the cognitive impairment - "Chemo brain" will get better.

If you are an advocate for cancer or diabetes or heart disease or autism or any health related issue look for opportunities to share your experience / knowledge as a grant reviewer. It is hard work but a great experience and many organizations are looking for the voice of the patient or caregiver in evaluating grant proposals.

I also worked on an application for a scholarship to the ASCO annual meeting in Chicago. Of course my brain tricked me again and I thought I had read I had till Thursday afternoon. So I thought I would just shoot it off after I came home from my port flush on Thursday. Well, when I went to the original packet of information to find the e-mail address to send the app to I read the time the app was due was 11:59 am . I missed the time by less than an hour. I was disappointed in myself but I figure I will try next year.

The good news is that my application to attend the Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Conference in June was accepted. I am honored to be attending this conference in June and look forward to sharing what I learn on Twitter and this blog.

I did spend some time having fun too. I took part in a class last Monday my community held called  Art Journaling. What a fun time we had at this class taught by local artist and children's book author, Dar Hosta. I love to take the time to be creative.

Dar wrote about our class in her blog "Monday #33:Fun Shows"

So even though it has been busy and I don't post every day,  I "Stay the Course" and continue to share with all of you.

Every Day is a Blessing! Blessed to share time with my neighbors being creative.