Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Seven Years a Blogger

Yesterday, December 30th marked the seventh anniversary of writing this blog.

I started this blog back in December of 2007 because I wanted to  share my experience and information about ovarian cancer with other women diagnosed with the disease in NJ. At the time I was not sure I would live to see my 5th "cancerversary". But next year, 2015, I will celebrate my 10th "cancerversary". My blog has also grown and now reaches women in the US as well as internationally ( UK, Germany, Russia, Canada France, etc.)

Some of my most popular posts this year were:

I know this year I have not posted at the frequency I have posted in the past. One reason why has been my increased involvement with the #gyncsm community. In late 2013, Christina Lizaso and I founded the community for women diagnosed with gynecologic cancers as well as their caregivers and health care providers. You may find us on twitter at @gyncsm . We offer monthly chats on topics of interest to the community ( 2nd Wed of the month 9pm EST) . Christina and I research each topic we discuss, develop questions, find reliable resources for our followers as well as guest speakers. I also continue to write for our blog ( which provides info about each chat, links to transcripts and resources related to each topic. In addition to the chat information, I have posted about clinical trials, World Ovarian Cancer Day and reported on the results of a survey we did of #gyncsm followers. In October this year,  we also partnered with Smart Patients an online platform to offer a place for our community members to discuss our topics in more the 140 characters.

In addition to being a patient reviewer for PCORI , a Survivors Day Committee committee member, volunteer with the Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation, and e-patient scholar at Stanford MedX I was  a busy wife, mom and grandma.

I look forward to continuing to blog (hopefully more frequently) in 2015.

I wish all my readers a very Happy and Healthy New Year!

Every Day is a Blessing!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


 Wishing all of my readers JOY during this holiday season.

On Christmas Day. my home will be filled with my children and grandchildren. 
Their presence is the best gift of all!

Every Day is a Blessing!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I'm Grateful For ...

Yesterday, I read a post in the ASCO Connection blog written by friend and #gyncsm chat Health Care Moderator,  Dr. Don Dizon. Dr. Dizon is a gynecologic oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. His blog post is titled Being Grateful. In the post, he states "if anything were to happen to me tomorrow, would there be a record of what I was grateful for" and then he went on to list all those things he was grateful for in 2014. At the end of the post Dr Dizon writes, "I encourage each of us to take a moment and reflect on the year each of us had, and to think of what it is we are grateful for. "

After reading that last paragraph I knew exactly what my next blog post would be about as we end the year. Here is what I am grateful for.

I am grateful for my husband of 36 years, who this year as in the past nine, has continued to provide love and support my efforts as a cancer advocate.

I am grateful for my children, their spouses and spouses-to-be and my grandchildren. They have brought me much joy this year even though they live thousands of miles away. Congratulations A on completing your Masters Degree and M for passing your comprehensive exams on your way to your PhD, and A on your new job. JT and TJ I love google chatting with you but love it better when we can visit.

I am grateful for family members who have gathered with me for lunch, listened to me, offered advice and gone shopping we me.

I am grateful for my friends both those I have had for 30+ years and the new friends I made at MedX in September this year.

I am grateful for Christina, my co-moderator and  co-founder  and the wonderful Health Care Moderators of the #gyncsm community. With their chat and medical expertise we have been able to share helpful information with women diagnosed with gynecologic cancers, their caregivers and healthcare providers to others.

I am grateful for my gynecologic oncologists who continue to treat patients with care and compassion while conducting research to find better ways to treat women diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

I am grateful for my agility instructors.With their expert instructions, help and advice, I have had a wonderful first year at agility competitions.

I am grateful for my dog Amber. She has been a fun companion as we completed the requirements for novice and open Jumps With Weaves titles.

Yes, Dr Dizon this was a very easy list to compile.

I challenge my blogger  friends to post their very own I'm grateful list.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ovarian Cancer Facts for NJ

Today I made a presentation about ovarian cancer to the members of the Hunterdon Mercer Chronic Disease Coalition. I thought I would share some facts with my readers.

In 2011 there were 699 cases of Ovarian Cancer diagnosed in NJ.
  •  Hunterdon County  7 
  •  Mercer County 28
In 2011 in NJ there were 483 deaths due to Ovarian Cancer
  • Hunterdon County 6 
  • Mercer County 21
I found the information on the NJ Cancer Registry site at   
Information about how to use the site can be found here. It is a three frame window and takes some time to load. 
A link to a report of Cancer Incidence & Mortality in New Jersey, 2007-2011 can be found at

I appreciate the opportunity to present the information for all the Coalition members. 

Every Day is a Blessing!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Losses and Friendship


noun \ˈfrend\
: a person who you like and enjoy being with
: a person who helps or supports someone or something (such as a cause or charity)
That is the definition I found in the online dictionary. 

Since the day before Thanksgiving four women I know have died due to ovarian cancer. Only one of them have I actually met in person and that was only for about an hour. But I reacted to their deaths as if they were friends from work or church or my neighborhood.

I have heard people remark that you can not be close to people you only know online and you can't be friends. I will admit I get a bit annoyed when people say that. Three of the women were members of two different groups for ovarian cancer survivors on Facebook and one I met on Twitter first and then friended her on Facebook and eventually met her in person. One woman lived in Engand. Another was the mother of Cynthia ( also an ovarian cancer survivor). But for me my online friends fit the second friend definition of "helping and supporting someone." These women were no different than women I have met in person at various ovarian cancer awareness or education events. or at conferences or courses. Afterward we stay in touch through e-mail, support groups or phone calls.

We meet because of our disease but bonded as we supported each other and shared information about treatments, side effects or  how to emotionally handle the stress of scan time. And as with other friendships along the way you learn other things about the person such as the shows they like to watch on TV, books they like to read, where they were born, what work they do, where they went to college and what their hobbies are. So it really is the same process of building a friendship as if you had met in person.

I value each and every one of the women I have met in person as well as those I only know on social media. Our numbers are not as large as those diagnosed with other cancers but we are strong and want to make connects in person and online and their is value to both.

RIP - Benita, Cheryl, Elaine, Barbara I was honored to have known you.

Every Day is a Blessing!