Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dina Matos to Speak at Event to Benefit Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation

Stoic in the face of brutal public disclosures about a failed marriage, Dina Matos (McGreevey) continues to prove she's no shrinking violet. She will share her compelling story at a benefit dinner co-sponsored by the Zonta Club of the Morristown Area and Volunteer Management Centers (VMC). Set to take place Wednesday, January 13th, at Zeris Inn, the fundraiser for 10 women's non-profit organizations will begin with a reception at 6:30 PM.

Matos will speak about the events that changed her life when her husband, then New Jersey Governor James McGreevey, resigned suddenly from office on August 12, 2004, publicly admitting on National TV to a sex scandal. As chronicled in her New York Times bestseller, "Silent Partner," Matos described her husband as a controlling figure, but believed she had a 'rock solid' marriage.

Matos agreed to speak in support of VMC's Women's Health & Safety CHAIN because it brings together non-profits who work to increase awareness of women's issues and empowerment. By facilitating collaboration and awareness of a number of organizations addressing the issues affecting women and help them rise above potential risks or adversity, VMC hopes to give them support and greater exposure.

VMC's CHAIN program, which stands for Collaborations Help: Agency Information & Networking, brings together non-profits who share similar missions. Borrowing from Ryunosuke Satoro, VMC's CHAINs are based on the zen vision that "Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean."

Members of VMC's Women's Health & Safety CHAIN to share in the proceeds from this event, include:

  • Dress for Success Morris County
  • Girl Scouts of Northern NJ
  • NJ Self Help Group Clearinghouse
  • NJ Women & AIDS Network
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Morris, Bergen & Passaic
  • Women's Center at County College of Morris
  • Mrs. Wilson's
  • Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern NJ
  • Homeless Solutions, Inc.
  • The Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation

The Zonta Club of the Morristown Area, part of Zonta International and a network of business executives and professionals, will host this special CHAIN event. Zonta works to improve the legal, political, economic, health and professional status of women worldwide.

Following her talk, Matos will be on hand to sign books. Seating is limited and registration is required. Please contact Georgina via e-mail -
or by calling 973-538-7200 ext. 17.

Zeris Inn is located at 372 Route 46, in Mountain Lakes, Morris County.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Weather Outside was Frightful but Christmas was Delightful

FRIGHTFUL: The blizzard in Manhattan, Kansas began around noon on Christmas eve day (Thursday) and it snowed throughout Christmas Day. The snow blew sideways and the wind chill was -4 degrees fahrenheit. The roads were snow covered with 6+ inches and drifts of over 2 feet in places.

DELIGHTFUL: We arrived at Terry and Andy's late Monday night. Andy's parents arrived Tuesday night. On Wednesday we drove to Kansas City and visited the World War I museum, ate at the Kona Grill and then Andy's sister and her husband arrived at KCI and we all drove back thru dense fog to Manhattan. So the whole gang was in the Little Apple to celebrate Christmas.

It was cookie and dessert baking time on Christmas eve day- Carol made special brownies, I made Kentucky pie( pecan pie with choc chips and bourbon) and Terry made Aunt Dora's Love Knot cookies. Then it was shrimp and ham for dinner. The plows went by on the main road but the snow blew back on the road in no time. The Kansas DOT 's website showed all the road in the area to be snow covered. So we opted to stay at Terry and Andy's and not return to our hotel which was about 7 miles away .

Christmas morning was definitely white and cold outside but inside it was warm and cozy. We laughed and oohed and aahed as each of us opened our gifts and then we took photos around the tree. Silvio and Murph dog had fun playing with each other's new toys. We played games and watched Christmas movies as the Turkey cooked. Dinner was delicious-antipasto, Terry's Baked Ziti, Turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potato fries, gravy, cranberry sauce.

Christmas is about love- God's love for us and our love for each other . In Terry and Andy's home - two families came together and celebrated the love of Christmas Day.


Every Day is a Blessing! I have been blessed these past few days with the love of family .

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ovarian Problems Discussion List

Wanted to pass on some info about a wonderful online discussion list:

The Ovarian Problems Discussion List supports women with ovarian cancer and related problems, and their families and friends. There are over 1400 subscribers and there is no charge for this subscription. It has been a support community online for over 13 years.

This email list provides various kinds of support related to ovarian cancer and related conditions. Reproductive issues are not covered except as they relate to ovarian cancer.

You can join us! Go to, click on "mailing lists", choose the Ovarian list and click on it to join. Or go directly to:

and click on “join or leave the list”.

If you need assistance, you can reach the listowners by email:


ACOR is a free online lifeline for everyone affected by cancer & related disorders. It is a unique collection of online communities designed to provide timely and accurate information in a supportive environment. The Association of Cancer Online Resources, Inc. (ACOR) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, incorporated in New York State.

ACOR is one of the original social networks, created long before the term became one of the buzzwords of the web 2.0 explosion of services. Since September 1995 ACOR users interested in specific and often rare form of cancers have benefited from the collective intelligence of hundreds of patients and caregivers.

ACOR is also invested in researching medical online communities and has helped to produce some of the most important and groundbreaking projects designed to understand how the Internet helps people to become informed patients, able to maximize the quality of medical care they receive.

Three more months...continued

Got an e-mail today from my nurse letting me know that my CA-125 was 10.2.
Now that is cause for celebration!


Every Day is a Blessing!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Three More Months

My follow-up care plan is to see my gynecological oncologist every three months. I always get a little on edge the day or two before. Nick has gotten very used to how nervous I can get and is really a good sport about it.
You would think after traveling this road for almost 5 years I would get used to it. Talking to other cancer survivors even those that are not ovarian cancer survivors,being nervous seems to be a normal reaction. The past few days have been no different.

Yesterday I saw my gyn-onc at CINJ. Yes the photo above is of my chart- busy year for me at CINJ. My nurse D went through the typical questions related to fatigue, pain, neuropathy, medications I was taking, etc. Some of the pains I feel are due to scar tissue- which is very typical of the liver surgery I had last year and the rest are due to neuropathy which is aggravated by colder temps. After an exam, my doctor told me everything looked good. She'll see me in 3 months after I have a CT scan in February. Now that is a great holiday gift.

Then I went off to the treatment area to see C for a port flush - it still functions fabulously- and a CA-125 blood test. C was the nurse who helped when I had my carbo reaction so it was especially nice to wish her a Merry Christmas. Now all I need to hear tomorrow is that my CA-125 is stable.

As my way of saying thank you for a year of compassionate care I dropped off a batch of cookies and peanut cluster candies that I made to my doctors and their nurses and for the treatment nurses. They give so much of themselves it is the least I can do to say "Thank-you and Merry Christmas" .


Every Day is a Blessing! Today I am blessed with an understanding husband.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Magical Place

Folks ask me all the time why I keep going back to Disney World. Last year I wasn't able to make a trip in December because I was recovering from my surgery.

I love the parks this time of year. Every park is decorated for Christmas with Hanukkah and Kwanzaa displays too . There are themed trees at every resort and Gingerbread houses. I actually got an idea for next year's homemade ornament from looking at the beautiful decorations.

The Osborne Family Light Spectacular at MGM- no make the Hollywood Studios- is just incredible. The lights are everywhere- at times they blink on and off as Christmas Carols play. Plus there is snow - not to be caught on the tongue- too soapy.

Then of course there is the Candlelight Processional. The music is wonderful there are guest high school choirs, a Disney choir, a full orchestra and a guest narrator.They tell the Christmas story in words and music. We had the pleasure of hearing Andy Garcia. My most favorite part is when the sing Handel's Messiah.

When I go to Disney I don't think about having had cancer- I just enjoy the sights and sounds. There is time enough to worry.


Every Day is a Blessing!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

2009 Annual Cancer Rate Report- OC declines

The ACS, CDC,NCI,and the North American Assoc of Central Cancer Registries collaborate to report on cancer incidences and deaths in the US.
The full report with stats for all cancers can be found here.

Ovarian cancer incidences and deaths have declined.

Ovary New Cases -2.1% Death -1.4%

Every Day is a Blessing!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Good Wishes- a Program for women who experience hair loss

Over the past few months my hair has grown in - curly and a bit grayer - but it is back. This time last year I was thinking about what I would do when I lost my hair for the second time. I ended up sporting lots of scarves and hats and wore my wig once at the KOH gala.

I learned recently of a program run by L. Erickson called Good Wishes which provides a scarf ( Its a Wrap or Good Wishes) free of charge to anyone experiencing hair thinning loss due to illness or treatment.
So check click here and check out some of beautiful scarves.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Support NOCC and Fun Holiday Gift Shopping

Here are two opportunities in NJ this weekend to help raise awareness of OC , support the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (Northern NJ -NOCC in particular ) and find some lovely holiday gifts.

C’est Tout Handcrafted Jewelry, Crafts and Artwork

Kati Beddow Brower, Owner P.O. Box 34, Hazlet, NJ 07730


Saturday, December 5, 2009 from 12 Noon to 5 pm.

C’est Tout has all sorts of neat jewelry, crafts and artwork!

Our jewelry is made of quality components such as gemstones, fossil stone, natural nut beads, crystals, Swarovski crystals, Czech, Chinese, druk, lampwork, foil beads and top quality seed beads (and so much more). Our spacers and closures are of pewter, sterling silver, and base metal (plated).

We hope you will come to shop, have a sweet, raise funds for a GREAT cause, and have fun!

Contact Kati for some neat teal jewelry.

Shala's Gift Boutique

Come join us for holiday cheer and to support the cure for ovarian cancer!
Please join us on:
Dec. 5, 9:30 am-5:30 pm and
Dec. 6, 10:00 am-4:00 pm
Shala's Gift Boutique
343 Millburn Ave.
Millburn, NJ 07041
Complimentary refreshments will be provided.
Part of the proceeds will be donated to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.
On Sun., Dec. 6 there will be a parade in town at 1 pm. It only lasts an hour or so. The store is open and you can park in the lot on Essex & Main St. The lot behind the store (will be) closed while the parade is on.



Every Day is a Blessing!

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Kentucky Thanksgiving

We had the pleasure of traveling to see my niece and her husband at their new home in Kentucky for Thanksgiving. My kids joined us as well as my nephew, brother-in-law, his sister and aunt. It was a fun time for 11 adults, 3 dogs and a very nervous cat . Well maybe the cat didn't have that much fun but the dogs loved running around the yard ....and the house.

On Wednesday we visited some Berea, KY craft shops. One shop makes dulcimers and the shop owner demonstrated how they are strummed. Then we toured the Kentucky Bourbon distillery that makes Woodford Preserve. It is nestled among horse farms. Thursday we ate a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner. We all brought or made something for dinner but a special thanks to Linda and Audrey for putting it all together - from Turkey to those delicious pies. Friday we drove to Louisville to watch the Rutgers football team defeat Louisville on Friday. Go RU.

The best part of all was spending time with my family. Every day is a Blessing and on these three days I felt especially blessed.

Thanks Alycia and Kevin for being such marvelous hosts.



Saturday, November 21, 2009

Melanoma Awareness Night with the NETS

Nets Basketball has teamed up with the NJ Governor's Task Force on Cancer Prevention, Early Detection and Treatment, the American Cancer Society, along with a host of hospitals and cancer-related foundations for our 1st Annual Melanoma Awareness Night on Wednesday, December 16th, 2009. Devin Harris and the Nets will match up against Carlos Boozer and the Utah Jazz at 7:30 pm.

Please join us for a fun filled night of NBA excitement and a great cause! Tickets are discounted and start at just $30! Proceeds from this special offer will benefit Choose Your Cover Campaign, educating individuals on the importance of protecting one’s self from the sun’s UV rays.

Several of the participating hospitals and cancer-related foundations will be conducting free melanoma screenings from 5 pm to 7 pm at the IZOD Center. Melanoma information will be distributed on the concourse.

Click on the link below to access the offer. Use special offer code nets.

Tickets will be emailed to you within minutes of purchase.
To order tickets by phone or e-mail or for any questions, please contact Christie Freid, Nets Basketball,
at (201) 806-3776 or

Every Day is a Blessing!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"It Takes a Champion" the NJ Summit on Cancer Survivorship

I spent Monday and Tuesday taking part in the NJ Summit on Cancer Survivorship- Moving From Dialogue to Action. Previously held survivor forums during the Annual Retreats on Cancer Research in NJ lead to the development of this Summit. It was a diverse group in attendance- oncologists,radiologists, surgeons, nurses, social workers , advocates and survivors. Our goal was to develop an action plan addressing the key issues facing NJ cancer survivors. Breakout groups developed statewide action plans in the areas of healthcare delivery, psychosocial care, research, education and advocacy.

I attended breakout sessions on advocacy , psychosocial issues and eliminating cancer survivorship disparities. The motivation was high even if the task at first seemed daunting.

I remember how great it felt coming home from the first Lance Armstrong Survivors Summit in Austin , Tx in 2006 with a plan. I felt that way again over the past two days. I helped to provide the survivors voice in discussions with some of the best cancer care providers in NJ. And we did our job and developed plans to make more resources available and to improve the care of cancer survivors in NJ better. It doesn't get much better than that.

Judy Rowland PhD , Director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship , NCI,NIH spoke the line "It Takes a Champion " an number of times during her keynote speech on Tuesday. From my perspective , I was in the midst of some of the best Champions for Cancer survivorship and we will make that difference.

Thanks to everyone who made this Summit possible.


Every Day is a Blessing !

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Year Ago On The 13th

A year ago today, November 13, 2008, I was in RWJ University Hospital in surgery for a recurrence of ovarian cancer. I was back in the - what lies ahead thought mode. I didn't really know if the doctors would find additional cancer once they went in to operate on the spots that did show up on the PET scan.

The surgery was tough, I will admit, but the care I received from my CINJ doctors was wonderful. They removed all visible cancer which did include removing my spleen and part of my liver. I couldn't ask for a better outcome.

As you know, if you read this blog, I has some time off to recover from the surgery but I was not well enough to take a trip we had planned to Florida in early December. It seems cancer just takes over any plans you might have in place. That is one of the things that bother me most when I have surgery or when I am in treatment. Lack of control.

I started chemo in January , had that super reaction to the carbo after two cycles and finished up four more cycles with only taxol.

So one year later I am feeling pretty darn good. My hair is back! ;o) I still have neuropathy in my toes but I am dealing with it. I am walking again , doing exercises to improve my arm strength and enjoying spending time with the best people in the entire world my husband and my children. Their support means the world to me. My friends and family have kept me in their prayers and included Nick and I in lots of fun times too.

I am still in the what lies ahead mode but for now what lies ahead looks GREAT!



Every Day is a Blessing! I am blessed with a wonderful family and dear friends.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dr. Oz Show and Ovarian Cancer

Dr. Barbara Goff is scheduled to appear on The Dr. Oz Show on Wednesday, November 11 to discuss ovarian cancer!Based on Dr Goff's research a National Ovarian Cancer Symptom Consensus statement was issued in 2007.

She will discuss the warning signs of ovarian cancer and what women should do if they have these symptoms. She also will discuss the importance of early detection and the improved chance of a good outcome when women are treated first by a gynecologic oncologist.

Please visit to check your local listings for The Dr. Oz Show.

I am so happy that a nationally syndicated show will be featuring information about ovarian cancer.



Every Day is a Blessing!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Five Star Program - Cancer Transitions Moving Beyond Treatment

Tonight is the last night of the Cancer Transitions - Moving Beyond Treatment program offered at the Cancer Institute of NJ ( CINJ). Cancer Transitions - Moving Beyond Treatment is a partnership effort between the Wellness Community and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. It is meant to support and educate cancer patients during the transition period following treatment. It began in 2006 and participants have been evaluating and improving it ever since.

My evaluation of the program is 5 Stars.

I highly recommend this program.I have been involved in many different types of programs specifically for ovarian cancer survivors. This program is open to survivors of all types of cancer. And that is why I think this program is especially strong. It is applicable to all survivors - those who have had surgery, those who have had chemo and those who have had radiation or any combination thereof. Topics during the past few weeks included Taking Control of Survivorship, Exercise for Wellness, Emotional Health and Well-Being, Nutrition Beyond Cancer , Medical Management Beyond Cancer and Life Beyond Cancer.

Each week I came home with a piece of information or technique that I could use on my own path of survivorship. The exercise component was incredibly helpful. I walk almost every day but my upper body strength had gotten pretty weak over the past year during my treatment for a recurrence. Rita Musanti, a nurse and our Fitness Instructor, was able to show me exercises to build arm and shoulder strength. Her knowledge of the type of surgery I had allowed her to recommend exercises that would tone my abdominal muscles without causing injury. Last weeks presentation by Marlene McGuire, RN, discussed our awareness of side effects of treatment. In a discussion about neuropathy, I learned that the pain and tingling I feel in my left foot may be intensifying as the weather gets colder. It makes sense but I never heard anyone tell me that might be the case.

So a big thanks go out to all the presenters, and to Ellen Levine , Wellness Community of Central NJ and Julie Murphy, CINJ, for their efforts in making the program available to survivors here in NJ and for offering their insights into the emotional health of cancer survivors.


Every Day is a Blessing!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Something for FREE!

I just learned from a friend that there is a service that provides FREE, yes that is correct FREE) housecleaning for cancer patients. Cleaning for a Reason Foundation was founded in 2006 and is a non-profit which offers free housecleaning and maid services for women being treated for cancer. What a great idea! Even though the foundation is based in Texas, services are provided throughout the country. I checked and there are 22 cleaning services in NJ . You can sign up on their website. The process does require that your doctor fax a note confirming that you are in treatment. Then you are entitled to one housecleaning a month.

Thank you to the Board of Cleaning for a Reason for making the lives of women in treatment just a bit easier.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Travelin' Mom

Last Thursday, I got on a plane at Newark airport for Manhattan. No not the Manhattan across the Hudson from NJ but Manhattan, Kansas- home of the Kansas State Wildcats and my daughter and her husband. We flew first to Dallas and then on a small American Eagle flight to Manhattan.

Walking down the ramp to the runway- it is a very small airport- I left my cares behind.

I even surprised myself. Outside of posting some info about the slashing of DOD funding for Ovarian cancer research I did not think of having cancer or what it is like to be a survivor or when my next appointment would be.

I enjoyed each regular old day. I walked Silvio their cute pug around the neighborhood. When Silvio found a snake skin on the road, I wondered what type of snakes they have in Kansas. I am pretty sure some are poisonous . We checked out the wildflowers, sunflowers, that grow on the edge of Theresa's property . I used the Kansas Birds book to identify a red hawk that was flying overhead. I haven't used one of those field guides since teaching at St Francis.We picked and carved pumpkins. Terry showed me how she roasts pumpkins seeds. MMMM good. I even tasted a local Manhattan beer- a pretty good stout with a name like Buffalo Sweat. I loved the sunset you can see from her large dining room window. But I did have to come back to NJ.

So, yesterday morning on our return flight from Manhattan ,the captain announced" We are first in line for take-off" . I chuckled. We were the only flight in line for take-off... actually we were the only commercial airplane at the airport. Did I say the MHK was a very small airport?It is nice to be in a place where you are the only flight in line or the only game in town.( When we flew out of Newark we were 18th in line. )

It is difficult at times having children who live so far away. (Thank goodness for cell phones. ) But distance also gives me a chance or an excuse to visit any time they like . Well, maybe that really is, any time I like.

Those trips give me a new "normal" and a break from being a person who had cancer. I am just a travelin' Mom.


Every Day is a Blessing! I am blessed with the opportunity to travel to see my children.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why I Chose a Clinical Trial

A few months ago I was asked if I wanted to talk to a reporter about why I chose to be part of a clinical trial. I agreed to be interviewed because I strongly believe that cancer patients as well as people with other chronic diseases should consider clinical trials at all stages of their treatment.This is how progress is made. Many people think that a clinical trial means being a guinea pig. Well I did have more blood tests than a person on standard chemotherapy. But the care I received and the feeling that I could be a part of something that could change the lives of other cancer patients made all those extra needle sticks ok.

My story became part of the Top Doc issue of NJ Monthly magazine . The article is called On the Cutting Edge- Patients in Clinical Trials of new drugs must weight risk vs reward.
Thank you Ken Terry for such a well researched and well written article.

Every Day is a Blessing!I am blessed to be a patient of Dr Rodgriguez and Dr Gibbon at the Cancer Institute of NJ.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Another Kaleidoscope

Here is some info from OCNA about a great TV show to raise awareness about women's cancers. IF you are in the DC area and are an Ovarian Cancer survivor you can order discounted tickets through OCNA.

Kaleidoscope is a holiday entertainment variety special featuring Olympic skating champions and GRAMMY Award-winning music artists. Viewers will be thrilled with the historic return of the legendary Scott Hamilton and Dorothy Hamill matched with fellow cancer survivor Olivia Newton-John.
Kaleidoscope addresses issues surrounding women and cancer through an extraordinary collaboration with 10 advocacy partners.
The LIVE event will be held Monday, November 16, 2009 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC.
There is no charge for the tickets, but a $2 Ticketmaster convenience fee is required for each ticket ordered on line. To order your tickets for the live performance at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, click here and insert the passcode OCNA into the Promotions and Special Offers Box.
In an effort to raise awareness about ovarian cancer, if you and/or your family and friends are attending the LIVE event, we ask that you please wear TEAL. Hope to see you there!

The other causes supported by the show include- ASCO, NCCS,ONS, C3, GCF, OCNA , the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


Every Day is a Blessing!

OCNA introduces Symptom Diary

Here is information that I received in an e-mail from the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

"In a bold effort to provide women and their doctors with better information about how and when to take the necessary steps to obtain an early diagnosis for ovarian cancer, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance has taken the lead in posting guidance for diagnoses on its web site. The Interim Practice Guidance, endorsed by prominent specialists in the field of gynecologic cancer, marks the first time ovarian cancer diagnostic protocols have been made available to the public. In addition to the guidance, a Symptom Diary that helps women measure the persistency and severity of their symptoms (initially developed in the United Kingdom by Ovarian Cancer Action), has been reproduced in conjunction with the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, with permission for use in the United States.
For the full article and a downloable Tool Kit, visit"

This is a excellent way for women to record their symptoms and have those important conversations with their doctors,


Gynecological Cancer Awareness Weekend in DC

The weekend of November 6-8, 2009 is the first Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Movement Weekend and GCF’s half marathon/5K/1 mile walk.

Gynecologic cancer doctors will be able to attend a CME .
On Saturday November 7, 2009 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, cervical, endometrial and ovarian cancer survivors and their families , advocates and friends will be able to attend concurrent survivors courses. (I have attended a Survivor Course in NYC and it was very informative. For survivor course info click here.

Then on Sunday November 8,2009 at 7am over 3,000 runners and walkers in Washington, DC will race for awareness of gynecological cancers. For race info click here.

I will be attending my son-in-law's sister's wedding so I will be unable to attend. It should be a wonderful weekend.


Every Day is a Blessing!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Cousin is Running for Town Council

My cousin Ronald Knecht is running for the Town Council in Kenilworth ,NJ. I am very excited for him and hope on election day that he is voted into office. He grew up in Kenilworth , lived for a time in Edison and moved back to Kenilworth. I think the small town feel is what drew him home again.
Here is an article about his campaign and the photo above is a flyer about the two Democratic candidates for Kenilworth.

Good Luck Ron!

Every Day is a Blessing!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dancing for a Cure

Want to learn to dance or just like to dance ? Check out this fun event and raise funds for the Teal Tea Foundation. The mission of the Teal Tea Foundation is to help raise ovarian cancer awareness and to support research efforts focused on early detection,treatments and a cure for ovarian cancer.

Dancing for a Cure
Latin and Ballroom Dance Exhibition and Lessons
Featuring Evgeny Dyachenko and the Siti Dance Studio
Sunday November 8,2009
1:00pm- 5:00pm
Nottingham Ballroom
200 Mercer Street
Hamilton, NJ

For ticket Info Contact
or Amy Cellini

Door Prizes
tickets $45 per person
$50 per person at the door
Premium Seating $75 per person
Every Day is a Blessing!

Monday, October 12, 2009


Last Saturday at 11:30 am my niece, Chloe, married Hans. The wedding was held at the Mezzanine in the National Newark and Essex Bank Building in Newark. Years ago it was where Aunt Mabel Minnefor, Aunt Dora Minnefor and Uncle Bruno Mancuso worked and/or frequented. The teller area was set up to be the bar. One side of the mezzanine was where the union took place , the center by the stairs was the cocktail hour area and the other side was where the reception was held.
Here is their wedding announcement in the New York Times and their website with readings from the day .

Chloe' is a poet so I thought I would capture the day in poetry.

Love .......
Wide, tall space,
Orange fall floral arrangements,
Artichokes and herbs,
Delicious heirloom yellow tomatoes topped fresh mozzarella,
Music filled the air.
"The Best is yet to come"



Every Day is a Blessing !

Thursday, October 8, 2009

February is Ovarian Cancer Month in NJ

We now have a second month to raise awareness of Ovarian Cancer in NJ. We can be like prostate advocates where awareness months are June for NJ and September for National.

Here is the article from

Ovarian-cancer bill signed by Corzine

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

TRENTON -- Legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Linda Greenstein, D-Plainsboro, and Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Bergen, to promote awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer has been signed into law by Gov. Jon Corzine.

The bill directs the governor to annually issue a proclamation designating February as "Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month" and calling upon public officials, private organizations, the health-care community and New Jerseyans to increase knowledge of the symptoms of the often-deadly disease.

"When ovarian cancer is found and treated in its earliest stages, the five-year survival rate is 95 percent, but tragically most women who suffer from ovarian cancer aren't diagnosed until the later stages of the cancer when the disease has spread," said Greenstein. "Early detection and treatment often mean the difference between life and death, so it's important that we increase awareness of the factors that put certain women at a higher risk for the disease."

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths and the eighth most common type of cancer in America. About 20,000 women in the United States annually learn they have ovarian cancer, with about 14,700 dying from the disease.

In New Jersey, the rate of new cases of ovarian cancer annually has been 13.3 and the mortality rate 8.6 for every 100,000 women.



Every Day is a Blessing!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Brighton Power of Pink benefits CINJ and The Wellness Community

My sister Roberta had breast cancer. So way before I knew anything about TEAL I thought of things in pink.

Brighton is honoring Breast Cancer Awareness month with the Power of Pink. Two of my favorite organizations - CINJ and the Wellness Community of Central NJ will benefit from the sale the Pink bracelet and the Badge Clip. The promotion runs until October 31st.

North Jersey friends visit the Brighton Store at the Mall at Short Hills. Ten dollars for each piece purchased will go to the Wellness Community -Central NJ

Central Jersey friends visit the Brighton Store in the Woodbridge Center Mall . Ten dollars will benefit the Cancer Institute of NJ.

The limited-edition bracelet features Brighton's signature heart charm, which slides open to reveal the words "Trust your journey" and "Everything is possible." Brighton designers crafted these sentiments in order to remind the wearer that there is a gift to be found at the end of every journey. The badge holder/lanyard features a breast cancer awareness ribbon adorned with 15 sparkling pink Swarvoski crystals.


Every Day is a Blessing! I was blessed by another beautiful fall day.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Honoring my Lifesaver!

On Saturday night Nick, my sister-in-law, Denise and I attending the Cancer Institute of New Jersey Foundation's Award of Hope Gala and Benefit Auction.

One of my lifesavers, my gynecological oncologist, Dr Darlene Gibbon was honored with the Leadership in Patient Care Award. Sheri McCoy, worldwide chairman, Pharmaceuticals Group of Johnson and Johnson was presented the Award of Hope. The black tie event was held at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick.

Two other ovarian cancer survivors, a caregiver and I had been filmed in August for the video part of the presentation. John R., the film maker,did an outstanding job capturing the essence of Dr Gibbon's care of her patients. None of us had seen the finished product. I must admit it was very moving to say the least - and I had heard most of what we had said. By the end of the video all four of us were on stage to ask Darlene to accept her award.

How does Dr Gibbon practice medicine? Her patients are treated as individuals each with their own special needs and Darlene combines the science of the medicine used to treat ovarian cancer with compassion and hope . Thank you Dr Gibbon.



Every Day is a Blessing! My life has been blessed by my doctor, Darlene Gibbon.

Friday, October 2, 2009

An Inspiring LiveSTRONG Day

My Quilt Piece

I volunteered to help with the LiveSTRONG Day Survivorship Quilt project at the Cancer Institute of NJ ( CINJ). The project was developed by the Survivors Advisory Board, a part of the Center for Cancer Survivorship at CINJ. The project has been going on all week from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm in the lobby of the center. I helped both yesterday morning and this morning, LiveSTRONG Day 2009. We asked survivors or their family to take a fabric square and draw or write what cancer survivorship means to them. I am in awe of what so many survivors, from toddlers to adults, shared on their squares. There were hearts and stars, angels and awareness ribbons, motorcycles and cars, trees and mountains. There were words like courage , love, and hope . Survivors I met these past two days touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

J. a young boy took his square and some bright color Sharpies with him to treatment . About two hours later, looking very tired he handed me his clipboard- he had drawn balloons and smiley faces .

An older woman in a wheelchair came by and asked for the brightest colored square and Sharpies. She started to draw flowers on her square and told me she was a 25 year cancer survivor. When she handed us back her clipboard she had filled the square with flowers and thanked God for a wonderful life.

A teen wrote - and I will paraphase- If all my troubles would go away ... how could life teach me anything!

A toddler who was 2 years old and her mom came by after the toddler's treatment. Her mom sat down and she jumped up on her lap . She took some markers colored in a heart her mom had drawn for her and then made big blue and red circles. She was smiling the entire time.

When I left at noon today we had over 60 squares. I can't wait to see the finished quilt.

What does survivorship mean to you?

My square says it all!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Evening of Surprises at my Seton Hall University Talk

Late yesterday afternoon I drove up to Seton Hall University in South Orange NJ. This would be the second time I would tell my Ovarian Cancer story "Woman of Teal" to the student nurses and staff at the nursing school. I met with my cousin Marion, a Dean of the Nursing School, in her office and we walked into the room where I was giving my talk.
There on the left side of the room was my cousin Judy, her daughter Brittany and a family friend Agnes. They knew my story but came to support me just the same.

Then as we were setting up the computer and projector, in walked a former student of mine from St Joe's. Paul is a junior at Seton Hall and the last time we saw each other was at the Livestrong Challenge in Philly - he rode over 70 miles. He couldn't stay but I was pleased that he took the time to stop by and chat.

Then there was a tap on my shoulder and there stood my nephew Kevin. He and Alycia had moved to Kentucky in July but he travels back to NJ occasionally to work on the medical helicopter and with the Jets ( yes - those JETS!). We've spoken on the phone but this is the first time I saw him since they moved.WOW! And all this before I even started to talk.

I think the talk went well. The students and staff asked questions when I was done. Most questions were medical related and then one of the nursing instructors asked "How do you do it? How do you stay positive when you know the cancer can come back?" I thought a moment and said," I have a wonderful family and great friends to support me and that I truly believe that every day is a blessing " And that is the truth.


Every Day is a Blessing. And I had lots of special surprise blessing at my talk.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

From 1992 to today

In 1992 I taught math and science at St Francis Cathedral School in Metuchen.

Yesterday, I received a pretty butterfly note in the mail from J., a former student. She wrote that she read the article in the Sentinel newspaper about the teal ribbons and awareness campaign that I had done in Edison and that I was in her thoughts and prayers.

How sweet is that? All these years later to still remember her teacher and to take the time to write. Thank you J.


Every Day is a Blessing.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

KOH Avon Walk with "Carmella's Kids"

These are Carmella's kids- my cousins, my husband and two close family friends. We all got together this morning to participate in the last Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation Walk on the boardwalk in Avon, NJ. The walk raises funds for cutting-edge ovarian cancer research.

I got there early to help register people for the walk. This is my third year helping with registration so things were hectic, with lots of people still registering in person even though we have online registration, but it went smoothly. When I was done I joined my cousins on the walk. I walked around a mile and a half. Many of my cousins walked 5 miles. Hurrah for Erica,John,Jack, Brit, Fred, Chelsea, Morgan and Ali. After the walk we all went to Vic's in Bradley Beach for lunch. Now that is great thin crust pizza! As we walked out of Vic's I met a women who had done the walk and had put up teal ribbons in Metuchen. We had only e-mailed so it was nice to put a face to a name.

All I can say is that I am truly blessed to have my husband , cousins, as well as Marylou and Agnes (two very compassionate nurses and close friends) in my life. They really help me to LiveSTRONG.

Every Day is a Blessing. I was really blessed today by cousins and friends.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Murphy's Trip back to Virginia

When my son broke his collar bone last month, Nick and I drove down to see him. Being in a brace and unable to move his right arm made it difficult for him to take care of his dog, Murphy. Murphy is a beagle / hound mix Matt adopted from the local pound . Being the dog lovers that we are , we took Murphy home with us. He spent the next 4 weeks having fun playing with our neighbors dogs, chasing the bunny rabbits in the back yard and running up and down the steps trying to keep his rope toy and a tennis ball in his mouth at the same time. With tennis courts at the end of our block,we had a steady supply of toys for him. Murph dog was a fun guest to have visit- even if it did meant we had to cut our Rutgers football tailgating short. With Matt healing and feeling stronger we knew we would have to return Murphy to his home in Blacksburg.

So on Thursday we left early in the morning and headed to Blacksburg. On the way down we stopped at our usual Mc Donalds at exit 298 off of interstate 81. We went through the drive-up window and ordered figuring we would eat in the car and then take Murphy for a walk. When we drove up to the window to pay they saw Murphy in the back seat and handed us some dog bones along with our change. That was really nice of them. Since it was a nice day we decided that instead of eating in the car we would eat at the outside tables they have. A gentleman wearing a McDonald's shirt walked by us to go inside then came back out and asked if we needed water for our dog. Very nice indeed. Murphy drew a lot of attention as people said how cute he was and how well behaved he was. I couldn't agree more.

Murphy was so excited when he walked into the apartment and saw Matt!

Every Day is a Blessing!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Looking Forward to the Avon Kaleidoscope of Hope Walk

Saturday is the last Kaleidoscope of Hope Walk. It will be held on the Boardwalk in Avon, NJ. What better place than the shore to spend a Fall morning. I will be helping out with registration again this year and will also get a chance to walk. The past two years I had to leave after registration was done to attend a home RU football game. Those were busy Saturdays.

I'm really looking forward to this year's walk because my husband, cousins and friends will be walking as part of the team Carmella's Kids. Carmella, my cousin, also had cancer. It means so much to me that they honor their mother and support me.

You can still register or donate at . Choose the Avon link.

I will also get a chance to see MA again. I met MA in person for the first time today at the Wellness Community Central Jersey's "Patient Guide to Ovarian Cancer "program. My gyn-onc, Dr. Darlene Gibbon, CINJ, answered questions about ovarian cancer from the latest treatments to clinical trials. MA and I met on facebook as members of a group exclusively for ovarian cancer survivors.


Every Day is a Blessing! Today I am blessed to have such supportive cousins and friends and to have met MA in person.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Survivor stories and Ovarian Cancer News

September is a busy time for me but I wanted to make sure I shared some important news articles about Ovarian Cancer and two touching stories about survivors.

Diabetes Medication May Get New Life as Cancer Treatment
"In a study in mice, low doses of the drug, combined with a widely used chemotherapy called doxorubicin, shrank breast-cancer tumors and prevented their recurrence more effectively than chemotherapy alone."

FDA Clear's Vermillion's OVA1 Test to Determine Ovarian Cancer in Women with Pelvic Mass

Lab test that can indicate cancer prior to biopsy or surgery. Uses 5 assays in combination to determine whether a women should be referred to a gynecological oncologist.

Tate Creek Junior Donates Hair

The story of a 16 year old young lady from Kentucky diagnosed with Ovarian cancer.

Cyclist Rides to Fight Grim Cancer Prognosis
This is a special story for me. Ken and I were the New Jersey Delegates to LiveSTRONG Day in Washington DC in 2007 as well as LiveSTRONG Summit 2008 attendees. I have written on this blog previously about his Foundation - Cecile and Ken Youner Fund for Cancer Research.


Every Day is a Blessing!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

NJ's "super" Super Luncheon

Today I attended the Super Luncheon in NJ. The luncheon was sponsored by the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) which raises funds for ovarian cancer research.

Survivors and advocates from throughout the state were invited to Drumthwacket, the Governor's mansion for a luncheon . Gov Corzine was not available to attend the luncheon and missed a wonderful event. There were a number of state representatives and state Senators in attendance including Barbara Buono from my district. Susan Bass Levin , ovarian cancer survivor and former Dept of Community Affairs Commissioner and current Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of NY and NJ spoke about her cancer experience , OCRF and the good work done by the "TEAL" organizations in the state to raise awareness and funds for research. We watched a short film from OCRF and then heard my gyn-onc, Dr Lorna Rodriguez, talk about the lastest in OC research and the clinical trials that are ongoing at CINJ. L'Oreal provided gift bags containing Hope cosmetics , a book mark and an OCRF band.

It was wonderful that so many survivors , advocates and representatives from Ovarian Cancer organizations in the state (many of whom are my friends) got to meet each other and celebrate the Ovarian Cancer awareness that has increased across the state. Now for a cure!


Every Day is a Blessing! Today I was blessed to be in the company of so many wonderful women whose mission is to find a screening test and a cure for OC.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

From Cancer Crusader

I get the weekly affirmations from Cancer Crusader and thought I would share this part with you.

And now begin to really live. No prissy, half-hearted living like you were living before. That wasn't really living, and that you doesn't exist anymore. No putting off dreams until tomorrow. Carpe diem. Carpe diem. Carpe that diem now.

Go live your life. Become who you know you're supposed to be. No holding back this time.

In the words of Walt Whitman, "Now voyager,
sail thou forth to seek and find."

And don't you dare say it's too late. If you're reading this, it's not too late. It's only too late for the people who didn't wake up this morning.

Live out loud. Be outrageous. Love fiercely. Laugh and cry at the sheer beauty of it all. And thank whatever god you believe in that you have
another chance to get it right.

Every day, you get another chance.

If you want to read more about Roger and Cathy Crowthan and Cancer Crusader check them out online.


Every Day is a Blessing!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ovarian Cancer Bill introduced in House - contact your Congressman

Info from OCNA:

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Resolution Introduced in House
Contact your Representative and request their support!

The National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Resolution (H. RES. 727) was introduced in the House of Representatives expressing support for the ovarian cancer community. The lead sponsors of this Resolution are Mr. Israel (D-NY), Mrs. DeLauro (D-CT), Mr. Burton (R-IN), and Mr. Issa (R-CA).

We need many cosponsors to sign onto this bi-partisan Resolution to show the strength of the ovarian cancer community and spread awareness to the American public.

Ask your Representative to support Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month by clicking "Take Action" in the top right hand corner or clicking "Go" below. To make the message more personal, please add a sentence or two after the first paragraph about why this resolution and/or ovarian cancer awareness is important to you.



Every Day is a Blessing!

Monday, September 7, 2009

An Incredible Woman of Teal

Janice and I met three years ago turning Edison teal. ( We were both diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2005.) Since then we got together at the Olive Branch to raise funds for her Team JLO and the Sandy Rollman Foundation. We messaged each other on Facebook about hair and side effects of our chemos and the torment of waiting for those scan results. During our chemos this spring, Janice would always leave a message on my wall before I had chemo to say" good luck". We prayed for each other. This year she was in the hospital and unable to join in our annual ribbon hanging but her sons and their wives, an aunt, cousin and friends were there . Last night before going to bed around 12:30am I noticed a missed call on my cell from her son. I was hoping beyond hope that he was calling to set up a time when I could give Janice the Edison proclamation. But that was not the case.

Janice passed away yesterday afternoon. Janice was a wonderful wife , mother, grandmother and friend. She had this great smile and I envied her earring collection. Janice knew how to enjoy life. She delighted in every one of her children and grandchildren. Back in April we agreed that in 2010 we would both be walking together in Fairmount Park with Team JLO. I can't even describe how sad I feel about not being able to plan for that time together.

I was blessed to have Janice in my life.

Every Day is a Blessing! I have been blessed by the Lopez family.

Friday, September 4, 2009

"Cocktails for a Cause" Celebrating LiveSTRONG Day and supporting the LAF and CINJ

This is a fabulous way to celebrate LiveSTRONG Day ( Oct. 2,2009) in NJ and support the Cancer Institute of NJ and the LAF!

LiveSTRONG Day is the Lance Armstrong Foundation's one-day initiative to unite people affected by cancer in raising awareness of cancer issues on a global level and in communities across the country.

All proceeds will go to the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

WHEN: LIVESTRONG Day is Friday October 2, 2009 - 5:00PM-9:00PM

WHERE: The Beach Bar is located at 28 Boardwalk Seaside Heights, NJ 08751


WHAT TO WEAR: WEAR YELLOW! If you already have LIVESTRONG t-shirts wear it, if you do not have LIVESTRONG t-shirt and would like to purchase one or more please visit or you can always just WEAR YELLOW - ANY yellow shirt will work.

The Fun Evening will include:
  • FREE food and SPECIALS on drinks,
  • A remembrance wall to sign to honor those fighting cancer or in memory of someone you lost to cancer,
  • Bracelet links to create a GIANT yellow chain around the bar,
  • LIVESTRONG wristbands will be given to all who make a donation,
  • 50/50 and Door Prizes.

CONTACT: For more information, contact Lori at



Every Day is a Blessing!

Wylers Light - Supporting NOCC

Jelsert , the people who make Fla-Vor-Ice and Wylers, is supporting the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition by placing the NOCC seal and contact information on all its packages of Wylers Light. A portion of every purchase will go to support the NOCC and its mission. There a lots of flavors in canisters and single paks.

Looking forward to seeing more products displaying TEAL!

Every Day is a Blessing!