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!