Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Birthdays and Facebook

Yesterday was my birthday. Pretty big deal for me since back in 2005 I was not too sure I'd make it to my birthday in 2006.

I don't know if it is because I am getting older and don't need lots of gifts or big parties. Or if it is because I am a cancer survivor and things are nice to have, but not as important in the bigger scheme of things. Having time to experience things and people in one's life are what counts.

Now don't get me wrong the pearl earrings my husband bought me are beautiful. But Nick's decision to make that last minute trip to Vic's for thin crust pizza and being able to walk on the boardwalk in Avon really made the day. Or maybe it was walking on the beach and sticking my toes in the chilly ocean water was it.

The cards that came in the mail over the past few days were wonderful too. A few I read and just went "Ahhhh" . There were the phone calls ,voice mail messages and text messages too.

Then what a pleasant surprise I had last night when I went to my profile page on Facebook . I'd left messages in the past when it was my friend's birthdays. But here were birthday messages from family, friends, my children's friends and former students. There were greetings from my fellow ovarian cancer survivors from across the Atlantic ( I was so chuffed), ladies from my support group and friends from organizations I belong to here in the US. And there were messages from cancer survivors I met through the Lance Armstrong Foundation - some I hadn't seen in person for years. Sometimes I think I spend too much time on Facebook but nurturing all these relationships even from miles away makes it worth it. It helped to make my day special.

Thank you everyone- you have blessed my life.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pretty OCRF Awareness Bracelets

There are many different OC awareness bracelets available but I wanted to share this link to a very pretty awareness bracelet offered on the OCRF website.
Click here for a link to the bracelet .

Every Day is a Blessing!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jersey Survivor to Speak to Federal Legislators

Karen Mason is a NJ resident, an ovarian cancer survivor and advocate for increased funding for ovarian cancer research. I've spoken to Karen at a few different meetings and admire her dedication to raise awareness and funds.

You can read an article about Karen and her trip to DC here.

Thanks Karen!

Every Day is a Blessing

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pipes, Cigars, A Moustache & Tomato plants

When I think of my dad I think of his moustache, the pipes he used as a plumber and the pipes he smoked. And I can't forget those silly and stinky stogie ( don't know if I spelled that correctly) cigars or the garden he kept on Munn Avenue. He grew tomatoes and filled in the garden with peppers and zucchini too.

I can remember him coming home for lunch and asking for tomatoes with mayonnaise on two pieces of Italian bread. Delicious !!! Nothing like Jersey Tomatoes.

When we were home from school my sisters and I would answer the phone for his plumbing business. It seems like my dad was always on call. Didn't matter if is was late at night or on the weekend he would get in his truck and head out when his customers called about broken pipes or furnace problems. We got to know the customers pretty well. One customer , whose name I don't recall now, gave my father a poem when I was finishing elementary school. My father said I should memorize it. Well I did and I still remember it.

Believe in yourself and step out unafraid,
By misgivings and doubts be not easily swayed,
The wisdom of ages is yours if you'll read
But you've got to believe in yourself to succeed.

Thanks Dad .

Happy Father's Day , Nick !

Every Day is a Blessing. I have been blessed by a father who gave everything so that his daughters could succeed. And I am blessed with a loving husband who is a great dad.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

South Carolina Group Raises Awareness- Bed ,Bath and Beyond!

I have been in contact with Alicia. I met her through the OCNA online support network. She is from South Carolina. My daughter went to USC from grad school and I love the area. She is part of the group Ovarian Cancer for Life ( and Gail's Anatomy. The group has been working hard to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer in SC.

Here is part of what she recently sent me:
"Here's another thing to do ladies, call Bed Bath & Beyond (1-800-462-3966) regarding their tervis tumblers. Here is what is happening locally but why shouldn't it be nationally!!! Start small and dream big. I am in Aiken SC , most of you have seen me on here, I am part of We are the small grass roots group you all speak of that is trying to make a difference in the world of OC awareness. We have a friend who manages the BB&B in Columbia SC , he has been in the works with whomever produces their tervis tumblers to get the teal ribbon and our logo on the tumbler for market during oc awareness month. Yesterday he called us and asked us for our teal ribbon and catch-phrase logos to be sent to him. We are one step closer to making this happen. Storm the doors of corporate headquarters!! Let them know this is something that needs to happen and needs to happen nationally (and not sure during September, but year-round), not just here in Columbia SC."

I'm with Alicia - Let's see how far this effort can go.


Every Day is a Blessing!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

You Can Help Pass Johanna's Law

Yes that is right!
Do you want to get the word out about the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer? Do you think that the CDC should collaborate with OC advocacy groups throughout the country to raise awareness? Then please click on the link below ( courtesy of OCNA) and send your senators a letter to ask them to co-sponsor Johanna's Law: The Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act .[capwiz:queue_id]

Every Day is a Blessing. I am blessed to have spent the past week in Disney World relaxing and spending time with my family. Life is Good!

Monday, June 7, 2010

ASCO News - Ovarian Cancer Trial Results

There has been a pretty steady flow of information from the ASCO meeting citing results from various trials for Ovarian Cancer.

Avastin( Genentech)
Phase III Study showed women with previously untreated Ovarian Cancer lived longer when given Avastin along with chemotherapy drugs.

AMG 386 ( Amgen)
Midstage study results show women receiving AMG 386 with chemotherapy lived longer before progression of the disease than placebo and chemotherapy.

NKTR-102 (Nektar)
Midstage study results show that women receiving NKTR-102 saw a substantial shrinkage in their ovarian cancer tumors and a drop in their CA-125

It is good to see these postitive test results.

Every Day is a Blessing

Friday, June 4, 2010

FDA Approves New HE4 Blood test for Ovarian Cancer

The FDA has approved Abbott's new ARCHITECT HE4 blood test for ovarian Cancer. The blood test will aid in monitoring Ovarian cancer recurrence. Now that is something that I will certainly speak to my doctor about.
For more information check out these sites:
PR NewsWire article
Abbott Site

Every Day is a Blessing!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I became an orphan in 1977. My mom passed away when I was very young and my dad passed away right after I graduated college. I was an adult orphan. Yes, I had sisters , married a year after my father died, had two children of my own but all that did not change my status as an orphan.

On Monday, my cousin Ron became an orphan when his Mom, my first cousin Fran, passed away. Fran was my confirmation sponsor and was the last of the Pantone sisters. Ron joined the ranks of orphan along with Carmela's , Gloria's and "Little" Dora's children : Marion, Judy,Fred, Cindy, Mike, Joanne, Jackie, Marilyn and Suzanne.

Being an orphan is tough. You don't have a parent to talk to about everyday things - where is the best place to buy tools or what color to paint a room. You also don't have a parent to talk to about what it is like to have a baby, raise a child or buy a home.

My path as an orphan was a bit easier because of my Aunt Dora, the matriarch of the family. What a blessing she is in my life!

The photos at Fran's wake today showed happy family times. It was wonderful to think back to the fun family weddings, fishing trips and Sunday dinners- macaroni and gravy of course!

Sure there are times I still wish I could ask my mom or dad a question but I think that just makes the time I did have with them so much more precious.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sharsheret - Linking Young Jewish Women In their Fight Against Breast Cancer

I generally write about ovarian cancer research, organizations and my journey as a survivor but I received information from a friend about this organization and wanted to share it with all of you.

Genetics For Life: Addressing Hereditary Breast And Ovarian Cancer

Learn about the importance of understanding family medical history as it relates to women's health and the incredible challenges Holocaust survivors and their families face in identifying their cancer history. To register for Sharsheret's national teleconference, "The Impact of the Holocaust on Breast Cancer in Jewish Families Today," Wednesday, July 14th, 8:00 p.m. (EST), email or call (866) 474-2774.

Sharsheret is a national not-for-profit organization supporting young Jewish women and their families, of all Jewish backgrounds, facing breast cancer. Our mission is to offer a community of support to women diagnosed with breast cancer or at increased genetic risk, by fostering culturally-relevant individualized connections with networks of peers, health professionals, and related resources. Sharsheret's free national programs include:

  • Peer Support Network, connecting women newly diagnosed or at high risk of developing breast cancer one-on-one with others who share similar diagnoses and experiences
  • Embrace, supporting women living with advanced breast cancer
  • Genetics for Life, addressing hereditary breast and ovarian cancer
  • Busy Box, for parents of young children facing breast cancer
  • Best Face Forward, addressing the cosmetic side effects of treatment
  • Sharsheret Supports, launching and sustaining local support groups
  • Family Focus, providing resources and support for caregivers and family members
  • Health Care Symposia, on issues unique to younger women facing breast cancer
  • Sharsheret on Campus, outreach to students on campus
  • Facing Breast Cancer as a Jewish Woman, educational resource booklet series


Every Day is a Blessing!