Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Reflections

Earlier today I took part in a #WEGOHealthChat. The topic was how advocates share their story online. I tweeted that I felt being sincere and sharing both the physical and emotional side was important.

I should practice what I preach. So here I go. Let's talk about September - Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Having a month dedicated to all gynecologic cancers and ovarian cancer in particular makes me very happy.

Ovarian Cancer Awareness month is a good thing. Women, young and old and their primary care physicians need to be aware of the disease and its symptoms. Read more about the symptoms here .

I enjoy seeing TEAL, the awareness color of ovarian cancer,  on buildings, bridges, billboards and on ribbons all over town. I found teal on my vacation.

Teal quilt at the Oregon Trail Museum

The awareness walks and other events that raise funds for ovarian cancer research are also important. You can find OCRFA partners as well as NOCC Chapters running events in most states in the US this month.  Research is key to finding a cure and more effective treatments and some of these events are ways to raise funds for research. There were few events in NJ when I was first diagnosed in 2005. This year,  I could take part in an awareness / fundraising event every weekend and even during the week. I appreciate all the work being done by these organizations to support women diagnosed with all types of ovarian cancer.  If my knee cooperates, I hope to be walking later this month in the Kaleidoscope of Hope Ovarian Cancer Foundation Valerie O'Rouke Foley Avon walk,  which raises funds for research.

But I am going to be honest with you I don't always feel happy.  There are times during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month when I feel SAD. I am sad when I look at my blog's Memorial Wall and see the names of  50 women and this only includes women I knew in real life not others I interacted with but I never met.

And  I am sad when I see those "walking in memory of " signs you wear during awareness walks.  I love being honored when friends add me to their "walking in honor of" list but I miss my friends. I miss Carole, Pam, Rita Kay, Lois, Courtney and so many others.

The first year the Stand-Up to Cancer show was broadcast, I was happy to see such a strong focus on cancer research. As my advocacy work increased I made friends with many who were diagnosed with cancers other then ovarian. Some even attended the broadcast.  Even now I am glad to see the  research being supported by this event but when I see the some of the presentations and hear the stories, I feel overwhelmed with sadness for those no longer with us. This year I didn't watch the Stand-Up to Cancer show. I decided I needed to take a break.

Is it "survivors guilt"? Maybe. Once the month ends I am sure the emotions I feel now will cease.  They usually do.

Do any other survivors feel happiness along with sadness this month?

Every Day is a Blessing!