Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Lucky 13

Chad A.E. Heathcott - Graphic/Web Designer | Lucky 13, Lucky number 13,  Luck tattoo

For me, 13 is a lucky number. I lived for over thirty years in a home with an address number of 13. And today, I celebrate writing this blog, all 1147 posts, over the past 13 years. 

As I approached this blogging anniversary I admit I have been thinking that it may be time to stop blogging. There have been many times over the past year when I had writer's block. I just couldn't come up with an idea that I thought would interest my readers or provide any insight into living and surviving ovarian cancer. 

Being so many years out of treatment, I was starting to feel that my experience was no longer relevant to women who now have options to use Bevacizumab or Parp Inhibitors as maintenance therapies. I could read about the different types of therapies but I never took any maintenance therapy. This year women are struggled not only with a cancer diagnosis but having treatment during Covid -19.  I did go for my annual cancer center visit in September but my appointment was never delayed or impacted in any way by COVID 19. 

Then a few things happened. 

I have had the opportunity to speak to two women on a monthly basis since July as a Cancer Hope Network volunteer. (I've been a CHN volunteer for over 10 years now.) While I can't share their stories, I will share that when I called them last week to wish them a Merry Christmas,  one had good news because of good scan results while the other had not such good news.  Yet both were glad I called so they could share their news. Both thanked me for listening and being available to answer their questions.

Then a women diagnosed with ovarian cancer reached out to me via direct message on Twitter. I answered a few of her questions and said I have written a blog for a number of years if she would like to read it and shared the link with her.  A few days later I got another DM from her and she commented on how reading a few posts were so helpful.

Lastly,  a fellow cancer advocate commented on my previous post "Stay the Course". She said "So often we think we have to do something huge or make sweeping changes. Sometimes, "staying the course" is enough. " 

So I will do just that.  I will stay the course and continue to write this blog in the hopes that I reach just one woman.

May all my readers have a Happy and Healthy and Safe 2021 !


Every Day is a Blessing.

Friday, December 25, 2020


2020 was a different type of year that is for sure. The last trip I took was to Houston in January to give a talk at the NRG Semi-Annual Meeting. So many other meetings that should have been in person, Chicago, Washington DC, Rhode Island and others became virtual due to Covid-19. Family vacations were cancelled and our home was the safe place to be.

As I decorated the Christmas tree with ornaments from past travels, the memories provided me a way of revisiting each and every location.  Enjoy this short trip to just a few of the places I've been lucky enough to visit as my Holiday Gift to you. 

Zion National Park

San Francisco

Muir Woods

Mount Vernon

Mt Rushmore

Yellowstone National Park


North Carolina

New Zealand


Badlands National Park



May this holiday season bring you good memories, joy and hope for the future. 


Every Day is a Blessing! 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Stay the Course

 A few years ago, shortly after moving into my community I took part in an art class with Dar James, artist and book illustrator.  She taught us a painting technique and set us free to be creative. When we finished the painting, she asked us to come up with a thought or mantra we could write on the painting. I was about 3 years out from my ovarian cancer recurrence. At the time, I was anxious about another recurrence. I was nervous about every time my abdomen felt uncomfortable or I felt full or I had a headache. A wise person told me that if I am doing everything I can - exercising, eating well  and going to my follow-up doctor's appointments I am doing my best. So to remind myself to keep doing what I need to stay healthy, I chose the phrase, "Stay the Course". 

I was looking at the painting the other day and I realized that "Stay the Course"  is still appropriate for many reasons. I've continued to try my best to stay healthy. I walk, do yoga and Jazzercise and try to eat healthy.  I saw my dermatologist in June.  My appointment with my advance practice nurse at my cancer center was in September, when I also had my CA-125 check. I saw my eye doctor in October along with having my annual mammogram. And I recently had my annual wellness check-up with my PCP.

But this year I needed to do more. I need to stay the course until I receive a vaccine for Covid-19. And yes, I have read the study results from the Pfizer vaccine trial and have read about how the vaccine is made and the various components. I was actually happy to see lipid nanoparticles being use since I had spoken to a researcher at ASCO in  2019 about using those particles to deliver cancer treatments .  Even having had an anaphylactic reaction to carboplatin, I am comfortable taking the vaccine. I know that in this day an age where we get packages overnight and can find information at our fingertips waiting is not easy. But I will have to stay the course a bit longer.

So in the mean time, I will continue to wear a mask. I actually have masks in assorted colors and styles to choose from. I will continue to carry hand sanitizer with me and I will continue to wash my hands more frequently while avoiding touching my eyes and face. I will continue to avoid large crowds - even if the group is outside. If I am in a store I will continue to change directions to avoid people who may be closer than six feet.  I will continue to avoid eating inside at restaurants.

 I'll share my experience with you when I actually am able to get the vaccine. But in the mean time, I hope you will stay the course with me.



Every Day is a Blessing!