In July 2005, I was diagnosed with stage 3B high grade epithelial ovarian cancer. I was treated at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and took part in a phase 1 clinical trial using Selenium along with taxol and carboplatin. In 2006, I heard that my CT scans showed No Evidence of Disease (NED).
Two and half years after completing treatment, I learned that I had recurred. I had surgery(spleen removed and liver re-sectioned) followed by chemotherapy. I was told on May 8, 2009 that I was once again NED.
I attended the LiveSTRONG Survivors Summit in 2006 and 2008 and volunteered as a Foundation leader for central NJ. I have also volunteered with the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, the Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation, the Cancer Hope Network, the Teal Tea Foundation and the Cancer Support Community Central NJ. I am a member of the Hunterdon / Mercer County Chronic Disease Coalition.
In June 2011, I was was chosen to be a Focus on Research Scholar and attended the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Conference. I had the privilege of attending ASCO again in 2012 and 2015 as a patient advocate on a Conquer Cancer Foundation scholarship.
In 2014 I attended the Stanford MedX Conference as a MedX e-patient scholar. While attending the conference I took part in the IDEO Design Challenge. Using design thinking and with a team of physicians and designers, we developed a method to prepare patients for what may happen physically and emotionally once cancer treatment is completed.
Christina Lizaso and I co-founded the #gyncsm (gynecologic cancer social media) community on Twitter in 2013. We co-moderator a monthly #gyncsm chat on the second Wednesday at 9pm EST. (More information can be found on Twitter :@gyncsm and on our blog: gyncsm.blogspot.com).
I am honored to be the patient voice and co-author (along with Dr Don Dizon) of the book 100 Questions and Answers about Ovarian Cancer (published 9/15).
I serve as the patient advocate member of the Rutger's Cancer Institute of NJ Scientific Review Board as well as the center's Community Cancer Action Board. I recently completed the Citizen Scientist Program at the center.
My ASCO Patient Advocate membership has led to opportunities to serve on three guideline panels ( Anti-emetic; Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Ovarian Cancer and Germline and Somatic Testing for Ovarian Cancer). I also currently serve as the patient advocate member of the ASCO Evidence Based Medicine Guideline Committee.
In 2019, I presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago with Dr Dickson in the Fireside Chat - "What Patients Want From Providers- Needs of Women with Ovarian Cancer". In September 2019, I took part in the ASCO Advocacy Summit on Capital Hill to insure all cancer patients have access to high-quality, high-value cancer care. I was recently named a 2019 ASCO Advocacy Champion.
In January of 2020, I presented at the NRG Oncology Semi-Annual meeting on "Benefits and Support of Twitter Cancer Communities".
Please see my Publications/ Presentation page for additional information
ASCO Patient advocate member, 2015 - present
SGO Patient advocate member, 2020- present