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2 time ovarian cancer Survivor, Advocate for ovarian cancer awareness & research, Teacher of Zen Method Tai Chi, Blogger, sharing the wonderment and power of essential oils, proud fan of Cathe Friedrich's workouts, Reiki practitoner, A Course in Miracles student, paper crafter

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Gratefulness and Respect

I'm gratefully approaching my official 2 year post ovarian cancer Remission anniversary. Each year of remission is big deal to all cancer Survivors, but particularly ovarian cancer Survivors because there is often a higher risk of recurrence. I only have a 10% risk of recurrence, which is really low but still a risk. Click here for a chart from the Journal of National Cancer Institute to see the recurrence rates in ovarian cancer at different stages. 

It's humbling and shocking data, yet reminds me to stay in the flow of thankfulness for my current good health. It also gives me a sense of urgency to advocate for more research dollars that will lead to a Cure and educate women on ways to listen to and care for their bodies. Women shouldn't suffer or die from ovarian cancer any longer. Women deserve an early detection screening to find ovarian cancer at the earliest possible stage and preserve their lives. 

Oh, didn't you know that there is NOT an early detection screening for ovarian cancer? Shocking, isn't it? 

So how would you know you have it? By listening to your body, knowing your family cancer history, and paying attention to these symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)
The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance created a free App- and printable symptom diary- to help women track these symptoms. App link Symptom Diary Link Studies about ovarian cancer symptom link.

Ladies, dear ones, please pay attention to your body. If you're experiencing one or more of these symptoms- even just one, yes- for couple weeks or more please go see your gynecologist. The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance has fantastic information about detection. Read it carefully and then tune into your body. Take care of yourself, don't just wait & see. 

This past Thursday I went to my gyn oncologist for my 2 year pelvic exam and blood work to determine my CA 125 level. A normal CA 125 is 35 U/ml or less. Mine was 3 U/ml 6 months ago, which is amazingly wonderful. I'll get results from Thursday early next week, and I'm expecting good news. 

I wasn't feeling much anxiety until I got to the parking lot on Thursday. My affirmations and flowing thoughts of gratefulness keep me in a healthy and positive place mentally and emotionally. I've been focusing on ovarian cancer advocacy, not so much my personal journey through ovarian cancer. Yet pulling into the parking lot brought up a bit of fear and anxiety, and I could smell the chemo before walking in the building. 

I called my friend Angella, who is the creator of The Zen Method that I'm training to become certified in, and she listened for a few minutes and then talked me through 3 cleansing and grounding breaths. Connecting with your breath is a powerful calming tool. 

My blood draw was easy and thankfully the first stick stuck. My veins were slow to share but we got 3 vials out. This is the only time I ever miss my Port-a-cath, but I get tougher with every stick. 

I was prepared to be there for awhile since I had an afternoon appointment which usually means the oncologist is behind schedule, but I was called back quickly. I got to be in the 'upgrade' room with the more comfortable chair with stirrups and joked about it with the nurse. She went through the usual round of questions.

My oncologist came in quickly and we got down to business. That 'upgrade' chair made the exam much more comfortable. Yay! Then I got hear the words I needed to hear from her- everything feels fine. Relief floods in. 

She then checked the computer for my blood work- except CA 125 which takes longer- and more good news. Everything looks good. More relief and gratitude joins the flood. 

She wants me to have a mammogram just because it's been nearly 2 years and it's a smart thing to do for a gyn cancer Survivor. Though, I'm not thrilled about it I am thankful that breast cancer HAS an early detection screening process. As I think that, there in the stirrups, I feel a pang of sadness for ovarian cancer patients as I wish we had an early detection screening too. So I agree to get a mammogram. 

That's my official 2 year post ovarian cancer oncologist follow up appointment results. Everything looks good, I'm doing great. I can wait 6 months for my next follow up. I'm relieved, and full of gratitude.... 

I get on the elevator and check my email as a mental break from being at The West Clinic.  There's a brand new email about a friend, a Teal Sister, who is in treatment. The email tells me that She also saw her gyn oncologist that day, but didn't get good news. I got in my car and bawled for both of us for a few minutes, because it ovarian cancer sucks.

I called my Mom to share my good news, sent out a text to my closest friends and sisters, and posted on Facebook, Then I stepped out of my own personal ovarian cancer journey and back into my new role of Advocacy and supporting my Teal Sisters. 

Please send your Love, Comfort and Light to this dear Teal Sister- to all my Teal Sisters... and to all Survivors. 





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