Monday, September 16, 2013

75 Years Strong!

We celebrated mom's 75th birthday on Saturday, Sept. 14 in a packed room at Sweet Peas Grille in Geneseo. Even though we were squeezed in for the most part - it was fun to have everyone together. Everyone that has meant so much to mom in these last couple of tough years. She said several times she is blessed and I feel that way too. Everyone (no men though) had their teal toes on too!

My project of the day was to take a picture of everyone with a Happy Birthday banner. I'm going to make a poster (or maybe magnets for her fridge) so that she can have a good memory of that day. There was once upon a time when she felt that she wasn't going to make it to 75 - and now she has proved the universe wrong on so many levels. Go mom!
Two grandsons and a girlfriend! 

Two ovarian cancer survivors! 

Good thing there aren't 75 candles on the cake!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Day 6: Stories

I've read oodles of women's stories about their journey with ovarian cancer. I think those have made it all the more real for my mom and myself, and have also brought about a sense of unity... that women don't have to go through it alone.

There are resources and awareness - and keeping the message alive and going is what it takes to make sure that all women know the subtle symptoms of ovarian cancer.

This story about a woman named Stephanie Peterson is hard to read because she was so young, yet the story is a common one - you think the symptoms are symptoms of something else... until it is almost too late.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Day 5: Awareness for more than a day

Ovarian Cancer Awareness has made strides even since mom's diagnosis in 2009 - which was only 4 short years ago. Ovarian Cancer was just getting attention - and there wasn't much visibility of the disease known to me at the time.

Fast forward to May 8th, 2013, the first World Ovarian Cancer Day.

On this day, ovarian cancer organizations from around the world united to educate their communities about ovarian cancer and its symptoms. This is even a larger initiative that the September Awareness month, and it took them four years to organize themselves enough. Large initiatives do take time.

Ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of all gynecologic cancers, and is characterized around the world by a lack of awareness of symptoms and late stage diagnosis.

The key to awareness is not to narrow it down to one day or one month - but to keep the cycle going long after September has passed. Say something every day (even to yourself) that you need to be aware of the symptoms. If your girlfriend is complaining of something seemingly minor, like a belly ache, take the time to talk about the subtle symptoms of Ovarian Cancer. It's a good habit to practice and will create more awareness.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Day 4: BEAT this into your brain

This is going to be a short one today (I'm finding out that blogging once a day + full time job + other misc. activities = time budget deficit). One way to make it easier to remember the Ovarian Cancer symptoms is by simply making it EASIER. Therefore, our friends at the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance came up with the B.E.A.T. acronym to help women remember the basic symptoms:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Day 3 of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month: How deadly is the Big O?

If Ovarian Cancer is caught at an early stage, it is very treatable. Key words: caught early. My mom was lucky enough to catch her cancer at a treatable level...even though it was Stage 3 and had already spread - there was no tumor metastasized yet.

On the OCNA web site there are oodles of figures about how deadly Ovarian Cancer is, and here are the most interesting tidbits:

  • It is the deadliest of all gynecologic cancers and the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among American women. 
  • A woman’s lifetime risk of developing invasive ovarian cancer is 1 in 72. 
  • More than 22,000 American women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013. 
  • About 14,000 women will die from ovarian cancer in the United States in 2013.
There is no detection system for Ovarian Cancer, just your own awareness of your bodily functions. Pay attention every day, and keep a journal if you have to. It helps to keep track and then look back and see if something is off. It is better off in the long run if you catch it early. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Day 2 of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month: The Big O basics

As women, sometimes we just put up with our body because our body doesn't act normal all the time. You know what type of foods give you gas, you know that at certain times of the month you bloat, etc., etc. After awhile you just take those little variances as "just the way your body works" and ignore the functions.

That is a deadly frame of mind, because that is how Ovarian Cancer sneaks up on females: the subtle body functions that we take for granted. Whether it is every day or once a month, you shouldn't ignore your body.

Remember ovarian cancer’s subtle symptoms.

  • Bloating; pelvic and abdominal pain; difficulty eating or feeling full quickly; and urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency). Many people do not know that ovarian cancer causes these symptoms in the majority of women who develop the disease.
  • Additional symptoms may include fatigue, indigestion, back pain, pain with intercourse, constipation and menstrual irregularities. 
  • Factors that increase risk include: increasing age; personal or family history of ovarian, breast or colorectal cancer; and never having been pregnant or given birth to a child. 
  • About 10 to 15 percent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a hereditary tendency to develop the disease.
  • And there are many women out there WHO DO NOT HAVE A HISTORY OF OVARIAN CANCER in their family, yet develop Ovarian Cancer. So again, know the symptoms. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Teal Toes on!

The month of September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month - and each year for the past five years I have been painting my toes teal for the month. It's a small gesture but it gets me to talk about the terrible disease that my mom has been dealing with since 2009.

It is also a simple task for women everywhere to be aware of the sneaky symptoms and take charge of your health and ask questions when you feel something isn't right.

The OCNA has 30 days of tips to help people spread the word about Ovarian Cancer and I'm hoping to blog each day about their advice >> 

President Obama declared the month of September for Ovarian Cancer awareness >>