Monday, March 30, 2009

Nothing exciting, but thought I'd check in....

Stopping by to give you a quick update. No metaphors, wise sayings, or advice to give. Just a simple update. I'm going in for my 3-month check-up tomorrow in addition to my port flush. I missed my port flush appointment last week...I just may be getting to the point that cancer isn't the center of my world. It's very unusual for me to forget any appointments ESPECIALLY when it's cancer related. I guess life really does move on. There's still a little part of me that will be super glad when tomorrow is over and I'm standing at the check-out desk scheduling my next 3 month appointment. It use to be that I lived my life according to days off from school or work, birthdays and any major holiday at which you're given great gifts, a plethora of food, or some good old fashioned R&R. Now 3-month intervals are what make me happy., you never know where it's going to take you!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Remembering Jade Goody...

British reality star Jade Goody passed away this morning. Jade battled Cervical Cancer with grace, up until the end. She leaves behind two young boys which I'm sure was harder than the disease itself. As we lose another women to gynecologic cancer, I urge and encourage all of you to take of your body. There are some illness' in life that can't be avoided no matter what we do, but the better shape your body is in the better prepared for the fight you will be. I hadn't heard of Jade until her battle with cervical cancer became public, but if there's one thing I can gather from what I've read...she lived hard, worked hard, and most importantly loved hard. Enough said.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The ultimate guide to dealing with a cancer patient...

It's been a year since my last chemo and although I'm rapidly shedding the exterior label of a cancer patient I still get the "look" when people learn about my battle with Ovarian Cancer. Lets face it, Ovarian Cancer is a dreadful disease, I'm 35 and African-American. I don't look like Ovarian Cancer. So with that combination, the "look" is inevitable. And as much as I hate it, I can relate to the look, as it wasn't too long ago where the only thing I knew about cancer was what I saw on Lifetime TV.

So as I've just established, the looks aren't going to go away. And they shouldn't, they're a natural reaction to devastating news. The questions is, how do we move pass the look? There are a million resources out there that offer suggestions to cancer patients on how to take control of their disease. How about a few tips for those of you on the other side, friends and family who struggle with doing/saying the "right" thing.

  1. Don't be afraid to admit that you don't know what to say or do. Odds are, you've never dealt with anything like this, so how would you know?
  2. Take a cue from the patient, see where they want to take the conversation. For me, there are days when I want nothing to do with cancer, then there are days where it consumes my every waking moment.
  3. Phone calls and e-mails are great, but if we don't call you back right away take no offense, we know you're there, we just might not be up to chatting. This is not an excuse to stop calling or writing, check in every now and then...when we come out of our fog, you're first on our list!
  4. Don't forget that a cancer diagnosis last longer than a week. We have a long road ahead of us and things tend to go silent after the immediate fanfare. We need support throughout our entire journey.
  5. If you're in the neighborhood bring by a meal. Caregivers have a lot on their plate and a day when they don't have to worry about cooking is always a good day. Don't ask just do it!
  6. Offer to accompany someone to treatment or a doctor's appointment. Again, our care-givers can really use a day off and these little gestures go a long way.
  7. Don't treat cancer like the elephant in the room. It's there, it's real...acknowledge it! It doesn't bite and you can't catch it by talking about it.
  8. Don't miss out on an opportunity to share an incredible journey with someone you care about.
  9. Knowledge is power! Do us a favor, educate yourself and other's.
  10. Keep us in your prayers, the more prayers the better!

Bonus**If you're looking for some great gifts to send to someone who's sick, visit Check out the cancer patients section, this site is well worth the click!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Cancer+Fortune Cookie=Kia

"I don't know how to become unstuck"

"The only wrong thing, is to do nothing"

I have little scraps of paper all over the house with sayings just like the one above. Most times it comes to me via background noise coming out of the TV. I rush to look for a viable pen to write down what I've just heard, although I know these moments happen often, I'm never prepared and thus everything is written down in haste. I subsequently spend hours on end trying to decipher what I wrote. It's a vicious cycle, my vicious cycle. My husband says I'm like a giant fortune cookie. I laugh him off as if to say "your so silly", however I know he's right. Ovarian Cancer has turned me into a giant fortune cookie right in front of my very own eyes.

These little words of wisdom have helped me navigate this senseless disease. These little words validate what I already know to be true. We all seek validation, no matter what we're going through at the time. Validation that we are not alone in our journey, validation that we are on the right path, and validation that life does and will get better. We all have people around us who offer invaluable words of wisdom, yet more often than not those words are hard to process when it comes from someone so close to you. Fortune cookies have no vested interest in us, so in my opinion we can always count on them to give it to us straight!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lights, Camera, Action!!

My quest to spread awareness for this senseless disease is endless...last week I channeled my inner "America's next top model" just for the cause. Before I explain, let me just preface it with this...I have a WHOLE new appreciation for models and the endless hours they spend cheesing in front of the camera. Who knew that was such a hard job?

About a month ago I was interviewed by a writer who was writing a story for "All You" magazine, a magazine that's solely distributed through Walmart. Last week the magazine sent out a photographer to capture some pictures to accompany the article. They wanted to take pics of me while out and about, doing what I do best...spreading awareness...I didn't have anything lined up, so I suggested that they join me at the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Florida's monthly lunch-bunch. Every month survivor's,caregivers, and friends meet for a dutch lunch. It's a great way to connect outside of the treatment room and doctors office. It's one of those little things that can really help keep you sane. What I love most about it is that it keeps me connected to the people and cause I care most about.

It felt like my wedding day all over again. I think Preston, the photographer must have taken at least 500 shots. He got a truckload of shots both inside and outside of the restaurant, then followed me to my house for pic's of Dan and I(this is when things really started to feel like an issue of Ladies Home Journal). All I can say is that I did the best I could at channeling my inner Tyra Banks, hoping and praying that in between blinks I made her proud. The issue comes out this summer, I think it will give great exposure this disease that doesn't discriminate and for that I'll make a fool out of myself anytime!!

I want to give a shout out to my co-stars, the little ladies that I share this incredible journey with. They were such great sports, putting up with the constant flashing of the bulb and for joining me in my "starring role". I can't imagine my life without any of them, they all bring something special to my life, a gift worth a million bucks!!