Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Two steps forward, one step back...

Sometimes I have to re-read my own entries in order to snap myself back into reality and to help me remember my journey. The past month or so hasn't left me wanting to write much. It could be that with every ache and pain, hot flash, or shortness of breath is a reminder that my life is not the same. It could be that while the world around me keeps moving and laughing and enjoying life I'm looking on from the sidelines wishing I too could be worry free. It could be that during this month of OVCA awareness, I haven't stopped talking and trying to educate women to take control of their bodies and while talking I'm faced with the reality that this is my world. I'm speaking from experience, first hand experience. It could be that I know so many women all across the globe who are in the midst of the fight of their life and I can't help but wonder if I will one day be in their shoes. The list is endless, but you get the idea...

So today, I re-read a few of my entries and I got back a little of my mojo...I'm remembering my cause--I'm remembering my fight--I'm remembering my sisters--I'm remembering our spouses and families.

Please know that this is only a moment and this too shall pass. This blog is for revealing the good, bad, and indifferent. I'm a work in progress, but who of us isn't?

BTW-If anyone has a remedy for hot flashes, please let me know...that could be one of the reason's I'm so grumpy:)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Women of Strength-The PinkTealies

Wednesday night I had the honor of attending and receiving an award at the 1st annual Pink Tealies Awards Symposium. The symposium brought together women all backgrounds, uniting us and acknowledging our individual journey's with breast or ovarian cancer. There were twelve us who were highlighted for our work and effort in leading the fight against cancer. I was honored to be one of the twelve.

There was a moment in the evening that forced me to step outside of myself and the moment. Dr. Kendrick, a gynecologic oncologist from the Florida Cancer Institute was giving a presentation on Ovarian Cancer...symptoms, statistics, & risk factors. That's when I tried to make my mental escape. I don't care how many times I hear those statistics(especially when delivered to a mass audience) I'm forced to remember that this isn't just general information, this is my information. This is my life, my journey and for the life of me I still can't figure out how I got here. I found myself fading in out of the present and visiting the past. The place where Ovarian Cancer wasn't a household name. The place where I dreamed big and out loud without limitations. A simpler, quieter time...it's scary,two years later and it's still scary. It's scary to hear the statistics on how many women don't survive. It's scary to think hear about how many women struggle with ovarian cancer for the rest of their lives.

Before I took myself to the point of no return, I took a good look around my table. There sat five wonderful women. Five Ovarian Cancer SURVIVORS. A combined total of 57 years kicking Ovarian Cancer's butt. There sat five women who are defeating the odds in a big way, including a 26 year stage 4 survivor. A living miracle and an inspiration to many. I'm keeping my eyes on the prize and I'm staying focused, not on statistics but on what's in front of me.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Teal Is The New Black-September is Ovarian Cancer Awarness Month

The symptoms are real...I'm real...I'm proof that this disease does not discriminate, proof that early detection is key ....bloating, frequent or urgent urination, back pain, pain during intercourse, abdominal pain...symptoms that if you're a woman you've probably experienced at some point during the month...the question on the minds of many is how do we take care of ourselves without becoming crazy and obsessed with every single pain or ache....

I won't tell you it's easy because it's not. It starts with knowing your body and knowing yourself. It starts with regular check ups. It starts with your voice and knowing how to use it.

Diagnosed at the age of 33 in October 2007, African-American and three weeks shy of my first wedding anniversary this is not how I pictured my life. Cancer happens to other people and on Lifetime movies, you know those movies you never want to watch, but always do. Almost two years later, I still wear the effects of cancer...it's in my eyes, it's wrapped up in the extra pounds I now carry, it's in the random sweats that occur at the most inopportune time, it's in the monkey on my back...the monkey that reminds me that I am not the same, that I 'm constantly making adjustments to the way I live, the things I can and will never be able to do. I wear the effects but it's not who I am. What I am is a SURVIVOR an ADVOCATE, A WIFE, DAUGHTER, FRIEND, & CONFIDENT.

I am blessed to have a wonderful support system and team of doctors on my side. Would I rather be on the sidelines supporting the fight against cancer, ABSOLUTELY!! That's not my journey. My journey is to make sure that I pay homage to the women who walked before me and to be of inspiration to those who beside me, on my right and my left and those who will unfortunately follow in my shoes.

Thank you for helping to create awareness for this not so silent disease. Thank you to my husband, family, and friends for supporting me on the journey of a lifetime...