Thursday, June 17, 2010

My love/hate relationship with Cancer...

So I took an unintentional hiatus and although I didn't plan it, I believe it was suppose to happen. I'm playing a secret game of tug or war with Ovarian Cancer. It's always been a love hate relationship but lately it's been more of a "I'm just going to pretend you don't exist" type of relationship.

I was watching The Celebrity Apprentice a few weeks ago and Sharon Osbourne(Rocker Mom, Wife of Rock-star Ozzy Osbourne and Colon Cancer Survivor) said something that really struck a cord with me. When asked why it was so important for her to win Celebrity Apprentice, she admitted that it was because she felt like she owed a debt that she had to repay. She promised that she would do everything she could to raise awareness and money for Colon Cancer if her life was spared.

There's a big part of me that feels the same way. I feel like I'm not doing my part or pulling my weight in the fight against Ovarian Cancer. I'm losing my zest and that makes me sad.

I just had my 4-month check-up, my CA125 is slightly elevated. At 13 it's well within normal range, my doctor didn't seem on the other hand had a bit of a pit in my stomach and I still do. I went to an outside lab for my blood work instead of getting it done at the hospital where I normally do, so I'm thinking that could have been a factor. Who knows...I go back in 3-months, I choose 3 instead of makes me feel like I've got some control...a rarity with this disease.

I think I have to get back on the wagon, when I was ACTIVELY doing something I definitely felt better. It helped me to make sense of this senseless disease. Without that, I've become increasingly angry and resentful, not a good look at all!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

MIA from Cancer...

Let's see...over the past month that I've been MIA from cancer, I forgot I had jury duty, I haven't gotten my port flushed in a really long time, I planned and hosted a 9 year old birthday party, I've been enjoying life and feeling a little guilty because I'm becoming so far removed from my mission.

First off, I NEVER miss jury duty, I LOVE's a perfect time to just do nothing and when doing nothing is acceptable. I could probably become a career jury duty lady of leisure, how fantastic that would be! The port flush is another story, my doctors office changed the the policy for getting flushes and it's sooooooo daunting, so I've chosen the high road. I simply tuck it away in that little part of brain where things go to hang out when I don't want to deal with them, only revisiting often enough to say, "I need to get my port flush, I keep forgetting"...ha ha. After that little moment, away it goes again...until we meet again.

It's amazing how far removed from my cancer diagnosis I am, yet how close we remain. It's like that friend you don't have to speak to for years, yet when you's like riding a bike, we pick up right where we left off. I still can't believe that was me, bald and rocking it, chemo bound and scared out of my mind. I don't ever want to lose my connection with cancer, I hate her...but I love who I've become because of her. There are those moments like today that I still get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. We stopped by a sports bar near home for some wings and a memory came racing back to me. It was a few days before my first surgery, a few days before my word would change forever. We went to watch a football game at the bar and I was so sick to my stomach, we had to leave early. I wanted no food, I really wanted to get rid of the nausea that plagued me, and I wanted whatever was growing inside me to go away. Even as I write this, the tears are flowing...I'm okay now, yet there was a real chance I wouldn't be.

I've got to get back on the wagon. I've got to continue to speak out and speak loud about this RIDICULOUS disease!! More to come on that...I pray that whatever your journey is, that you are navigating your way through with the love and support of more people than you can handle, enjoying and living in the moment!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Life's been good...good and busy!!

Busy, Busy, has been a busy few weeks. So busy that I'm wayyyyyyyyyy overdue for my port flush, I'm slowly but surely leaving cancer in the dust!

So much to tell...let's start with the annual "Teal Magnolia Luncheon", which I attended on Saturday March 27th. Teal Magnolia is a luncheon hosted by the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Florida...the lovely group of women who do so much for the education and awareness of Ovarian Cancer. It's so nice to see so many people come out in support of this not so silent disease, I am humbled and inspired by all of my sisters who are fighting this disease. It's also nice to see my nurses and doctors outside of the hospital or chemo room. You put your trust & life in the hands of these individuals for months and in some cases years, I remain grateful to them all for the care I received and the care the continue to dole out to others.

The hard part about the luncheon for me is always coming face to face with my sisters who are still in the fight, those who continue to go through recurrence after recurrence. It's interesting, when I was first diagnosed I remember saying on more than one occasion "Why me?" I find myself saying "why them?"...haven't they been through enough? It's a great reminder that the fight is not over and that I'm fighting for me and all of those who aren't up to the fight.

The other highlight of my time away from my blog has been the release of the movie I worked on last summer "Letters To God". It's a story of hope. The story of an eight-year old boy in the fight of his life with cancer and while fighting he manages to inspire all of those around him. It's a bit of a tear-jerker but it's an even bigger message of hope. If you're reading this blog, I'm asking you to take your friends and family to see "Letters To God". Whether you are Christian or not, we need more people to wake up and think about someone other than themselves. Life's too short and we must enjoy every moment that we have here...when I think of all of the children who are suffering and who have yet to LIVE life, I think who am I to complain?

For more information on "Letters To God", please visit

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I've been published...sort of:)

Here's a link to an article I wrote last's finally made it's way to the world wide web. It's weird reading something that I wrote so long along, it still feels very real and accurate:)


Friday, March 26, 2010

You have a pre-existing life insurance for you

The past few weeks have been pretty busy in a good way, but the main reason I've been away for so long is that I just didn't know what to say. The coverage of the health care debate has literally given me hot-flashes, it frustrates me to no end. I feel completely powerless. Even when I was going through treatment for Ovarian Cancer I felt like I had power. Yes, cancer was attacking my body...but I still had my mind and where my body was failing me, I could always rely on my mind to catch me when I fell.

We definitely need REFORM, there's no question about that. Prime example---I received a call yesterday from an insurance broker regarding my business. His records showed that I had recently started a small business and he wanted to know if my insurance needs had been met. I let him know that I had business insurance and health insurance(if my husband loses his job, then that's another story). He then asked about life insurance...annoyed that I'm not eligible for life insurance, I seized the moment...I took out my frustration on him. I let him know that I'm not eligible for life insurance because I have a pre-existing condition, his response..."oh okay, thank you so much". Unbelievable....

Deep down I know that the passing of the health care bill was historical. I also know that it's the furthest we've ever got in the movement. I know all of this, yet I still feel defeated. My concerns lie with the concessions we had to make to get there. Anyone with pre-existing conditions should be eligible for affordable/quality health care. You should still be able to feed your family and put a roof over their heads without worrying about how you're going to afford health care coverage. Children with pre-existing conditions will be eligible for heath insurance without being discriminated against once the bill becomes active, adults will have to wait a few years and in the interim they will be placed into a high-risked pool with other's just like them. If you do not have insurance, you will be required to purchase it at an affordable rate and family's who meet certain income levels will be eligible for a tax credit to help offset the cost. Last I checked, many of us are living paycheck to paycheck and are one check away from poverty. Where is this extra money coming from to purchase "affordable quality insurance"?

The argument that people die waiting for medical attention in the UK and Canada as a reason why we shouldn't have a public option doesn't fly with me. Mainly because people die while waiting for medical attention here in the US as well, but people seem to turn a blind eye to that. Maybe people turn a blind eye because the majority of people affected by this happen to be people who don't have advocates, people who live below the poverty level...people who aren't deemed a valuable part of our society.

Here's a link to the White House website where they've provided details on the reform and what it will mean to us...

Check it out, education is power and keeping ourselves educated helps to control the rumor mill!! I have no problem with those who share their opinion, we're entitled to do that and guess what, our opinions don't have to match our neighbors and we can still get along. That's the beauty of free speech! What bothers me is when people share their opinion, present it as gospel, and haven't done a bit of homework to educate themselves. That's when the hot-flashes kick in and I stop listening.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Memory Lane...

Yesterday I took a trip down memory lane, literally and figuratively. After FINALLY seeing the movie "Precious", which if you haven't seen it...I suggest you do. It was both amazing and disturbing. Above all, It delivered with some of the best performances of the year! Okay, back to my trip down memory lane...We brought our house 3 years ago this month, newly married, pre-cancer and back when l thought I was invincible. There was a house we looked at and came close to buying(in my husbands mind only)...we decided to try and find that house. Don't ask me how but we found it, I guess my memory isn't as bad as I thought it was and the days of blaming chemo brain appear to be over:) I won't go into details, but let's just say this. We are all where we should be in life and there's a reason we didn't settle on that house...what a nightmare that would have been. The one thing i will say is, it's a AMAZING how different a place can change in 3 years. We almost doubled back a few times because things were quite different. We had a lot of "I don't remember that building, that wasn't here" moments.

Keeping in line with revisit the past Saturday, someone how I ended up in a conversation with my BFF about D DAY aka DIAGNOSIS Day...every time I think back to that day it brings back a flood of emotions. But what it also does is keep me grounded and appreciative for all that I have. After Dan(the grim reaper) broke the news, I remember my friend April calling while I was still groggy and out of it, yet I remember telling her it was cancer and asking her if she could she please call Tasha (the BFF I referred to earlier and tell her)...see talking to Tasha would have made the situation so much worst...I knew she wouldn't handle it well and that was something I couldn't deal with at the time. Yesterday we laughed about just how well she didn't handle it and although not funny at the time, it feels good to revisit that time with a much lighter attitude!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Running towards the future...sort of

Are you cranky, moody, afraid to place one foot in front of another? Scared to commit to things or events a day away, a week away and let's not even discuss a month away? Do you find yourself using the future of your health as a direct correlation between things that manifest in your life and things that don't? If you've answered yes to any of these questions it confirms that you suffer from "It's Check-up Time, OH PLEASE LET IT BE GOOD NEWS" syndrome. This is how I handle my check-ups. While I'm making tremendous progress in the area of LIVING everyday, the days leading up to my check-up are still a work in progress. For instance, I've been trying to secure something for work that would take my business to the next level...when it didn't come through...I went there. Yes, you know the place of no return. I rationalized the fact that things didn't come through because Mr. Recurrence was waiting for me just around the corner. When will I stop doing that? When will Mr. Recurrence take a hike once and for all?

Even at my appointment yesterday, I couldn't control my blood pressure. I never can. Just getting on the scale stresses me out and to make matters worst...just as I was getting on the scale the lab girl blurts out that my CA125 was 6. Seriously!! Those are the words every woman who's had Ovarian Cancer wants to hear, yet I wasn't ready for them...not knowing whether to laugh or cry...I simple ran up my blood pressure...Unbelievable!!. This my friends is what happens when you leave me alone with my thoughts. They runaway from me. If I'm really lucky, I can catch them before they cause serious bodily harm to me or anyone in my path.

Nothing is promised to any of us, yet those of us with "pre-existing conditions" work hard to put our past behind us and and run towards our future. I'm getting my track shoes on now...

Another check-up down, I'll see you in June!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Check-up time-T minus 4 days

It's that time again. You know what time. Check up time. Four months already. These are the quickest four months ever. I went in for my CA125 blood test this week and the wait the begins. The reality of the situation has reared it's ugly head once more. This is especially hard when there are so many great things going on for me right now and so many plans I've set in motion. So much so that my mind won't rest until I know that I'm all clear. Living life in 4-month interval's is not my idea of fun, but it's my hand and I'm dealing.

I plan on asking the good doctor about my port or my socket as Dan calls it (gotta love his humor). I still have it and from what I've been told they are reluctant to take it based on the high recurrence rate of OVCA. Truthfully I think it depends on the doctor and we'll see.

Oh yeah, I'm on weight watchers aka I'm watching my weight:) Apparently I don't know how to stop eating on my own, I needed an WW is now my friend. So far my friend has helped me lose about 6 pounds and what's really awesome is that I only have a bunch more to go!! The program works if you work it!!! I still have a hard time understanding how when most people lose weight during cancer treatments, I managed to gain...gain the equivilent of a small child...UNBELIEVABLE!! One day at a time that's all I can do...that's how I'm living!!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Jeff Probst remembers 'Survivor: Palau' contestant Jennifer Lyon

I didn't know Jennifer Lyon and I didn't start watching Survivor until after her season, but this is the most beautiful tribute I've ever read. Jenn was a true SURVIVOR in every since of the word. Thank you Jeff Probst for sharing with the world this beautiful lesson.

Jeff Probst remembers 'Survivor: Palau' contestant Jennifer Lyon

Monday, February 1, 2010

Happy Blog-A-Versary to me!!

So this is my 100th post!! Happy blog-A-versary to me!!! I'm so not a diary/journal gal...what I loved most about keeping a diary as a kid was looking at and hiding the shiny gold key it came with...the key to my secret thoughts. Yet, without fail and after one or two half entries, that shiny gold key and the diary it belonged always became a distant memory. This pattern of start-stop-toss was something that I carried for this my friends is my first successful diary experience and I'm ever so grateful for it!!

I named this blog---Journey-A letter 2 Ovarian Cancer, because I started off really angry. I wanted to give ovarian cancer a piece of my mind...I believe I've done just that and I'm sure I will continue to do that and more...yet a year and a half later my letter is a little different.

Dear Ovarian Cancer,

Life before you was AMAZING!! After you entered my world, I thought all was lost and I'm happy to report that life after you is still AMAZING!! Thank you for opening my eyes and making me more aware. Thank you for pushing me to keep moving, maybe a little slower at times...but still moving. Thank you for filling me with anger- anger that I turned into energy- energy that I used to kick your ass!! Thank you for giving me the gift of friends from all around the world and for allowing me to be a VOICE for this not so silent disease. Thank you for showing me that life does go on and it can be good. Thank you for the constant reminder that this too shall pass and that if I can overcome you, I can overcome anything!!! Thank you for teaching me about vanity and appreciating the BEAUTY of a bald head(wash-rub-go), you can't beat it!! Thank you for teaching me to live in the moment and to enjoy every day that we have with the people we love, as tomorrow is not promised.

P.S. I would say thank you for the hot flashes as they truly are fascinating and make having conversations oh so awkward but I'm just not that there yet:) steps people, baby steps!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Network TV gives Ovarian Cancer a new look...

Either I've become more "aware" because I'm an Ovarian Cancer survivor(which in some cases I have) or network TV has really picked up on the fact that Ovarian Cancer is a serious disease that's affecting women of all ages and they're FINALLY showing us that it's a disease worthy of "QUALITY" screen time. Screen time that isn't the reason why the main character has suddenly died a month after getting diagnosed and leaving behind her husband and her newborn child. It's sad to say, but until now that's what we've been watching...

With shows like "Mercy" and "Private Practice" it's refreshing to see Ovarian Cancer in the forefront and being presented in a brighter light. I flinch when I realize that a character is about to hear those oh so familiar words and I breathe a sigh of relief when I realize that what I'm about to witness is a new way of dealing with this illness...through these shows I've seen it affect women of color, women in their twenties, thirty's and forty's. People who look like me, share the same concerns as me...people who reflect the journey I've been on. Yes, I know they're actors, but oh how good it feels to see that people do survive even if it is a fictional wold. Grab hope where ever we can is my motto!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


So this is the last entry before I put down the pen...little did I know just a few months later I would embark on a path of journaling and sharing my story with the world...I also find it fascinating how many different feelings and range of emotions we tackle on a day to day basis, sometimes all within a few minutes time as you can see by the entry below.

November 4, 2007

Went to the Dr. two days ago and the news was great. My CA125 is back to normal, Dr. Finkler said that this is a really good indicator of how great your survival rate will be. I'm so thankful for the news, however I'm morning the loss of my hair. It started to fall out the day I went to the doctor, I think by next week I'll be bald. As prepared as I am or thought I would's still very disturbing. I don't feel pretty, that's pretty shallow but that's how I feel. I don't want to wallow but I have no other outlet. I just want to sleep and pretend that this isn't happening to me. I'm sad today, finding it hard to be optimistic. I know this will pass, but God it hurts. I don't want anyone to tell me it's gonna be okay, I know it will...just not today!

January 24, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

RETRO BLOG #3 -I am not my hair

October 30, 2007

Today is the day that mama(my maternal grandmother) died 15 years ago. I pray that she is watching over me. I feel cheated by the amount of time I've loss with her, but some of my younger cousins have never even met her. She is my guardian angel, that I know for sure. I'm glad to have a few good ones up there. I wonder if they all talk and what the buzz is up there...Mama, Bill, Scott, & Aunt Joyce.

I believe I've lost the hair on my legs, it's weird. I wonder if that's what it will be like when I lose the hair on my head. It's been exactly two weeks since my first chemo. They said I would lose all of my hair in about two weeks. I cut it off the day after my first chemo, I'm working with little more than a buzz cut.

I stopped checking my pillow, when it goes it goes.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

RETRO BLOG #2-What will cancer do to those who love me?

October 24, 2007

Eating again like crazy. Still having dreams about food. I guess things could be worst, lol. I talked to a bunch of people today. I realize that I have to get these calls in when I feel good, it really helps those who care about me feel better. Everyone says that when you're sick like me you have to focus on "doing you". I worry so much about what my illness will do to those around me.

Would love to have some chicken from Publix, Dan will think I'm crazy....

I've tried to journal all my life, maybe this time I'll stick to it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

RETRO BLOG(found some of my early thoughts)-DIAGNOSIS OVARIAN CANCER

In trying to get going and organized I came across a journal that I started when I was first diagnosed...I think I got three entries in before I dropped the pen and paper...again i was never good at keeping a journal:)

Here's the first one...

October 23, 2007

Diagnosed 22 days ago with Ovarian Cancer...I believe that was the worst day of my life. I have chemo again in exactly two weeks, it's hard not to dwell on that, especially when I'm feeling so good. I feel almost normal, what a blessing that is.

Side effects so far are a little insomnia, pain in legs, diarrhea and extreme hunger(probably from the steroids)....I really can't complain.

Dan is awesome, what a rock he is...I am so thankful for his presence in my life.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Teal Princess Strikes Again...

Okay, my parents always told me that race, politics, and religion were pretty much off limits when it comes to topics of conversation. Why? Because those are three of the most controversial issues you can broach. I generally live by this rule of thumb, but when I don't I'm pretty aware of who my audience is and how to navigate the conversation so as to get my opinion across without thoroughly pissing someone off or completely alienating someone who has the potential to become a lifelong friend.

I say all of this because, last week I had dinner with a few friends and of course the conversation landed on the state of our healthcare or lack thereof. I know you're probably thinking that I ride around in my teal dress and bat mobile on a crusade to save the world, making sure that each and every person I come across understands the importance of having QUALITY & AFFORDABLE healthcare. Well I don't...I try and hit you with it when you least expect it and again since I grew up knowing what and what not to say I'm always aware of my surroundings. So on this particular evening, surrounded by good friends I felt comfortable addressing the issue especially because one of my friends has no insurance because he's a freelance filmmaker and my other friend spent a year paying out of pocket for cobra as her and her husband were both unemployed, costing hem about $800.00 a month. Who can afford that?

As we sat there chatting about how ridiculous it is that my filmmaker friend doesn't have coverage and about what would happen to him should something serious occur, our waitress who clearly didn't get the race-politics-and religion are off limits memo, chimes in with her opinion. We're all entitled to our opinions, but know your boundaries...that's all I ask. Apparently she grew up in Europe or Canada, somewhere where there's universal healthcare. She proceeded to tell us how there shouldn't be universal healthcare and she shared her thoughts why. Something about an issue on her arm that took forever to be looked after as a kid, the end result being a scar or something. I don't know, I kind of tuned her out the moment she decided it was okay for her to share her opinion. I politely told her that, I'm not sure what the answer is but I do believe we need reform. I also told her that not one system is perfect, but it beats a blank which is what we have right now.

When you lack healthcare coverage, the phrase "Early Detection" has no meaning. If you can't afford to go to the doctor for check-ups, odds are you won't catch whatever ailment you have in a timely manner, thus decreasing your chances of a successful cure. Yes I know that there are clinics and government agencies that can point you in the direction for a free check-up, but what about the follow up? How do you begin to navigate your local government to figure out where to go and what the process is? Oh and when you get there, sometime between waiting for hours just to get seen and being treated like you're less than human...maybe just maybe you'll see a doctor who cares and not one who's underpaid and under appreciated.

What's the definition of reform? I'm still not clear...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!!

I had a fantastic holiday season!! If there's anything that cancer has taught me, it's to live-laugh-love always!!!! I don't have time for people who can't appreciate that sentiment and I chose not to surround myself with them. I'm not going to bore you with resolutions, I know what they are and I know what I need to do. No need to chat about it, as chatting doesn't accomplish anything. So this year is all about the physical act and making things manifest. I continue to pray for all of my sisters fighting the good but not so easy fight and although we are near and far, you are in my thoughts everyday. We are cancer warriors and the battle continues.

I'm attaching a picture of my beautiful God-Daughter because she's just too cute for words and because she reminds of all that's left to do in life and I'm keeping my eyes on the prize.

Wishing all of you a wonderful new year, filled with good health and prosperity.