I welcome you to today’s blog which I hope will give you some interesting information to help your health AND to celebrate certain people.

On my blog dated Feb. 13, I shared about the “Broken Heart” syndrome. This condition actually can occur from a stressful situation which causes muscle weakness in the left ventricle of the heart.

Research has also shown that 1 in 6 people who have this syndrome had cancer . Those cancers are breast, lung, internal sex organs, and the skin. The exact correlation is still being investigated. These patients were more likely to pass away within five years compared to those with broken heart syndrome who did not have cancer.

Some of the larger medical institutions have now developed cardio-oncology departments for closer observation and treatment for such patients.

Through my 13 years of being a cancer survivor, I have not met anyone who has had this phenomenon (to my knowledge). However, it is important for everyone, the survivor and his/her care partner, to be aware of this condition.

Which brings me to those who are care partners (caregivers or caretakers). February is the month honoring those who are silent heroes and heroines. I prefer the title care partner because I see the relationship as one of partnering: asking, saying, listening, responding.


I am deeply grateful for my husband, Jim, who has been my care partner every minute of this unplanned journey with ovarian cancer.

My book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir is available at no cost from now and until March 14. It is important that every woman know about this cancer which is called as the silent killer. If you want a copy of the book, please send me your name and address at


Today, Sept. 30, marks the final day of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and tomorrow, Oct. 1, is the first day of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

There are a few facts that about the relationship of these two cancers which every female needs to be aware of.

  1. All females are at risk of contracting either or both of these cancers.
  2. BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes exist to repair damaged DNA
  3. When those genes are damaged they are designated as mutated putting the woman at higher risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer.
  4. These mutations are most common in Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish women, followed by Hispanics.
  5. According to the American Cancer Society in Jan. 2020, it was estimated there would be 268,000 breast cancer diagnoses and 41,760 deaths.
  6. And, for ovarian cancer it was estimated that there would be 21,700 new cases and 13,900 deaths.
  • According to the American Cancer Society as of March 1, 2020, breast cancer was funded $97,215,750, and ovarian cancer was funded $21,604.
The important message from this blog is:
 1. Be aware, alert, and act on any symptoms if lasting more than  two weeks.
2. Know your risk factors and family history
3. Support research by giving to various fundraisers and contact your Congressman about the need for more cancer research funding.

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to this blog. As you have learned, cancer does not care what age, race, religion, or our social status. I hope you each have learned something over this past month.


It is a common myth the ovarian cancer is only for us old folks! How very wrong! Ovarian cancer rates are highest in women aged 55-64 years. The median age at which women are diagnosed is 63, meaning that half of women are younger than 63 cancer and half are older.

McKenna “Kinni” Shea Xydias, at age 2, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  A fever and bloated abdomen were her symptoms. The 14-centimeter tumor was found over her right ovary, among other smaller cancerous tumors near her liver and abdomen. She is now cancer-free.

Desolina was six-years-old when she had symptoms that are typical of many, less serious childhood maladies— abdominal pain that was sometimes severe. But soon her parents started noticing more unusual signs, such as mood swings, early development of breasts and other evidence pointing to an unusually premature onset of puberty.

Nine-year-old, Kaylee Tolleson had stomach cramps. Ultimately, an ultrasound revealed a soft-ball sized cancerous tumor. She was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer.

Doctors missed Kayleigh’s ovarian cancer TEN TIMES before discovering a 12 inch tumor. At just the age of 13, the cancer had already spread to her liver, spleen, bowel, and pelvis. As of this writing she is doing well.

Cristalle Wang was diagnosed with Stage 2 ovarian cancer when she was just 15. Ms Wang was given five months to live. “When the doctor said I had cancer, it felt so unreal. It didn’t occur to anyone that I would get this disease,” said Ms Wang, who has no known family history of the cancer. She is now cancer free and advocates for ovarian cancer research.

Three important messages to be learned from these five young girls. One, parents need to question if the symptoms that last 2 weeks could be ovarian cancer. Secondly, younger girls usually have a better chance of survival. And finally, there is the risk of damage or loss of certain organs (spleen, liver, colon, etc.), and the ability to get pregnant.

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.”
— Leslie Medley-Russell, teenage ovarian cancer survivor

“I think of how one day my life could possibly be normal, my life could possibly one day be cancer free. I will fight, and I will defeat this.”____16-year-old.

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. There are many events and fundraisers being held virtually this year. Awareness and funds for research are the primary intentions. Thank you for your interest and taking the time to read today’s blog.


My special guest today, Dorine Olive, a one-year survivor of ovarian cancer. She is a high-energy, personable, and positive thinking young woman. Her diagnosis of Stage IIC cancer was unexpected. She has no family history, and her only symptom was a slight hardness in the side during a “twisted lunge and bow” yoga pose. She has been practicing yoga for many years, so this new discomfort was unusual. She also thought she was gaining weight.

Ms. Olive went to a gynecology-oncologist who she had known for several years. A hysterectomy was performed. Unfortunately, a cancerous tumor was discovered.

Like many of us, Dorine thought it was a pulled muscle and waited several weeks before seeing a physician. Gynecology-oncologists recommend that if any symptom lasts for 2 weeks, to see their gynecologist immediately. It may well be something benign and easily treated, but it could also be more serious.

Six rounds of chemotherapy caused a common complication, known as neuropathy due to damage to the nerves of the hands and feet. Many diabetics often experience this same condition. Dorine has suffered with this painful condition for the past year, which is described as burning pain, weakness or numbness, and extreme sensitivity to touch.

When she finished her last round of chemotherapy, it was not enough to ring the brass bell in the chemo room. She rang a large bell in front of a local church with her friends and family there.

  • There are over 250,000 ovarian cancer survivors in the United States. Early detection is very important for any disease, particularly for ovarian cancer. The average length of time between symptom and diagnosis is 5-6 months.
  • Stage I: 92% survival of 5 years
  • Stage II: 76% survival of 5 years
  • Stage III & IV: 30% survival of 5 years.

Please leave any questions or comments below. If you want a free paperback copy of my book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, please leave your name/address in the “contact” section. I can also provide pamphlets and symptom cards at no cost to you.


TEAL is the color for ovarian cancer, and September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Many of the blogs that will be forthcoming this month will be about ovarian cancer. Every female of all ages, as well as those individuals who are or could be their care partners, will benefit from each blog.

T.E.A.L. Tell Every Amazing Lady about ovarian cancer.

Please note that I say female rather than woman. If you have or ever had ovaries, you are at risk, including those who have had a hysterectomy.

Knowledge about every cancer and disease is important. I am a 12-year survivor of ovarian cancer, and I am fortunate to have lived with this disease as long as I have. I say that because:

The American Cancer Society predicts that in 2020, about 21,750 women will be diagnosed, and 13,940 will die. Putting that into perspective, here are a few cities with populations of about 20,000:

  • Farmington, MN 21,086
  • Christiansburg, VA 21,041
  • Forest Grove, OR 21, 083

You will read stories from and about other survivors. I will also introduce some new drugs, ongoing research, surgical techniques, and HOPE. Ovarian cancer is a challenge, but the more each woman knows and acts upon its symptoms the better. To end on a positive note, there are approximately 250,000 survivors in the U.S. today.

For the entire month of September, I will be offering free copies of my paperback book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. To receive your free copy, send me your name and address in the “contact” section of my website. This information will remain confidential. A symptom card will be included in each book.

Your comments are appreciated. Your questions are welcome. Thank you.



“Promise me you’ll always remember: You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” A. A. Milne

There is a college student in my city who has been battling ovarian cancer for five years. It does not seem fair that as a teenager she has such a difficult challenge. Her classmates have not lost their hair, spent weeks in a hospital, missed sporting events or suffered with extreme fatigue or nausea. Her strength and courage get her through those tough days of chemotherapy and its side effects.

A friend has cancer of the vulva which is the rarest form of the gynecological cancers. Despite radiation burns and severe side effects from the chemotherapy, she is never without a smile and has encouraging words for others. She had no symptoms and her diagnosis was the result of a pelvic exam. From her experience each woman can understand the importance of yearly pelvic and rectal exams. A woman needs to be proactive in checking EVERY part of her body.

“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our nation and other countries are facing a serious health crisis due to the Coronavirus. We have been challenged with wars, other epidemics, and financial crises, yet we have persevered because of what lies within us. It is not a time to play politics, blame, or hide in fear. It is a time to be wise, compassionate, and use our inner strength and spirit to get through this difficult time.

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.” Confucius

In all my books, there is the message of how the spirit of one or more characters helped them to rise above a challenging time or a fall. It is the spirit of love, determination, strength, and faith that is essential for overcoming any fall.



Gratitude means being thankful. I have been thinking about those people or events for which I am grateful. I challenge myself to express my gratitude on a daily basis. Melody Beattie says gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

I am actually grateful in many respects that I was diagnosed with cancer. I am sure this statement shocks or surprises the reader of this blog. Here are the reasons I am grateful: it pushed me to publish my writings and journals that I had kept secret; it introduced me to some of the most amazing survivors and care partners; I am actively involved in spreading the word about ovarian cancer, and I have written articles and done presentations. My life is richer and more meaningful as a cancer survivor.

Many of our social issues stem from a lack of gratefulness. Some people turn to drugs and alcohol to find happiness and peace, but that only create more problems. Some people of meager means might turn to stealing rather than be grateful for what they have. Anger and envy often are feelings preventing people from seeing all they could be grateful for.

Gratitude is riches, complaint is poverty. (Doris Day)

I am recommending two books about gratitude. Grateful Life: The Secret to Happiness and the Science of Contentment is written by Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons. Each inspirational story shows how practicing gratitude can have a positive change in a person’s life. The authors have included exercises, quotes, and guidance.

Rave Reviews Book Club author, Yecheilyah Ysrayl, in her book Keep Yourself Full writes about how one’s life can change for the better when it is filled with love. Then that love is shared with others and each person experiences a sense of gratitude.

Keeping a daily journal of those events or people for which you are grateful is one way to cultivate gratitude into your life. When we write down the names or events, it stimulates us to practice gratitude and therefore make positive changes in who we are and those people around us.

From The Network of Grateful Living the newsletter states grateful living reminds us that when we take nothing for granted, we can wake up to the wealth and wisdom of life as it is.



Drugs known as PARP inhibitors are used to treat some women with advanced ovarian cancer that has returned after earlier treatment. Now, results from three new clinical trials show that the drugs might also benefit women who are newly diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. (NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUE) Zejula and Lynparza are two such drugs.

Cancer and other diseases have been a part of human life from the beginning of time. I marvel at the ongoing research and treatments now available. The word “cure” is not yet available for many cancers, including ovarian but I believe that someday there will be a cure.


Whether drug dependency is related to alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription drugs it is a worldwide problem that goes back thousands of years. I have witnessed it in my family too many times. It is heartbreaking to see families broken apart, individuals on a path of self-destruction, and the related economic and health issues.

I support Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Al-Anon. These programs have proven successful and the philosophy is wholesome, healthy, and spiritual/religious/a belief in a Greater Power. The addict must take responsibility for their choices. I have watched some family members and friends successfully change their lives.


An author who has had a powerful influence on me is Emmet Fox. He was born in 1886 and died in 1951. He was one of America’s most popular spiritual leaders of the twentieth century. My favorite book is the Sermon on the Mount: The Key to Success in Life. Other books include The Ten Commandments, Alter Your Life, Power Through Constructive Thinking, and more.

He was very involved in the New Thought movement. Some of its tenets are:

  1. God or Infinite Intelligence is “supreme, universal, and everlasting”;
  2. divinity dwells within each person, that all people are spiritual beings;
  3. “the highest spiritual principle [is] loving one another unconditionally… and teaching and healing one another”; and
  4. “our mental states are carried forward into manifestation and become our experience in daily living”.[5

Here is an interesting side note: Mr. Fox’s secretary was the mother of Bill W., one of the founders of Alcoholic Anonymous.


My grandmother taught me about a healthy body, mind, and spirit. I learned about vitamins, minerals, meditation, exercise, faith in God, and living with love in my heart. She introduced me to Emmet Fox when I was about twelve years old. I met my adopted aunt when I was sixteen and she reinforced everything my grandmother taught. She is now ninety-four and continues to be an important role model.

I believe that due to my grandmother, my aunt, and Dr. Fox, I have survived ovarian cancer for almost twelve years, went through a difficult divorce, and chose to learn and grow from every adversity.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I welcome your comments. The holiday season and the start of a New Year and be joyous and exciting or they can be depressing and lonely. Let’s reach into ourselves and to others so we all will truly have a happy, healthy, and joyous holiday season and 2020.


The TEAL ribbon symbolizes many causes including ovarian cancer and child abuse. I have walked the path of ovarian cancer for 11 years and I wear the Teal ribbon to help bring awareness.

The breast cancer community has done an excellent job bringing awareness and funding to the forefront. The pink ribbon is often mistaken to represent all cancers.

Here is a fact that is not well known by most women, including those with breast or ovarian cancers. THOSE WHO HAVE HAD BREAST CANCER ARE AT GREATER RISK FOR GETTING OVARIAN CANCER and THOSE WHO HAVE HAD OVARIAN CANCER ARE AT GREATER RISK FOR GETTING BREAST CANCER. Please, do your self-breast exams and get an annual mammogram AND get a pelvic and rectal exam every year. Remember: PAP smears do ONLY detect cervical cancer.

I was sexually abused in my early teens by my stepfather as were my two sisters. I am a survivor of the abuse and advocate for awareness, programs, and funding.

In 2017, there were reported 3,051,000 cases of child abuse ( The CDC states that in 2018, 1 in every 7 children had been abused.

Many of these cases come from homes where there is alcoholism, drug addiction, poverty, or parents were victims of abuse themselves. Whether the abuse is emotional, physical, or sexual…ABUSE IS ABUSE.

There are numerous health issues related to abuse: diabetes, malnutrition, vision problems, heart disease, arthritis, physical mobility, high blood pressure, and brain damage. The earlier the abuse starts the greater the damage to that person’s health. The sooner it can be stopped, the better. (

Author, Christina Winds wrote a short but powerful book about abuse, titled Monsters. She states in her author page She prays that it brings strength and hope to anyone living with monsters. Her book focuses on emotional abuse and it was inspired by true stories from abuse victims.


Thank you for taking the time to read this blog about two important issues. It is my hope that you will be advocates for awareness and funding for both these causes. I do not know when cancer or abuse will end, but each time a woman is proactive with her health and each time we teach about child abuse we are one step closer to ending both of these issues.


Books take me to places imaginary and real. To promote awareness, I wear ribbons and bracelets of teal. Time is ever-changing. It challenges me to live with each day with zeal. (Karen Ingalls. 2019)

Teal is the color for ovarian cancer just as pink is the color for breast cancer, and purple for all cancers. Cancer ribbons all began with the song, Tie a Yellow Ribbon by the Old Oak Tree popularized by Tony Orlando in the 1970s. The yellow ribbon was started by Penelope Laingen, who tied a yellow ribbon around an oak tree as a symbolic act for the return of her husband who was an Iranian hostage. In 1992, the first health ribbon introduced was a red ribbon symbolizing AIDs, and then in that same year, a pink ribbon for breast cancer was promoted by the Susan B. Komen organization. The teal ribbon is for ovarian cancer.

Why are the many ribbons important and so popular? For the simple reason, they bring awareness about any health or social issue. Societies advance, treatments and cures for diseases are researched, laws are passed to protect, funds are raised, and people are informed.

Thoughts of what to do with time remaining became known as the bucket list. It was popularized in a movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Once I came to the acceptance part of my cancer diagnosis, my husband and I put together our bucket list.

We have done a lot of traveling: Costa Rica, Caribbean cruises, Great Britain, a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest, France, Spain, Alaska, Hawaii, and now to Italy for three weeks. We can check that off of our bucket list!

I have been blessed to live 78 years which equals 28,000+ days, 683,000+ hours, and 40, 996, 800+ minutes. I look back at how I have lived these 78 years and I look forward to each moment I have in the future. The clock never stops ticking, but we choose how to live each moment. Hopefully, we will fill each minute with a purpose such as supporting an important cause, follow our dreams and passions and make each moment count.

Love of self and others is an important key for any health or social issue. Having dreams and pursuing them fills one’s life with joy and fond memories. My motto: Live the moment!