CDC Symptom Diary Card

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I could be anywhere doing anything
I want to be here

I don't want to be in a crowd of people I don't know
I want to recognize the smiling faces around me

I don't want to be alone yet I want a private space
I don't think I can rely wholy on myself as of yet
But I want to be free and independent

I wish no more pain or sickness to be inflicted upon my body
I just want grace and peace

Will I be a blessed recipient of peace, grace and strength?
Can it be so?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Update from oncology appointment

I saw Dr. Gray today.  It was so nice to see her, she was very encouraging.  My CA125 is 8, which is really good.  Her exam revealed no concerns.  I told her I was still foggy and got tired easy, but was doing better.  We spoke again about possible recurrence and reviewed the symptoms.  Again, with ovarian cancer, it's all about subtle changes. 

She was so kind in trying to speak with me realistically about recurrence, saying that for a group of women, there is no recurrence.  There is no way to predict for me if I will fall in or out of that group.  So I need to continue to take life day by day, and use each 3 month check-up as a mini-milestone of progress.

She encouraged me to try to be as active as possible and if it felt right, join a support group like Gilda's Club.  She is right.  I just haven't had the energy to join a group yet, but it's getting time.  Especially since this first year or so after chemo is so uncertain.

When I came home I was just so extremely exhausted.  I think emotionally it drains me to confront my situation.  I don't dwell on it, but it lingers every day, like stagnant air, suffocating at times.

On other days I feel so happy and excited, I have a second chance.  So I exist rolling up and down these hilly trails each day striving to make a difference.

I pray for God to continue to lead me in the right direction, making my eyes and ears sensitive to His calls so that I may serve. 

I felt better after my nap today.  Sleep always helps me. 

On to tomorrow and a fresh start once again.  I have a wonderful oncologist and am so grateful for her.

Be Love

Sunday, June 20, 2010

disconnected still

I feel most alive while I'm sleeping
In my dreams I can live freely

No pain, no worry, no weeping

So disconnected still
Removed from the everyday treadmill
Yet immersed in a constant threat
How long will God grant me breath and will

Be Love,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Johanna's Law

Johanna's Law was introduced to the Senate on June 15th 2010 by Senators Spector, Stabenow and Menendez.  This law would allow the CDC and Secretary of Health and Human Services to increase resources allocated to raise awareness and education of gynecological cancers, such as Ovarian Cancer.

This is great news!  I've never seen a pamplet or handout about Ovarian Cancer in any doctor's office.  You never see public service announcements or commercials about the horrid disease.  Health education classes certainly don't talk about it.  I never had a gynecologist talk to me about the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer (except to say I was too young to have it).

Cancer is so scary, especially a gynecological cancer.  We as females are so dependent on our health care providers to be the eyes and ears of diagnosis.  Especially since anyone would want to minimize symptoms as a natural defense, we need our doctors to be more aggressive at looking for the early signs of ovarian cancer.  We as patients cannot do it alone.

Be love,

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Yesterday, while at SCCA, I had the pleasure to speak with a spiritual advisor.  We spoke about coping with cancer, living and of course, death.  We talked about chemo brain.  It was a good conversation.

Last night a young 18 year old male was killed by a drunk driver on I-5, yet I am here.  AGAIN, we all have a purpose.  I pray for his family.  Is it random by chance?

Does God see the world through our eyes or His?  I just wonder sometimes. 

I am afraid to die, but am also doing everything I can to find peace with the idea.  I am reading the Bible, hoping to finish it soon.  God comforts me and sometimes I want to be wrapped in his arms.  I want for everyone to feel that same sense of comfort. Is it like an eternal state of sleep?  In the mean time, while here on earth, I want to be happy and be happiness for others.  I don't want to worry about small problems.  I want to be love.

I told the advisor, I'll call her "M", that being on chemo feels like you're living in a Johnny Depp movie all the time.  Everything is warped.  I was so afraid of everything, even a knock at the door.  I couldn't follow conversations, felt like an invisible magnetic force was keeping me away from everything and everyone.  Sort of like floating, but not in a good way.  Be patient if you are helping someone on chemo, they aren't all the way there, not fully present.  Yet they ache with every cell in their body and spirit to be present, to participate, to live!

To my family, I promise not to leave a mess when I go and not to burden you with unfinished business.  Between now and then, I promise to be as involved, motivated and loving as I can.  I want to enjoy my life with you, I want to live to the fullest. 

Be Love, Denise


The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund is a great place to look for the latest on OC research.  Please take a look and support this cause.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

National Cancer Survivor Day

Today is a day of glory and a day to smile
I have a life that lingers on a little while
I keep on dreaming of what will be
My life to have meaning for someone other than me

Thank you God for this gift of life.  Thank you God for my family and friends.  Thank you God for my doctors and nurses.  Thank you God for all that you have given me.  As I breathe this sweet air today, I feel so fortunate and blessed.  I love you.

Be Love,

Thursday, June 03, 2010



Please follow the link to support Ovarian Cancer Research. We are a long way from a cure, still working on detection. Every bit helps.

Be Love,

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Good morning. 

I am reading up on critical information from the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.  This link will bring up a symptom checker and diary, for OC detection.  They also have a program that works with survivors to facilitate education and awareness of Ovarian Cancer for professionals in the healthcare arena. I may want to be a facilitator in the future. 

I was astounded at how ignorant my healthcare providers were in the subject of OC.  Women need to know what Ovarian Cancer is and they need to know the symptoms.  But knowing the symptoms does no good if your doctor dismisses them to IBS or some other unrelated disorder.

Be love,

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Our body our temple

Today my rheumatologist called to say that the million viles of bloodwork taken at the ER all came back normal?????????????????  So this begs the question, why am I getting sick?

Anyway, I start methotrexate tomorrow.  I am nervous and feel anxious about the side effects.  I prevailed after 6 months of harsh chemotherapy and find myself in the face of another chemo drug for RA.  I am overwhelmed and need to find a way to cope.

I must rely on faith that God is giving me what I need to deal with my body.  I have to be more positive.  Maybe I will be able to handle the side effects OK.  I just don't want to be "sickly" again.  That is the worst feeling in the world.  I could write a novel on "chemo brain" alone.

If I have another vomiting episode I will be referred to a GI physician and probably have an endoscopy/colonoscopy.  Great.  Another discipline, but yet again, it is a blessing.

I have the greatest doctors in the world, finally.  So if they say I need another specialist than it must be true.

I feel like my body is a pendulum swinging in the throws of a hurricane, a heavy ball on a long line that goes high in the sky.  Cancer took me to the heights of my tolerance and now I am literally flying up to the heights to challenge my next phase of illness.  Out of control and filled with fear, I am riding along praying each day to get by.

God gives us these beautiful bodies that we should embrace and adore.  I do everything I can to nurture my body in spite of the illnesses and medication side effects.  We all have this suffering, our pendulums, our cries and our joys.  It boggles me still though that I see some people actively destroy their beautiful bodies with drugs, alcohol, abusive practices, etc and they seem OK.  Why is that?

Maybe genetically I was born to be weak and am actually strong.  Maybe. 

Anyway, since we don't know the answers all we can do is still try to take care of our bodies as best as possible, manage our stress and be compassionate and giving to others.  Do not hold in your angers, be forgiving.  Love your neighbors as you love yourself, and everything will come full circle.

Be love.