CDC Symptom Diary Card

Sunday, September 29, 2013


With National Ovarian Cancer And Gynecological Cancer Awareness month wrapping up and Breast Cancer Awareness Month beginning, it is a perfect time to learn more about genetic mutations.

I have a BRCA1 mutation, that was detected after my ovarian cancer debulking surgery.  As par for my course, the California insurance company denied the test.

The test was approved in Seattle.  Seattle is where my best care has ever been.

This testing is critical.

My relatives are at a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer .  If I had  not have been tested, we would not have known our options in these cases.   My relatives have choices that could avert cancer, if possible.

Earlier in the year I spoke out about how proud I was of Angelina Jolie, for being pro-active with respect to her bilateral prophylactic mastectomy.

If I would have known about this testing before 2009, I would have had my ovaries removed for certain, and probably preventative breast removal surgery as well.

Currently I am in a monitoring program, one breast MRI and one mammogram per year coupled with regular physical exams.

Because I am on Avastin I cannot have a major surgery.  If you are in chemo you can't have  prophylactic bilateral mastectomy.   So we watch, and so far I am good. Thank God!

On a personal note, I am always really tired and need 12 hours or more per night to sleep.  I am in more pain, but my markers seem to be getting better.  I will stay on Avastin as long as God and my wonderful gynonc allow.

Praying for a screening test for ovarian cancer.....and continued research for cures.  I am also praying for more daily living resources to help us pay bills, rent, co-pays and laws that allow for access to resources that otherwise require a terminal status.  It is weird to have a cancer that is likely to kill you but not be able to access much needed resources that can ease just a little of the daily burden.

Unless you were wealthy before cancer, this is what happens after ovarian cancer.  It is costly in so many ways and really, who prepares for cancer?

If I had breast cancer I would have access to more resources.

That is just wrong on so many levels!

I have to say that I am so proud of the SCCA for having a patient and family fund program, because they have helped me here and there. Cancer Lifeline in Seattle has also been an invaluable resource for me

Peace and Love,

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Wheel Turns Teal To Heal In Seattle September 18, 2013

My day with my sweet sister Mandy was incredible.  We rode the Seattle Great Wheel together.  We giggled and talked, we just had fun.  It was one of the best days ever.

On September 18, 2013 The Seattle Great Wheel lit the lights of this giant Ferris wheel TEAL, to honor those who are in support of raising awareness for ovarian cancer.

It was a time for all of us to reflect on our health and our loved ones.  It was a time for advocates to share and educate.  It was a time for doctors to reflect.

Mostly it was a time to join together for a moment, and remember those whom we have lost. It was a special moment for those who remain, to be grateful.

I am pretty tired, but it was worth every second.

Thank you Seattle Great Wheel, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (my second home) and KOMO 4 news for actively helping me share this symbol of hope.  
Thank you Mandy!
Thank you Barb!
Thank you Annie Abbott!

I did not do this alone.

When I asked about this and got a resounding "yes" I was not aware that other people were working on the same thing.  It is easy to see why this great Ferris Wheel is so special, look what it can do.

Some women went to Pier 57 in TEAL with their families and wrote that they had a wonderful time, They said that it was brilliantly lit.  Many others wanted to be here to see this in person.  I hope this little video joins us all together.

This belongs to all of us.  This is for you.

Peace, Love and Blessings

Monday, September 16, 2013

UPDATE: Seattle Great Wheel to be TEAL All Day Sept 18, 2013

I want to thank the lovely Annie Abbott for showing support in honor of
Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

She just told me that the Seattle Great Wheel will be lit TEAL all day!

The start time is 10am and they will turn off at 11pm.

She welcomes all and anyone who wants to gather on Pier 57 and around the area to share in this symbolic event and to educate others.

There are no formal events on the pier directly, but I do know individuals who are attending.

I am asking for us to take the last 5 minutes of this lighting ceremony to be in silence in memory of our lost sisters, those who have paved the way for our researchers and physicians to learn and grow.  Our lost sisters are the ones who really give us strength, they were strong enough to move through the battle.

When I am down, I listen to "Strong Like You" written and composed by Kathie Lee Gifford and David Friedman.  This was sung to my mom, and every time I listen I also think of our sisters who are struggling or who have struggled.

Chandra Lee Schwartz sings it beautifully and you can see the link on my site off to the right.

"On God's Table there are no crumbs" .....

Please let me know if you will be there!

September 18, 2013
10am to 11pm

Denise Archuleta

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September 18, 2013 Seattle Great Wheel To Light The Sky Teal

Seattle Great Wheel

Have you ever seen the Seattle Great Wheel? It is quite a spectacular site. A giant Ferris wheel firmly rests on the boardwalk of Pier 57, overlooking the beautiful waters of Puget Sound.  From their website at
  • The Seattle Great Wheel is the largest observation wheel on the west coast, standing 175 feet tall.
  • The wheel has 42 fully-enclosed gondolas. Each gondola seats up to eight people, meaning the wheel can hold over 300 passengers at any given time.
Over the past few months and even last year I imagined what this great Ferris wheel would look like in Teal. When I asked them to help raise the volume of the whispers of ovarian cancer, without hesitation, came a resounding "yes".

I am but a person to whom they responded.

The Ferris Wheel will brightly light the sky TEAL 
 September 18, 2013 
7 pm to 10 pm.

As I will be watching the brilliance of teal in the sky, I will remember all of our fallen angels. I will remember the supportive words, encouragement and love from my family and friends.  I will feel blessed to have had such excellent surgery and chemotherapy. I will want for nothing less for every other woman with this deadly disease.

We will raise our voices and help others to learn more about what ovarian cancer is, does and costs in terms of quality of life. We will also share the blessings that come from living through, suffering through and treating through the many facets of this complex and shifty disease.

Embrace this moment and save the date. Tell your friends. Go for a ride if you are in Seattle that day.
An Open Letter Of Gratitude

Dear Annie,

I want to share my utmost and sincerest gratitude to you and the people with The Seattle Great Wheel for supporting Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. You have given rise to our voices, elevated the calls and cast a beautiful light in the midst of our struggles. Many people and organizations will benefit from this beautiful act of support and kindness.

Warm regards,
Denise Archuleta
A patient with ovarian cancer

Hi Denise,

The wheel will be lit with Teal on Wed September 18th in awareness for ovarian cancer.

Please feel free to let anyone know.

The wheel will be lit from 7-10pm.


Annie Abbott

Communications Director Pier 57
For those that may need this page to promote this important symbolic event, I have also included a link to our President's Proclamation for National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, this September 2013.

Official Presidential Proclamation: September 2013 is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Peace, Love and Health,

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Rare Cancer, Rare Friends

We lost a unique and lively woman this summer to Ovarian cancer. Her name was Jan. She said that she acquired ovarian cancer as a result of having Lynch Syndrome (see below).

She spent her life flying around the world working for Pan Am and then for Washington State. When her joyous life came to an unexpected end, she was loving her work at the helm of a ferry. Each day she would embrace the beauty of nature. I met her several years ago, along with several other women at an ovarian cancer seminar in Seattle.

Jan was strong, compassionate, fiesty, outspoken, deeply caring and full with inspiration. This whole time she was battling cancers. People amaze me.

Her sudden death, from an embolism, tanked me emotionally. I had the priviledge to hear from her the day she died, and her last words to me were to ask me to pray for another now departed sister, Judy.

I miss them, Jan and Judy. I miss many women whom I have come to know from having ovarian cancer. It is a blessing to have heard their cries and their joys.

As we embark on this month's mission to increase awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer and provide ways to help women receive good care, let us be mindful that real lives, real women, real families are devastated every day from their loss due to this tricky killer.

One of the best things you can do is to ask your doctor if they have materials in their office that educate women about ovarian cancer and other gynecological cancers.

Off to the right is an icon that says "Be Brave Ask Questions" This link will provide materials for individuals and professionals interested in patient education.

In honor of the dear friends we lost this year and to cheer on those who continue to survive with ovarian cancer, I will do all I can to prevent one more late stage ovarian cancer diagnosis.


Reviewed May 2013

What is Lynch syndrome?

Lynch syndrome, often called hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), is an inherited disorder that increases the risk of many types of cancer, particularly cancers of the colon (large intestine) and rectum, which are collectively referred to as colorectal cancer. People with Lynch syndrome also have an increased risk of cancers of the stomach, small intestine, liver, gallbladder ducts, upper urinary tract, brain, and skin. Additionally, women with this disorder have a high risk of cancer of the ovaries and lining of the uterus (the endometrium). People with Lynch syndrome may occasionally have noncancerous (benign) growths (polyps) in the colon, called colon polyps. In individuals with this disorder, colon polyps occur earlier but not in greater numbers than they do in the general population.

How common is Lynch syndrome?

In the United States, about 140,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed each year. Approximately 3 to 5 percent of these cancers are caused by Lynch syndrome.

What genes are related to Lynch syndrome?

Variations in the MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2, or EPCAM gene increase the risk of developing Lynch syndrome.
The MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2 genes are involved in the repair of mistakes that occur when DNA is copied in preparation for cell division (a process called DNA replication). Mutations in any of these genes prevent the proper repair of DNA replication mistakes. As the abnormal cells continue to divide, the accumulated mistakes can lead to uncontrolled cell growth and possibly cancer.

Mutations in the EPCAM gene also lead to impaired DNA repair, although the gene is not itself involved in this process. The EPCAM gene lies next to the MSH2 gene on chromosome 2; certain EPCAM gene mutations cause the MSH2 gene to be turned off (inactivated), interrupting DNA repair and leading to accumulated DNA mistakes.
Although mutations in these genes predispose individuals to cancer, not all people who carry these mutations develop cancerous tumors.

Read more about the EPCAM, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2 genes.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Presidential Proclamation September 2013 Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 30, 2013
Presidential Proclamation -- National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, 2013


- - - - - - -



Each September, America calls attention to a deadly disease that affects thousands of women across our country. This year, over 22,000 women will develop ovarian cancer, and more than half that number of women will die of this disease. During National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, we lend our support to everyone touched by this disease, we remember those we have lost, and we strengthen our resolve to better prevent, detect, treat, and ultimately defeat ovarian cancer.

Because ovarian cancer often goes undetected until advanced stages, increasing awareness of risk factors is critical to fighting this disease. Chances of developing ovarian cancer are greater in women who are middle-aged or older, women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, and those who have had certain types of cancer in the past. I encourage all women, especially those at increased risk, to talk to their doctors. For more information, visit

My Administration is investing in research to improve our understanding of ovarian cancer and develop better methods for diagnosis and treatment. As we continue to implement the Affordable Care Act, women with ovarian cancer will receive increased access to health care options, protections, and benefits. Thanks to this law, insurance companies can no longer set lifetime dollar limits on coverage or cancel coverage because of errors on paperwork. By 2014, the health care law will ban insurers from setting restrictive annual caps on benefits and from charging women higher rates simply because of their gender. Additionally, insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage or charging higher premiums to patients with pre-existing conditions, including ovarian cancer.

This month, we extend a hand to all women battling ovarian cancer. We pledge our support to them, to their families, and to the goal of defeating this disease.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2013 as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. I call upon citizens, government agencies, organizations, health care providers, and research institutions to raise ovarian cancer awareness and continue helping Americans live longer, healthier lives. I also urge women across our country to talk to their health care providers and learn more about this disease.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.