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Thursday, June 01, 2017

Ode To Rabbitgal and Update on Zejula

Dear Friends,

I have had to take a break from all things ovarian cancer for a little while because my bestie died in April. Her screen name was Rabbitgal, after a little pet bunny that she cherished several years ago. She and I were diagnosed just two weeks apart, each stage IIIC.  Both of us were BRCA1+. Devastating.

I believe her cell subtype was different from mine, and her course with cancer was much more difficult.  She concurrently battled a round of breast cancer and all that treatment took a huge toll on her kidneys.  When cancer returned, her body just could not tolerate treatment any more. She really suffered for awhile, it was heartbreaking. When she decided to accept the loving care of hospice everything changed and eventually she left this world in peace, surrounded by her husband and son.  

We used to meet for tea or a visit to the museum up in Seattle, on a regular basis.  We were able to share our battles and talk about how ovarian cancer impacted our lives, about how other women in the community were coping with cancer and about what we saw in the future for the treatment of cancer.  She genuinely, deeply cared about the individuals in our online discussion group.  

I miss her. I don't really have another friend like her, she was quirky, artsy, accepted me for my silliness and big ideals.  She did not persecute me for my belief in the Lord, she liked it that I had a vision for the expansion of faith based cancer retreats for women. She had a huge heart and made us all laugh with her dark sense of humor.  

Once she made me go shopping for new clothes because I always wore the same thing, HA. It was so funny! She made fun of my hair because I always let it be wild.  I kind of feel lost, she was a sister to me.  Perhaps I have survivor's guilt, which is expected.  

I always asked God to take me instead of her because she had a son, a husband, and benefited others much more than I.  She was smarter, more inquisitive and it upsets me that she is no longer here to share these gifts with us.  This feeling is managed by daily prayer, for without it, I would be deeply depressed. We don't have answers but we can have faith.

Rabbitgal documented her history in much more detail than I and I recommend that you take a look at her Friday's Corner posts.  She wanted for women and their spouses/family to use that as a guide to make their lives better when living with ovarian cancer. Go on and join the ovarian cancer support community, look for a member named Rabbitgal.  You will be inspired, I promise.

I miss you Rabbitgal, my dear sister and friend! May you rest in peace with God and may your son and husband be receiving the comfort of the Lord as they go through this most difficult time of grief.

On a side note:
I have started a maintenance therapy using a newly approved medication called Zejula/Niraparib.  This means I have stopped the Avastin once again and will take this new medication daily.  The side effects have me concerned, only because I have a history of low counts prior to cancer.  Plus nausea.....ugh ugh ugh ugh.  Did I say ugh?

My gynonc is fabulous and he is excited about Niraparib.  He said that the research is very promising and that it has been a long time since we have had a new class of drugs approved for maintenance treatment.  

Go to Zejula to learn more about this new PARP inhibitor that appears to increase progression free survival.  

Peace and Blessings
Me on the left and Rabbitgal with her spunky hair, on the right!

Rest In Peace friend!