Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Public service announcement

I've thought long and hard about how to do this ... how to send out a message to a predominantly female community about something that I personally know matters ... and have decided that the direct approach makes the most sense ... so here goes.

Ovarian Cancer Ribbon Pictures, Images and Photos
This coming November, I will be a 10-year Ovarian Cancer survivor.  I have spent the past 9 1/2 years living ... making sure I didn't take for granted the things that I had in prior years. 

But as my 10th anniversary nears ... I feel different ... and I want to make a difference.  So I have set a goal to raise $10,000 by November of this year to donate to the Marsha Rivkin Ovarian Foundation.  But this isn't about fund raising ... it's about awareness.

You see, Ovarian Cancer is known as the 'silent killer'.  There is no early detection test ... no mammogram ... no colonoscopy ... it quietly effects and then it is too late.  But there are early symptoms ... and the difference between an early diagnosis and a late diagnosis is the difference between life and death with this disease.

So while I want to raise $5,000 ... that's my measurable goal ... I really want to raise awareness ... that is a lot harder for me to measure ... but what REALLY matters.  

What are the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer may cause one or more of these signs and symptoms:
  • Vaginal bleeding (particularly if you are past menopause) or discharge from your vagina that is not normal for you.
  • Pain or pressure in the pelvic or abdominal area (the area below your stomach and in between your hip bones).
  • Back pain.
  • Bloating, which is when the area below your stomach swells or feels full.
  • Feeling full quickly while eating.
  • A change in your bathroom habits, such as having to pass urine very badly or very often, constipation, or diarrhea.

Pay attention to your body, and know what is normal for you. If you have vaginal bleeding that is not normal for you, see a doctor right away. If you have any of the other signs for two weeks or longer, see a doctor. These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see your doctor. Treatment is most effective when ovarian cancer is found and treated early.

I was diagnosed right as I turned 40 ... so was Gilda Radner ... we were definitely younger than the average, but not the youngest.  Know the symptoms and know your body ... and if it doesn't feel right ... see your doctor. 

You will hear more from me over the next few months ... I promise not to become a pain ... but if I can help one woman find it early like I did ... it will be worth it.

Think of your mothers, sisters,  and friends and make sure that everyone is aware of the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer -- one in 70 of you will be diagnosed with it in your lifetime ... and the difference in being diagnosed early versus late is the difference between life and death ... I know...

All the best


  1. Survivors matter - they can alert and advise us all - thank you for your warning and here's to the next 10 years of trouble free health - I hope you reach your fund raising target well before November

  2. So glad you're still here and spreading the message!

  3. Thanks for sharing your story and spreading the word. Good luck with your fundraising. If you make a quilt for a fundraiser and need blocks I'll be on board for pitching in.

  4. Thanks for posting the signs and symptoms. I'll be sure to pay more attention to the complaints of my friends and family in case any of these surface.

    Good luck with the fundraising!

  5. wow. Thank you for this post. You have now informed me and I will be sure to pay attention to my body (that I so often neglect). I'm glad you are a survivor and I'm glad you are bringing the awareness forward!

  6. Thank you for sharing your story and the warning signs. Just today I have heard that a colleague has been diagnosed and is waiting to hear about her prognosis.
    Thank you again.

  7. Thank you so much for the information, I really appreciate it.

  8. Bless your heart and congratulations!


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