Ties That Bind - A group of artists bound together by art and the desire to create a collabortive art doll to help raise funds for Ovarian Cancer Research. I had the opportunity to participate and create a charm for this art doll. I am a (almost!) TEN YEAR survivor of advanced ovarian cancer, this cause is very close to my heart.
As I gathered my thoughts for the charm I was going to make, I knew I couldn't just make one. Over the last ten years I have become sisters with several fighters in the battle to survive. I wanted to take this opportunity to honor Carole who was so wise and such a beautiful spirit in her five year battle. We became so close and she taught me so much. Louise, who graciously shared and fought to survive, but it wasn't to be. Sheri so young at forty, with two children, became my little sister. She fought, she loved, and she died so quickly. My heart broke each time as we all shared so much during our fight to survive. I remember telling them I was feeling guilty that I was to live, and I was assured that I must survive and share my story so that others could live. This first charm "Linda" represents me, the survivor, and the other survivors out there still fighting the side effects of the invasive surgeries, chemotherapy, and so much more, but still dancing! I got my cancer at the age of 49.
I have been through five invasive surgeries (3 due to adhesions) and one series of chemotherapy.
This charm is in memory of Louise. Louise was a classy lady who fought the good fight! She earned her wings. Louise got ovca in her late 50's and survived 3 years going through two invasive surgeries and several chemotherapy series.
This charm is in memory of Carole. Carole was an incredible artist and I know she has spread her wings in heaven, sharing her wisdom and gifts. Carole was 59 and lived to 64 going through
four invasive surgeries and several chemotherapies.
This charm is in memory of Sheri. She is a beautiful angel watching over her son and daughter. Sheri had one surgery and two series of chemotherapy. She lived a year and a half, she was 40.
I hope they are all laughing and sharing the wonderful times we all had together going out to lunch with our headwraps and wigs, sharing as only those that are going through it can.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is difficult to detect, especially, in the early stages. This is partly due to the fact that these two small, almond shaped organs are deep within the abdominal cavity, one on each side of the uterus. These are some of the potential signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer:
Pelvic or abdominal pain or discomfort
· Vague but persistent gastrointestinal upsets such as gas, nausea, and indigestion
· Frequency and/or urgency of urination in the absence of an infection
· Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
· Pelvic and/or abdominal swelling, bloating and/or feeling of fullness
· Ongoing unusual fatigue
· Unexplained changes in bowel habits
If symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks, consult your physician.
Persistence of Symptoms
When the symptoms are persistent, when they do not resolve with normal interventions (like diet change, exercise, laxatives, rest) it is imperative for a woman to see her doctor. Persistence of symptoms is key. Because these signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer have been described as vague or silent, only around 19% of ovarian cancer is found in the early stages. Symptoms typically occur in advanced stages when tumor growth creates pressure on the bladder and rectum, and fluid begins to form.
A Rectovaginal pelvic examination is when the doctor simultaneously inserts one finger in the rectum and one in the vagina.
It is helpful to take a mild laxative or enema before the pelvic exam.
Have a comprehensive family history taken by a physician knowledgeable in the risks associated with ovarian cancer. 5% to 10% of ovarian cancer has a familial link.
Every woman should undergo a regular rectal and vaginal pelvic examination. If an irregularity of the ovary is found, alternatives to evaluation include transvaginal sonography and/or tumor markers. The most common tumor marker is a blood test called the CA-125.