Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Mother's Day message....

I have already spent most of this mother's day thinking of how much I miss my mom.
I have had some sad tears, but I've also remembered many happy memories I have of her. I guess on days like this, when you no longer have your mother, it is to be expected you will feel melancholy...

I have so much to be thankful for. I have three wonderful children, two beautiful grandchildren, and I spent forty-three years with the mother that I miss so much.

In honor of this mother's day, I want to remind everyone who reads here what my journal is about. I write about my life, and how different it is today because my mother died of ovarian cancer.
She wanted women to know about this disease so that maybe they will never have to go through what she did.

Every woman should know the symptoms of ovarian cancer. Very early there may be no symptoms at all, but if a woman has any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, she should consult a doctor.

* Pressure or pain in the abdomen, pelvis, back, or legs

* A swollen or bloated abdomen

* Nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation, or diarrhea

* Feeling very tired all the time

Less common symptoms include:

* Shortness of breath

* Feeling the need to urinate often

* Unusual vaginal bleeding (heavy periods, or bleeding after menopause)

The most important point I would like to make is if your doctor tells you nothing is wrong, and your symptoms persist, it is time to find a new doctor. You have to take control and insist that something be done to find answers.

You should also know the risk factors-

*Women with anyone in their family who has had ovarian cancer. The "powers that be" will tell you that you should only worry if it is a mother, daughter, or sister. My mother's first cousin died of ovca just a few years before mom did. It wasn't a coincidence.

*Women with a family history of breast cancer may also be at risk for ovarian cancer. If anyone in your family has had breast or ovarian cancer you may wish to talk to a genetic counselor. Genetic tests can sometimes show the presence of specific gene changes that increase the risk of ovarian cancer. A great deal of information about genetic risk of ovarian or breast cancer can be found on the website for FORCE. FORCE is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating women about their risks and options to deal with those.

* Personal history of cancer: Women who have had cancer of the breast, uterus, colon, or rectum have a higher risk of ovarian cancer.

If you have any risk factors for ovarian cancer, you should consult with your doctor and devise a plan to monitor your ovaries for any changes. This monitoring should be done often, and forever- not just once.

Please pass some of your knowledge along to the women you love. Knowledge is power.

It is my hope that maybe the information I put here will keep another daughter from celebrating Mother's Day without her mother because of ovarian cancer....


Blogger Laurie said...

Wonderful post! Happy Mother's Day to you.

8:59 PM, May 11, 2008  
Blogger Carmi said...

I am always impressed by your strength in using your experience to raise awareness. Thanks to you, those frightening numbers quoted at the bottom of your blog's home page may soon begin to come down.

I have no doubt that your mom would be immensely proud of your efforts on her behalf.

9:19 PM, May 11, 2008  
Blogger kenju said...

Carmi's right; your Mom would be very proud of you. Thanks for putting the symptoms out there. At one time or another, I have had all of them but the bleeding. There's no history of it in my family that I know of, but you can be sure I get checked every year.

Michele sent me.

6:22 AM, May 12, 2008  

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(written September of 2005) I have learned much in the last nine months. I have read that ovarian cancer whispers. I say it screams. It just needs someone to listen. The American Cancer Society statistics for ovarian cancer estimate that there will be 22,220 new cases and 16,210 deaths in 2005. This is a death rate FOUR TIMES that of breast cancer.Almost 70 percent of women with the common epithelial ovarian cancer are not diagnosed until the disease is advanced in stage. The 5-year survival rate for these women is only 15 to 20 percent. This is unacceptable. Women need to be made more aware of the symptoms, and doctors need to listen to their patients. Especially when the patient tells them that they fear they have ovca, as my mother did for almost a year before she was finally diagnosed. It’s so sad and senseless when a woman knows the symptoms but can’t get anyone to listen to what she is saying.