Monday, December 14, 2009

40 Teal Balloons

I was at an amazing funeral today for an amazing woman. She was young, just over 40 years old, and taken from us entirely too early due to ovarian cancer.

She isn't the first friend I've lost from ovarian cancer. She is the fourth. The fourth. They were four too many.

Ovarian cancer comes quietly. The teal bracelet on my wrist, which I've worn for 3 years, says: It whispers, so listen. It comes to the body quietly, and too often the symptoms are mistaken for other things. Bloated? Blame it on your diet. Pains in your abdomen? Cramps or indigestion. Fatigue? Well, you're tired. Loss of appetite? Aren't you dieting? Need to pee a lot? How much water or coffee are you drinking?

There isn't a screening test like a mammogram or a Pap smear. The CA-125 test can help but it's not perfect.

Many doctors aren't quick to look into the possibility of ovarian cancer. You need to be a pushy broad.

You have to fight like a girl.

Please, take a few moments and look at
Learn the complete list of symptoms, and if you have them and you have your ovaries, get to a doctor right away. Be insistent. It's your body, it's your life.

Today at the end of the funeral, the family released 40 teal balloons in Pam's honor. Teal is the color of ovarian cancer awareness.

Please, please, please. Think of those 40 teal balloons, and the grieving family she leaves behind. If you can financially support research, that's wonderful. If not, there are other things you can do.

You can share what you know about ovarian cancer. It might not be you who needs that information--it might be a mother, a friend, a wife, a sister. Be an advocate.

And, of course, you can pray.


Kacie said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Janet. Ovarian cancer is most frightening simply because it sneaks up so quietly and by the time one has symptoms, it's often too late.

My mother is still fighting her battle with ovarian cancer, and it's tragic to hear that Pam lost hers...



P.S. I would add that breast cancer patients--and especially anyone with the BRCA gene--should also get regular screenings for both types of cancer. To find out more about who should consider genetic testing for the BRCA gene:

Pattie said...

I know Pam's mom from Curves, and I was so very sad to hear of her passing. So, so sad. {{{HUGS}}}} to you.

I must meet you in person someday soon!