Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer


E-eating less but feeling full fast

A-abdominal/pelvic pain

T-trouble with urination(frequency or urgency)

A PAP test does not detect ovarian cancer.

If these symptoms persist more that 2 weeks and are getting worse not better see your gynocologist and request additional tests such as a CA-125 and/or Transvaginal Ultrasound

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It has been a long time

When I started tis blog I was hoping to be able to be more consistent with writing and journaling my experiences. I know how theraputic it can be to write through difficult situations. I was just reminded of this at the National Ovarian Conference I attended earlier this month. Olympic gold medalist Shannon Miller was our keynote speaker and she talked a lot about blogging not only to help heal herself but also to share her experience with other women who may be going through difficult circumstances. My new goal is to post in my blog at least once a week. The most important thing for me to do through this entire journey is to remember to laugh. I know that sounds weird when dealing with something like cancer, but it has been my experience that more important than following a strict diet, reading up on all the latest research, finding all the right books on how to "do cancer," is to find humor in life and even life with cancer. I was able to spend time with a new friend, Jenny Allen, at the conference this year in D.C. She has written a one woman monologue that she performs off brodway and it is full of humor and truth. Talking with her she encouraged me to write down my experiences...especially the funny ones. So that is what I plan to do. I will be keeping a journal of sorts so that when I am having a hard day I can come here and remind myself of how wonderfully funny life can be and how lucky I am to have the time I do to enjoy the life and friends God has gifted me each day. With each blog I hope to make at least one other person find the joy in life they may have lost due to small or large obstacles they are facing in their lives.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Breathe of Heaven

I was listening to this song"" on KLove earlier and the words have been with me the rest of the day. I know it was written as Mary's song but so many of the lyrics spoke to me in my journey as well. God does lighten my darkness and will hold me together no matter what this world throws at me. I am thankful to the Giver of life that he gives moments of clarity to remind us that we are never alone.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dealing with fear

I am still waiting on the second opinion from the specialist about how long I should wait to get my tumor markers checked again. As I wait I continue to much as I try to have strong faith and trust in God's plan...i still worry. Everyday I wonder if I am letting this disease grow in my body as I wait...will I have to endure another surgery...will there be more chemo? I don't know if you have ever had to try NOT to think about if a deadly cancer is attacking your organs but it is not as easy as just "staying positive"  I seem to only be positive about one thing....I am scared. I have pains in my abdomen and chest and I think "is this it", "has it come back". I  remember the words of one of my doctors, "if you have a reoccurence that is when the clock starts ticking"  Somedays are better than others but not a day goes by that I don't deal with fear. I try to keep myself busy and I surround myself with friends and family that remind me all the time that they are praying for me. In times of fear I remember God's promises from the bible. I know my life is in His hands and He loves me so much. I am trying to claim His promises when fear creeps in and it does have so much power. Satan gives us a spirit of fear but God is a God of hope. I continue to try and live in the moment and be thankful for everyday I am still alive. Thanks to all of my friends who love me and encourge me with prayers and kind words. God bless, Karen

Friday, November 12, 2010

Struggling with bad test results

This has been a tough week for me. As I was in line for an oil change at Oil Can Henry's when the call came from the Dr office. My CA-125 numbers have gone up. CA-125 is a protein that is produced by ovarian cancer cells so the the rise in these numbers could possibly mean the the cancer is back. After thinking about what the nurse said the main emotion I felt was sadness. I hit this cancer hard with chemo and the surgeon got rid of all the cancer they could could it possibly come back. Now I wait...the doctor says he wants to wait 2 months to redo the test to see if the numbers stabilize or continue to rise. I do not know if I can wait 2 months. 2 months feels like a long time. This week I will seek out a 2nd opinion from the surgeon who is a specialist in my type of cancer. Right now I trust God will take care of me and I pray for the great Healer to perform a miracle and that all of my numbers will be back down after my next blood tests are drawn. Thanks for your prayers for my peace, direction, and ultimately God's hand to destroy any potential tumors. Love to all, Karen

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Been Too Long...

It has been a long time since my last blog. I feel like work is taking up so much of my time and by the time I get home I just want to watch mindless TV and sleep. I had the opportunity to share a testimony at church a couple of Sunday's ago. Here is a transrict of what I was able to share about God's faithfulness

I have been attending FPC since 1981. I grew up in the youth group here  and was one of Joel’s first interns. I always enjoyed working in ministry especially here at FPC. One thing I learned from Joel is that whenever youth go through tough times in their lives we need to be the first to encourage, support and pray. Over the years I have seen God do amazing things through the power of prayer. I always believed in the power of prayer because I saw it first hand but I never thought that I would REALLY need people to pray for me. In my early 20’s I began to experience anxiety attacks. I would worry about the “what ifs” of life and it almost always revolved around WHAT IF I had health problems? When you suffer from anxiety you feel like you need to be in control of all situations. I feared a health crisis might take away my control. Although I had been healthy my whole life...that all changed in December of 2008. . I went in for a CT scan because I thought I may have appendicitis. I had been having some pain in my lower right abdomen and finally decided to go see my doctor because things just didn't feel right. 45 minutes after the scan I got the call..."we want you to come in and see the doctor we found something on your scan." It was cancer....ovarian cancer. Talk about lopping a control freak off at the knees. This was it, my biggest fear had come to life. It was unreal, how does a healthy 34 year old get ovarian cancer, am i gonna die, do i have to have chemo and lose all my hair, will my life ever be the same? The list goes on and on and on…..It all happened in a blink of an eye. My life was great one day and the next day I find out I have the Cancer. I had a tough time believing this could happen to me so what did I do? I went and got a second opinion hoping that the first doctor was wrong. But… He wasn’t wrong… He confirmed that I had ovarian cancer and two weeks later at the age of 34 I had a radical hysterectomy. As if things couldn't get worse when I woke up the doctors told me the cancer had spread and I was fighting stage 4 cancer… Stage 4? Why not stage 1 or 2 or even 3 but Stage 4...there is no stage 5!

Family and friends who knew my history with anxiety were scared I might just lock myself in my room and not fight this. So people began to pray for me. I was not in a place to be able to pray for myself, I wouldn't even know what to pray for at this time of crisis. I was too busy trying to muster my own strength to fight this disease. But if my OWN strength was what I needed to get through this I was in BIG trouble. Through it all people prayed. Friends from here at FPC came and delivered meals to my house, called, texted, emailed, visited, sent cards all letting me know how my Christian FPC family was praying for me. The Parkins were one of the first to reach out to me. They made sure my family and I were taken care of and prayed for, covered with God's love and protection. As people prayed I felt peace. I was rarely peaceful before I had cancer how could I be so peaceful now? I was hopeful and I was reminded of one thing. Christ's strength was inside me. The prayers and encouragement of my family and my church family here at FPC strengthened my faith in the power of God. I had always been on the giving end of ministry and now I was here on the receiving end and what a blessing it was. The students that I had once ministered too were ministering to me through cards, visits, phone calls, and emails. I had never been apart of a women's bible study because I never had "time" but suddenly I felt like I needed to be surrounded by strong and faithful women of Christ. The group I joined introduced me to another cancer survivor who was diagnosed the same time I was. I know this was not a coincidence. She was able to empathize with me and share how God had remained faithful to her and how He will do the same for me. I remember one night in particular Ann Busch told me she felt like the group just needed to stop and pray for me. As this group of women surrounded me with prayer I felt overwhelmed with love....God's love touching me through my friends here at FPC. As these 2 years have not been without challenge and fear I am struck by the fact that some people have to face this life threatening disease without the love and encouragement of an incredible church family. I don't know where others get their hope in times of crisis and struggle if not from those around them surrounding them with prayer and encouragement. If you were one of the many people at FPC praying for me...thank you, thank you, thank you. God knew just the friends and family I would need to get me through this journey and I am so blessed to have this church to call home. In fact in the middle of this I realized that cancer is not ALL bad...I do have all these cool wigs. I used them to test the theory do blondes, brunettes, or redheads have more fun??? Did I mention God does give us opportunities for joy in the midst of stressful situations. As of August I am treatment and cancer free. My doctors expect this cancer to come back at some point but Pastor Mike said that God is in the business of surprise endings and I know my FPC family will be here celebrate when that day comes. If you are here today and are not involved in a small group bible study or if you have not signed up for an interest group I would encourage you to ask yourself. If I was faced with stage 4 cancer or some other tragedy how would I survive or who would I turn to? Like Pastor Mike said Tell me your friends then I will tell you your destiny. The love and support of my FPC friends are a Huge part of me being alive today. As you can see I didn't hide away in fact because of your prayers God gave me strength and a passion for life I had never felt before.  I will continue to ask my friends and family to pray for complete healing because the prayers of Christians move the hands of God.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


So this was a LONG week of work. I was tested by many things this week not the least of which is my perspective on things in this life. I have always been passionate about my job but since my diagnosis I have been learning to leave work at work and take time for myself during my down time. I remind myself everyday that the problems I face at work are never life threatening. These are things that can always be fixed, worked out, and rarely have long term effects on anyone. As we start this week remember to take time for yourself and your loved ones. Work will always be there tomorrow and as long as you do all you can do while you are "on the clock" you can leave knowing that everything that could be accomplished today was. Then go out and enjoy the people around you. Find something that brings you joy and make sure you do it at least once a week and give thanks for your health and the health of those you love.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

As September Comes to a Close...

September is quickly coming to a close and although I have not been able to do all of the awareness activities I wanted to do I feel I remember that everyday brings another opportunity to educate friends and family about the importance of knowing the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer. Please remember that your yearly PAP test does NOT detect ovarian cancer. This test is only good for detecting cervical and uterine cancer. If you are having any strange and persistent symptoms that last more than 2 weeks and get worse over those 3 weeks please tell your doctor and request more tests like a CA-125 or an ultrasound.
As I am learning to deal with life after cancer I try to remind myself to live in every moment. Even when times are stressful and I find myself about to throw a pity party, I can always say "Karen, you are still alive to experience all this life has to give you." I remember how faithful God has been throughout my journey and that He has a plan for my life. He has a plan for YOUR life too. When life feels stressful always remember God's promises and that the most important thing you can do is to take care of the life God has given you.
Take care my friends!