#gyncsm – A Growing Community | Dee Sparacio
In September 2013, I wrote about the establishment of the #gyncsm (gynecologic cancer social media) monthly tweet chat. Over the past year, #gyncsm discussed a variety of topics relevant to the gynecologic cancer community. During the hour-long online discussion we asked four to five questions on each month’s topic. At the conclusion of each chat, we posted the questions, a chat transcript and links to the resources mentioned during the chat on our blog (gyncm.blogspot.com).
At the Center of it All | Dee Sparacio
Over the past nine years I have seen an increase in the number of non-profit organizations whose mission is to raise awareness of gynecologic cancers and funds for research. There are national organizations and many local gynecologic cancer organizations that consistently raise awareness about the risks and symptoms of gynecologic cancers via TV, radio, print, Twitter and Facebook. Other non-profits fund research host dinners, walks and runs, teas, and auctions. This private funding has been so important the past few years as government funding of cancer research has been reduced.
Winter Reflections | Dee Sparacio
As I sat at my computer looking out the window at more than seven inches of snow in my yard, I began thinking back to the winters when I was in treatment. I remember how stressed I was that Mother Nature might cause me to miss a treatment. I used to worry that the snow might start during my infusion and I would have to figure out which way to drive home to avoid the steep hill. Thankfully, we only had snow one time on a treatment day, and it wasn’t even deep enough to cause me to change my route driving home. It is easy to enjoy the snow when you don’t have those stresses, but I know women in treatment who do have those stresses, women like those who attend the support group at my cancer center.
Discovering CA-125 | Dee Sparacio
I didn’t even know CA-125 existed until I was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer. CA-125 is a “tumor-associated protein” for ovarian cancer. It is found in the blood. Before surgery my CA-125 level was in the high 100’s (below 35 is considered normal). I learned from other women diagnosed with ovarian cancer that their numbers were in the 1000’s when they were initially diagnosed.
Pink | Dee Sparacio
I’ve never liked pink. Honestly, that is just the way I have been since I was young. I’ve always shied away from clothing that was any shade of pink. I just don’t think the color goes well with my complexion. I hardly ever dressed my daughter in pink when she was little and to this day she doesn’t wear pink either.
It Takes a Community to Establish a Tweet Chat | Dee Sparacio
In January, I wrote a blog post on this site about my aspirations for the year. So far in 2013, I haven’t painted very often nor have I consistently exercised. But with the help of the gynecologic cancer community my aspiration to be part of a tweet chat has happened.
Cancerversary Time | Dee Sparacio
I don’t know who coined the term cancerversary but I have been using it for a few years. For some survivors, their cancerversary is the anniversary of the day they were diagnosed with cancer. Yet for others it is the anniversary of the day they finished treatment.
A Special Member of My Team | Dee Sparacio
The first day I went for chemotherapy I really didn’t know what to expect. Two weeks earlier I had surgery and learned I had ovarian cancer. I hadn’t had time for a tour of the treatment area so I was a bit nervous.
To Test or Not to Test | Dee Sparacio
Recently Angelina Jolie was in the news, not for her latest movie, but for having a preventative mastectomy to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer. Angelina had genetic testing done and had learned she carried the BRCA1 & 2 mutations. The mutations placed her at a higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer than the average women. Jolie’s mother had passed away at the age of 56 due to ovarian cancer.
A Global Effect | Dee Sparacio
N: I’m on Avastin and my CA-125 is up. Did this happen to anyone else?
K: Anyone have experience with HIPEC?
C: Sorry I haven’t been on. Just out of hospital. Ascites drained 1.5 liters.