#Throwback Thursday: It’s Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month (Shhhh, No One Speak About It)

Originally published 5/19/13       Dedicated to my mom.

A bright spotlight shines on breast cancer. Pink saturates everything. Marathons are held to find a cure. Mammograms are encouraged to detect it.

Ovarian cancer lurks in the shadows hoping no one will notice it. And no one does. It’s free to go undetected and slowly kill thousands of women each year.

You can’t catch it. There is no test for it even though most women think a pap covers it.

No one knows that the signs mimic those of IBS. People usually jump to conclude it’s just digestive problems. Bloating, change in bowel habits, indigestion, nausea, abdominal fullness, fluid in the abdomen, or lump in the abdomen.

Most people don’t know that having breast cancer increases your chances of getting ovarian cancer. And vice versa.

Almost no one realizes that it’s the deadliest gynecological cancer there is.

Women are unaware that the CA125 blood test is the closest thing we have to a screening for ovarian cancer. And it’s not even reliable.

Little headway is being made. The five year survival rate for ovarian cancer has not changed significantly over the past 40 years. That means there are almost never survivors. Only loved ones you have to watch wither away over 1,2,3,4 or 5 years.

In 2008 the American Cancer Society awarded $572.6 million for breast cancer research. Ovarian cancer, $6.2 million.

I’m not trying to pit one disease against the other. Or to say one is more important. But damn. Where are our mammograms? Where are our pink ribbons? Where is our race for the cure? No one seems to notice this silent killer. And so it just goes on killing.

A Letter to My Mom on Her Birthday

19

Dear Mom,

You’ve been gone 5 years now. Sometimes it feels like 500 years. Sometimes it feels like 5 minutes. I still think about you all the time and am amazed that life is still happening without you. Because I used to wonder how it would.

I would love to know if you can see us where you are. Did you see we met Oprah? Can you see how grown up Hannah is? Were you cheering when I got my job? Do you laugh when I say things you used to say? I think so.

I still want to talk to you about things all the time.

I still want to come to your house to hide out and bury myself in quilts on your couch.

I still want to hear your voice telling me I’m doing the right thing and that I will figure it out.

I still want to call and ask what you’re doing …and if you want to go to Target.

I still want to see Hannah sitting next to you while you read her a book.

I still want to lie in bed with you while we laugh our heads off about a thing we think is hilarious.

I still want to go on walks with you and ponder why people don’t see things like we do.

I still want my very-best-always-in-my-corner-and-knew-what-I-was-talking-about-friend.

Hannah tells me from time to time, “Grandma was such a sweet grandma.” And you were a sweet mom, too. We were so lucky to have you. I hope you know that. I think you do.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Shhhh, No One Speak About It

A bright spotlight shines on breast cancer. Pink saturates everything. Marathons are held to find a cure. Mammograms are encouraged to detect it.

Ovarian cancer lurks in the shadows hoping no one will notice it. And no one does. It’s free to go undetected and slowly kill thousands of women each year.

You can’t catch it. There is no test for it even though most women think a pap covers it.

No one knows that the signs mimic those of IBS or digestive problems.

Most people don’t know that having breast cancer increases your chances of getting ovarian cancer. And vice versa.

Almost no one realizes that it’s the deadliest gynecological cancer there is.

Women are unaware that the CA125 blood test is the closest thing we have to a screening for ovarian cancer. And it’s not even reliable.

Little headway is being made. The five year survival rate for ovarian cancer has not changed significantly over the past 40 years. That means there are almost never survivors. Only loved ones you have to watch wither away over 1,2,3,4 or 5 years.

In 2008 the American Cancer Society awarded $572.6 million for breast cancer research. Ovarian cancer, $6.2 million.

I’m not trying to pit one disease against the other. Or to say one is more important. But damn. Where are our mammograms? Where are our pink ribbons? Where is our race for the cure? No one seems to notice this silent killer. And so it just goes on killing.