Many of you know that I lost my sister Cathy to cancer a few years ago. She had two primary cancers at the same time. One of them was ovarian cancer, the one we women dread. The one we’ve been taught is a silent killer because so often, symptoms don’t seem to appear until the later stages. Well, in recent years, they’ve found that it’s not exactly silent. It whispers. Early warning signs are vague, and can be due to so many other ailments…most of which are very minor. So women tend to overlook them. But many women with ovarian cancer look back and say, yes…I did have some of that happening earlier, and it was out of the ordinary. So that’s the key to early detection. If you notice any of these vague warning signs, and they last for a couple weeks and are unusual for you…if something just doesn’t feel quite right… see your doctor. You might think you’re bothering them, but you’re not. And even if you are, it doesn’t matter. A visit to find out it’s nothing serious is not a waste of time.
As August was coming to an end, our local ovarian cancer awareness group, SLOCA, was in final preparations for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, the entire month of September. We have lots of events planned, including a transit advertising campaign, a night at the ballpark, turning the fountain at Kiener plaza teal. The annual Families ROC 5K in Forest Park is on September 25th. SLOCA has a new, easy-to-navigate website with loads of useful information for those diagnosed, for caregivers, and for those who want to learn more, donate, or volunteer. We have a new Facebook page where we can talk about our events and share photos, notify followers of upcoming events, speakers, radio interviews, etc. that might not be listed on the website. And at the end of August, we began a campaign to turn Facebook teal by replacing our profile pictures with teal ribbons.
Sadly, the very next day after I put up my teal ribbon, I found that a friend was in the midst of being diagnosed. She’s only 37. She has two young children. She’s amazingly creative. This is not the way I want attention brought to this disease. But she has an enormous number of friends who she has met through photography; who she has made an impact on over the years. These women (and men) have jumped into this fight with her, sending their support through phone calls, texts, emails, Facebook messages, Facebook postings…every way they can think of to let her know how much support she has…how big her army of prayer warriors is. They turned Facebook teal on my screen. When I open Facebook, my list of friends is full of teal ribbons because of her. I hope that you’ll join us. Because this year, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month once again became personal, and I want it to be the last time.
Jen started a blog, Am I Still a Girl, to communicate her thoughts and keep everyone updated. She’s so creatively gifted at expression…including her writing. If you’d like to support Jen, please follow her blog. There is a place under each post where you can leave comments too, which we so affectionately refer to as “blog love” but in this case, those words take on real meaning. The comments can really lift her spirits and give her strength for her fight.
When you’re out and about this month here in St. Louis, look for our bus ads. They’ll be up all month.