Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month!

It is September, and that means it is time to go TEAL!  It is officially Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and the color of Ovarian Cancer Awareness is teal.  A fun and easy way to support this month is by painting your toes teal.  There are tons of teals out there in many different brands of polish, so finding one is easy!
What is Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian cancer is a disease in which malignant or cancerous cells are found in the ovaries. An ovary is one of two small, almond-shaped organs located on each side of the uterus that store eggs or germ cells and produce female hormones estrogen and progesterone.  There are more than 30 different types of ovarian cancer.
Genetic or hereditary causes of ovarian cancer account for only 10% of the estimated 23, 400 cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed each year in the United States. The cause or causes of the other 90% are not known.

Ovarian cancer is the 4th most common cause of cancer death among women in the U.S. Every female born in the United States has a risk of 1 in 55, or 1.8%, of developing ovarian cancer in her lifetime. The risk increases substantially for women with a family history of ovarian cancer. It is more common in women in their 50’s and 60’s, but often occurs in women with a family history before or during their early 40’s. Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other type of gynecologic cancer and accounts for 5% of all cancer deaths among women. It is the 4th most common cause of cancer death among women in the U.S.
Pelvic exams, the CA125 blood test, and pelvic ultrasounds are three methods of diagnosing ovarian cancer in women with symptoms suggesting the disease. None of these tests is foolproof when used alone; when used together, however, they can be very helpful in diagnosing ovarian cancer in its earliest stages. In fact, CA125 levels are elevated in 50% of Stage 1 ovarian cancer patients.
The average survival for women with advance stage ovarian cancer in the last 15 years has gone from 1 year to over 3 years. It is true that among women followed from 5 and 10 years after treatment, the number that are actually cured of the disease is very small. However, it appears that some 8% to 15% of patients, even those with very advanced ovarian cancer, eventually will be cured of the disease.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is difficult to detect, especially, in the early stages. This is partly due to the fact that these two small, almond shaped organs are deep within the abdominal cavity, one on each side of the uterus. These are some of the potential signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer:


Pelvic or abdominal pain

Trouble eating or feeling full quickly

Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often

Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:


Upset stomach or heartburn

Back pain

Pain during sex

Constipation or menstrual changes

If symptoms persist for more than two weeks, see your physician.

Persistence of Symptoms

When the symptoms are persistent, when they do not resolve with normal interventions (like diet change, exercise, laxatives, rest) it is imperative for a woman to see her doctor. Persistence of symptoms is key. Because these signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer have been described as vague or silent, only around 19% of ovarian cancer is found in the early stages. Symptoms typically occur in advanced stages when tumor growth creates pressure on the bladder and rectum, and fluid begins to form.

Have a comprehensive family history taken by a physician knowledgeable in the risks associated with ovarian cancer. 5% to 10% of ovarian cancer has a familial link.

Every woman should undergo a regular rectal and vaginal pelvic examination. If an irregularity of the ovary is found, alternatives to evaluation include transvaginal sonography and/or tumor markers. The most common tumor marker is a blood test called the CA-125.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sprint for Life

Houston has a fantastic run/walk close to Mother's Day weekend each year to raise money for the Blanton-Davis Cancer Research Program at M.D. Anderson.  This year was great because 2 of my boys joined me in the race! 

There are races and fundraisers all over the world.  Look for one in your area.  Even if you don't run, you could raise money for these causes.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A lesson learned

In the last couple of weeks, I have been thinking very hard about a topic brought up in my bible study, and I felt like I needed to include what I learned here. The topic was about how as humans we often think that God causes us to suffer. We ask, "Why is He punishing me? Why did He let someone die? Why do babies suffer and die?" and questions of that nature. Often people go to the easy answer that is supposed to make you feel better by saying "God has a plan, and He is in control." Well, when you are the one hurting or suffering, that answer isn't really comforting. I know that I have said that answer to several people, and even tried telling myself that same answer, but when you think about it, that is like saying that God made someone sick or made someone die. That it was His plan.

Here is what I came to recognize the last two weeks.

First of all, I will try not give that answer to anyone any more when they are hurting. God doesn't hurt others. God is a loving God. He takes painful situations and uses them for His glory if we let Him.

When we pray for God to heal someone or for Him to protect a loved one and our prayers don't get answered, that doesn't mean that God punished us or let us hurt. The truth is, God watches us and He hurts too. I imagine his hurt is different because He knows that our loved one is joining Him, and he can see the glory in the situation already, but he hurts when He sees us suffer. The thing is, God is omniscient. He can see the past, present, and the future all at once. He gives us free will, and we are able to make choices without His stepping in. Not because He can't, but He doesn't. Often He doesn't because He can see the entire picture for ever and ever. If He were to step in and save someone now, it could so badly mess up the plans for the future that everything would be out of balance. That is how nature works. Think about how if one species dwindles, that effects the future of many other species in nature. God is in control, yes, and that control is far beyond what our human minds can imagine. A quote I heard recently is so very true: "The more I know, the more I don't know."

So, I guess my point out of all of this is that God is a loving God, and just because we don't understand why something is happening, doesn't mean that He is not there. He often uses our struggles to teach us lessons and to glorify Him even more. Just know, that if you are suffering, if you are sick, and if you are hurting...He is there. He wants you to speak to Him. He is putting people in your life, He is putting words in front of you, and He is speaking to your hearts, eyes, and ears... and listen for Him. He is there.

Proverbs 3:5-6
New International Version (NIV)
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Deuteronomy 31:8
New International Version (NIV)
8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Friday, January 27, 2012

Why Do We Struggle? What is the purpose for pain?

Part of the struggle of going through a difficult situation is wondering why we have to go through it in the first place. When we get bad news, the world seems to crash around us, spinning and spinning, and then we inevitably ask...."Why God? Why is this happening to me? And how do I get through this?" Even though it is so hard to understand, pain is part of life, death is part of life, illness is part of life, and life just isn't always easy.

When we are struggling, we are supposed to reach out to God. Often that can be a far fetched idea because we are hurting, and we feel like we are being punished for something. This is a perfectly normal reaction. God is a loving God, He doesn't punish us. He never said in the bible that it would be easy once we became a Christian. In fact, it can be harder. God tells us we will have struggles (See my previous post here about that.) Living up to a Christ-like life is impossible, only Jesus was perfect, but we are to strive to be like Him. God knows we are human, and He knows we are going to make mistakes. He expects us to handle our mistakes as Jesus showed us. That is, by showing grace, asking for forgiveness, and loving others.

The bible answers the question "Why do we have struggles?"
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Praise to the God of All Comfort 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Right there, in written text, is the answer to why we struggle and why we have pain. So that we can be comforted by God, and then take what we learned from Him and comfort those who also suffer. Our end goal is to comfort others. Certainly when we have gone through a situation, and know someone else going through a similar situation, we can sympathize and empathize with them. It teaches us compassion, and opens our hearts to pour out God's love on others.

We can't do anything for anyone else unless we accept the first part of of the answer. We must first be comforted by God. He can't do anything unless we open our hearts to Him, unless we ask Him to come into our lives and comfort us. So pray for His comfort. When you are struggling, ask Him to help you, to bring you peace with the situation. Ask Him to wrap His loving arms around you and hold you tight, ask Him to put people in your life daily that can be his earthly angels and who can help you physically feel his comfort. Pray for God to give you the strength to get through your struggle. That doesn't mean you are praying for your own will, but that you are praying to be at peace with God's will in your situation. Once you have prayed these things, be patient and open your eyes and ears. You will start to see how God works in your life each day. Once you see Him, praise Him for the things He is doing. It is easy to pray for God's help when you are in the midst of a trial, but He wants us to pray to Him when everything is going well too. God works in our lives, not just when we are asking for help, but every day. Praise Him when things are going well, and you will continue to see the blessings each day.

Once you have felt God's comfort and love, you can begin to comfort others. This doesn't mean you are no longer grieving or hurting. Sometimes the healing of ourselves comes through helping others. Look back at what He did to comfort you, and do those things for others. Comforting others doesn't have to be anything big. Maybe just a card in the mail, an email, a phone call, a meal, a ride in your car, or running an errand for them can help bring comfort. One of the things that comforts me is when someone prays for me. Not just telling me you will pray for me, but actually praying for me. The prayer I have received has been both spoken and written. If you are uncomfortable praying aloud for someone, write a card or email with the prayer (it can be short) that you said for them. It is so comforting to know the prayers that are being said. Having said this, I am writing a prayer for you as your read this......

Dear Lord,
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you any time I want. Thank you for your written word that speaks to me and gives me so much hope. I lift up the person reading this right now. I pray that you would enter her/his heart and show her/him your love each day. I pray that you would bring peace and joy into her/his life. Lord, thank you for being such a loving God. I praise you for the life you have given us. Help us to make the most of this gift from you, and to learn from our struggles how we can help others. God, take away the hurt and the pain, and replace it with peace and comfort. Let your love shine through us.
In Jesus' name,

More prayers that I have posted before that you can pray for someone can be found here.

Paul prayed for the Ephesians in the bible, and it is a fantastic prayer to pray for someone who needs comfort.
Ephesians 3:14-21
New International Version (NIV)
A Prayer for the Ephesians 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

The relationship that comes out of leaning on God through our suffering is one that couldn't be formed unless the suffering was present. It's a relationship that is deep, deeper than any other. He knows everything you are feeling and thinking, and He loves you. The relationship continues to grow because suffering doesn't just end. It comes in waves and rears it's ugly head at the most inopportune times. It isn't easy to get through hard times, but with God you know that you have the most powerful being on your side, and that is comforting to me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I have a precious friend with an amazing Granny that she lost a little while back. Despite not being on earth anymore, her Granny continues to inspire others with her quotes and devotion to God. One of her fantastic quotes she used to tell others is that "Worrying is faith in reverse."

Stop and think about that for a minute. Worrying is faith in reverse. We worry about money, our health, our family, our future....and what good does that do? It keeps us from God. Worry is Satan's way of putting that doubt in our minds. Satan LOVES to do anything that would separate us from God, anything that would make us doubt for even a second that God is in control. Worrying is faith in reverse.

When we worry and say we trust God, it is like saying I believe God will take care of this, but just in case he can't, I'm worried. Can you imagine that!? There is nothing that God cannot do. So when we worry, we are not showing faith that God is in control of our situation.

Well, here is where the tricky part sets in. Let's just say for example that you pray and pray for someone to be healed, and they continue to get worse and suffer through the illness before passing away. Some people would say that God didn't answer their prayers. Well, who are we to say what God is doing? See, what I learned from my own Mother's disease and death is that God's will doesn't have to be mine. My mother taught me to look for God's answers every where. So when it doesn't go "my" way, then I should look for how God answered my prayer in another way. Often this is hard because it takes so much time to see the answers. Especially when you are hurting. Sometimes the answer is the lesson you learn through the hurt. Sometimes the grace that someone demonstrated through suffering is the example you learn from. Sometimes, you learn how to help others through the path of suffering. The one thing that is true, is that God is there always. He waits for us to ask Him to help. He finds no joy in our suffering, but he can see where it will lead us. Hind sight is where we finally see what he was trying to teach us.

Do I get scared? Yes. Do I feel anxious? Yes. Do I stress? Yes. Do I worry? Yes. But, I pray for God to take these feelings and replace them with faith. I will continue to open my eyes and pray for God to show me the answers to my prayers. And He will...... That is Faith.