I love to travel and have fun! I also am a volunteer foster mom for rescued Boston Terriers and enjoy helping dogs find their forever homes. I was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in 2006 and had a recurrence of this cancer in 2009. Following my diagnosis, I pursued genetic testing and learned I was also positive for the BRCA2 genetic mutation. Unfortunately, my daughter also tested positive. My belief is that the most difficult part of living in the "cancer world" is the emotional stress experienced; therefore, I write a blog (www.canceremotions.wordpress.com) that "tells it like it is." I hope through this forum survivors have a place to share the fears and struggles of dealing with cancer.
My advocacy work also includes organizing the first support group for gynecological cancer survivors in my city, which allows women who understand the challenges of treatment and survivorship to come together and support each other, a place to say what's on our minds and hearts without worrying that we are causing others to worry about us more. I also coordinate the Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women's Lives Program (speaking to medical students) and organized a Coalition of Ovarian Cancer (an interagency group). I have enrolled in clinical trials continuously since my diagnosis in 2006.
I am passionate about encouraging other survivors to consider participation in clinical trials. Participation in a clinical trial is an individual action that has huge impacts for others because in my opinion we will not find a cure or screening test without participation.
My participation as a consumer reviewer for the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program was affirmation for me that survivors and research professionals working together can really make a huge difference. By looking at and evaluating outcomes through a different perspective from each other, and challenging each other's view and assumptions in an extremely respectful arena, we synergistically drive the field forward.