Saturday, January 29

Fight Like Hell

I wanted to share this blog post Sister wrote.  Please pass it along.

Lance Armstrong once said, "We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up or fight like hell." I'm gonna go with fight like hell. How bout you?
Each year the government, along with private "investors" pay doctors and researchers to help find a cure for AIDS. So far, since the infection was first reported in 1981 by the CDC, there have been major breakthroughs. People can now live years on medication while being HIV positive and the disease not progress into AIDS for a very long time. Even without treatment one can learn that he or she is HIV positive and live for years before AIDS becomes a "hindrance" to them and they eventual die from it.
In 2008, AIDS research was given roughly 16 billion dollars globally. There are many studies being done on patients who are HIV positive, have AIDS already, and also on patients that have died from the disease. Prevention in many cases is possible.
This is not about AIDS. This is about 21,000 women in America who die each year due to lack of research, knowledge, and funding.
This is about cancer. And no, I'm not talking about breast cancer for the 80 billionth time. Breast cancer awareness is everywhere you turn. It has more followers on facebook than the President.
I'm talking about Ovarian Cancer. It is the same mutated cancerous gene as breast cancer but far less is known about it. 79% of women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in stage IV...thats the last stage, for those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about.
I'm going to tell you what the reasons are that it isn't caught sooner.
  • One, because of the symptoms. By the time a woman has noticeable symptoms she's already in stage IV.
  • Two, there are really only two ways to know if you might have ovarian cancer. The first is with a transvaginal ultrasound, which is not routine. The other is a blood test called CA-125 which is, also, not routine.
Even if your CA-125 levels are off a bit, it still may not indicate ovarian cancer. There are a few reasons the levels could be out of balance. One is that you may have a benign cyst, the doctor will tell you to wait a few weeks and come back to check the levels again. But what if you already have ovarian cancer? Those few weeks are critical. The transvaginal ultrasound is a bit more reliable but not by much. This will also show what may be benign cysts, only if the cysts are without a doubt abnormal is your doctor going to not want to wait a few weeks and check back.
While your doctor is waiting, your cancer may be spreading and/or getting worse. Do you want to take that chance?
While Breast Cancer is a serious thing, a rather noninvasive surgery can be done. A small biopsy can be taken and sent off. To do a similar biopsy when Ovarian Cancer is a possibility they have to go in through your abdomen which becomes very invasive.
Research, or just years experience, has helped us gain the knowledge to make an "at risk" test called Brca1 and Brca2. This is also a blood test that looks at the genes consistent with Breast and Ovarian cancers to see if there is any type of mutation.
Breast and Ovarian cancer are hereditary. So if your grandmother had breast cancer you could be at risk for either of these. The more common it is among your family the higher your chances are of developing one of these diseases.
The Brca test doesn't mean that you will definitely get cancer, nor does it mean that you already have cancer. What the Brca test will do is tell you if you are at risk of maybe later developing cancer.
What if the test says you are at risk? Well, for one, your medical insurance company could treat you differently, your rates could change because you are "at risk". How is that even fair?! What can you do to keep from maybe developing cancer? Have surgery. Have your ovaries removed. If you are at high risk that's the only way to ensure you won't develop the disease.
They think, based on the small amount of research done, that taking the birth control pill lowers your chances. But not by much. You are still at risk, you can still develop it, and you could still die from it. Remember that by the time you show symptoms you're often in stage IV.
So how is it that more research isn't being done on this, "silent killer"? Each year billions of dollars are spent on research for other things. Things that can be detected early, treated, and things you can live with, healthy and happy, for years. Not even half of that is spent on ovarian cancer research, roughly 6 million dollars a year.
I'm currently trying to find an Ovarian Cancer research study to join. Anything I can find that I'm eligible for, not only for my benefit but for others as well. The studies I've found are being done on women that have been treated once and the cancer is recurring. Those are the few lucky women that happen to detect the disease early somehow. I'm more than willing to do whatever it would take to be part of a study that could help doctors understand, lower risks, or treat Ovarian cancer. If there was more of an awareness, more funding, more research, I could be part of that. I could be part of saving a life or making life a little better for a sister, a mother, a daughter, an aunt, or a friend.
You see, I'm at the highest risk for developing ovarian cancer, as is my sister. Our aunt passed away two months ago at the age of 41 due to ovarian cancer. She died on December 2nd. The first time she had any symptom of the disease was October 2nd. In further research we have since found that our great-great grandmother and great grandmother also died of this disease. Our great grandmother was just 31 years old when she passed, leaving behind her husband and young children.
My options right now are limited. I'm 22 years old, I have no children and there is a very likely chance I'll later develop ovarian cancer. I could get the surgery and never have kids. But who can make such a decision on such limited information at the age of 22? I know I can't.
So my hope is to raise a little awareness for those of you that may be unaware of what this disease is about and how many lives it claims. So that you can tell others and be aware of the signs so it doesn't claim more lives.
I know what this does to families. I know what it feels like to go through it and watch it happen. I wouldn't wish that on anyone, so please be aware. Listen to your body. Don't dismiss little things, they can add up. And seriously, talk to your doctor! If we can raise the awareness and get more research done and learn more about this. My kids might not have to go through what my aunt did, or their kids, or my niece, or someone you love.

You can look up Ovations for the Cure there you will find all the symptoms listed. Along with other ways to help raise awareness. Please don't dismiss this, its very serious. Just take a second to check it out.

Thursday, January 27

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

I sometimes like to use my blog as more of a notepad or place to dump the thoughts in my head, and if someone reads it, super cool!
Below I have compiled a list of my current favorites for you to check out.  Maybe a few will become your favorites, too.

Look at these amazing pictures, a technique you could do, too.  So nifty!   They don't look real.

I love this hand embroidery pattern, Floral Fantasy, from Sublime Stitching.  Hand embroidering, for me, is like coloring with thread instead of crayons. 

I wish we had a place to put this ornate chalkboard sticker in our house.  The detail is great.

Owls are so trendy now and although I prefer to go against the grain, I have gotten caught up in the owl following.  This is the cutest cookie jar ever!  It's turquoise!!!  (Pictures of recent owl project coming soon.)

I really dig the entire line of Melissa & Doug toys but I especially like this mail themed "fill and spill."  Don't you remember playing mailman when you were little?  There was even a Muppet Babies episode where they played mailroom. 

While I'm folding clothes, folding diapers, and feeding babies I watch episodes of Masterchef Australia on Youtube.  They have tons of challenges and they have a "Master Class" where the chefs teach the amatuers kitchen skills. 

I ran across this clip from "This Is Elvis," a documentary about Elvis Presley.  I've never seen the film but of course I would love to see it and own it.  I'm not sure what to think about this Elvis.  I prefer to think of him as being perfect and innocent like the 1956 Elvis.  Guess he was a real person and certainly a womanizer.

Monday, January 17

Michelle Money

Who does Michelle, from The Bachelor, look like?  I can't place it.  Is it Elizabeth Hurley or Lauren Conrad?
Michelle Money
Elizabeth Hurley
Lauren Conrad

Wednesday, January 12

Constipated Baby

I've become that woman...the woman that discusses her childrens' bowel movements.  Although slightly disgusting, this post is meant as a helpful tip for new mommies.
Today's tip:  a little Karo Syrup in your baby's bottle helps to relieve constipation.  Start with just a little (maybe 1/2 teaspoon) and adjust as needed.
With two babies on soy formula (soy is gentler on the stomach but has an awful side effect......) we use a lot of syrup.  We have found that 1/2 cup of Karo Syrup added to our 3 pint pitcher of formula does the job.  Light or dark syrup work fine, but remember the dark will turn the formula an odd shade of brown. 
I hope that all of my "mommy posts" can be used by someone like me, who might not know all the tricks and shortcuts to babying.  Always remember to consult your pediatrician for your baby's needs.   

Wednesday, January 5


I haven't been around much lately (two babies keep a woman pretty darn busy).  So here's what's happened in the last few months.

Sisters:  Heather, Rhonda, and Carlene

On December 2 my aunt, Rhonda, passed away of ovarian cancer.  After suffering severe abdominal pain, she went to the emergency room and was admitted to the hospital.  They found a mass in her abdomen and two months later she passed away.
Most women that die from ovarian and uterine cancer have a similar story.  You usually don't have symptoms until the cancer is full blown and it's too late for treatment.  There is, however, a blood test you can get now to predict your risk for ovarian and breast cancer.  Please read this website for more information.

Alex and Ayden, aka The Babies, turned two months old December 16th. 
Christmas.  Can you find The Babies?

And to end our year, we bought a new car....a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder.  We were lucky to find a great deal on this vehicle and drove all the way to Sandy Springs GA (just north of Atlanta) to pick it up.  Now I will have no trouble driving the babies around town! 

My dreams came true this year and I am eager to see what 2011 has instore for our family.

Tuesday, January 4

Quilted Cupcake Sewing Machine

Etsy posted this photo on Facebook.  Isn't it just amazing?!  Everything looks better with a little colorful bling.