Survivor Spotlight

Today we are shouting out and spotlighting 3 more amazing women. Sally is a 10-year survivor, Amber is a 2-year-6-month survivor, and Mary is an 8-year survivor. These women all listened to their bodies and didn't stop when it came to advocating for themselves. We celebrate each of you!


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Sally



Do you celebrate your cancerversary?

Yes, April 29, 2012. I'm still living with active disease & in treatment


What advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed

Find your joy in every day. It may be the hot cup of coffee in the morning or a bendy straw at chemo. It is there.



What were you looking forward to most post-treatment?

Feeling physically better, a trip to a beautiful place


Have you connected with other survivors?

Yes, yes, yes! This is vital to ovarian cancer survivors. I have a rare OC called Granulosa Cell Tumor. My GCT Survivor Sisters! Facebook group has been a God send! I participate in support groups around the country (thanks to COVID putting us all online) and locally. I work with the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance as a presenter for Survivors Teaching Students and I am also an Advocate Leader lobbying Congress for research funding. I take these connections to heart. We need to support each other and lift each other up. Sometimes I'm the giver and sometimes I'm the taker. I'm so grateful to be able to do both.


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Amber



Do you celebrate your cancerversary?

I have not celebrated my cancerversary yet I am still kinda scared that it will return you know that thought is always in the back of my mind.


What advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed?

The advice that I would give someone who is newly diagnosed is to pray, lean on God as much as possible, and make sure that they get connected with Teal Diva because they have the most amazing people that will help you through your journey!



What were you looking forward to most post-treatment?

The thing that I was looking forward to the most post-treatment is getting back to a somewhat "normal" life with my kids. My youngest was 5 months old when I found out that I had cancer and it turned our whole world upside down. So getting to ride rollercoasters and just being able to go out with my kids was the biggest thing for me!


Have you connected with other survivors?

How do I connect with Survivors? I haven't really done a lot but I am looking forward to doing much more with Teal Diva and signing up to do the Yes Girl program!


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Mary



Tell your story of how you were diagnosed.

On July 4, 2014, I noticed a change in my bowel habits. I thought oh well I am getting older. From then till April 2015, other symptoms started. I was getting full after eating very little, had major heartburn, burping, urinating every hour, extremely tired, and nauseated. I would either have constipation or diarrhea. Then when I would lay in bed on my left side I felt a lump. I finally made a doctor's appointment. He sent me for an x-ray thinking I had a bowel obstruction. They gave me a couple of prescriptions and sent me home. While I was filling the prescriptions he called me and said you need to come back to my office immediately. I went back and, he said I’m admitting you to the hospital right now. I got admitted and they started doing all kinds of tests. That evening they told me I had ovarian cancer and were transferring me to a bigger hospital in Tucson. Once at that hospital I met my amazing oncologist. After 10 rounds of chemo and surgery, I was declared NED in January 2016.


Do you celebrate your cancerversary?

I celebrate my cancerversary from the day I was diagnosed on April 14, 2015, for the first time. Then September 2020 I started getting symptoms again. I did have a bowel blockage and a tumor sitting on my large intestine. Had surgery where they removed two feet. Started chemo for 6 cycles then Lynparza and I’m NED since December 2021.


How have you celebrated your cancerversary?

I either go out to lunch with friends or since Covid, I have a fancy meal home to celebrate! I have become a great gourmet cook in the meantime.


What advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed?

For someone just starting with their treatment, I would tell them to hang in there. One day at a time! Eat the cake first and have fun. Be sure to tell the chemo nurses of anything different happening as it could mean something.


What were you looking forward to most post-treatment?

After chemo was done I was looking forward to not having to go in weekly. But I missed seeing my chemo nurses.


How have you connected with other survivors?

My chemo center is so large you hardly saw the same person so I didn’t make friends with fellow patients but I have joined several FB groups and have made friends with some of them. One dear friend lives in the UK. I also have a dear friend I see a lot that was actually my employee when I was still working. She also got ovarian cancer 2 years after I did. Same stage 3C. She went through chemo and is also NED.

So please do not wait to go see the doctor. It’s not in your head, not going to go away, it will only get worse.

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