Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer? 

Ovarian cancer has the reputation of being a “silent killer”. But many women know, and science has confirmed, that ovarian cancer DOES have symptoms. 

Women with ovarian cancer report that symptoms are persistent and represent a change from “normal” for their bodies. The frequency and or number of such symptoms are key factors in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. 

95% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer report having had one or more of these four common symptoms: 

  • Bloating

  • Pelvic or abdominal pain

  • Urinary urgency or frequency

  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly

See your doctor, preferably a gynecologist, if you have these symptoms more than 12 times during one month and the symptoms are new or unusual for you.

In 2007, the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance and other leading cancer organizations endorsed a consensus statement on ovarian cancer symptoms.

As medical research continues to investigate this critical issue, numerous studies have been published indicating that symptoms may not occur until late stage or that they may not improve health outcomes.  Symptoms are significant, but they are not a definitive diagnostic tool.  Since there is no diagnostic tool for ovarian cancer, symptom awareness remains of crucial importance.  Being aware of the symptoms can help women get diagnosed sooner. Early stage diagnosis is associated with an improved prognosis.

Other Symptoms Associated with Ovarian Cancer

Several other symptoms have been commonly reported by women with ovarian cancer. These symptoms include fatigue, indigestion, back pain, pain with intercourse, constipation and menstrual irregularities. However, these other symptoms are not as useful in identifying ovarian cancer because they are also found in equal frequency in women in the general population who do not have ovarian cancer.

Source: Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance

https://ocrfa.org/patients/about-ovarian-cancer/symptoms-and-detection/

The Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance encourages women to track any persistent symptoms and take that information to their doctor and ask them to rule out ovarian cancer by administering a Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound (TVU), pelvic/rectal exam, and CA125 blood test.

Are some women at higher risk than others?

ALL women are at risk, and the risk of developing ovarian cancer increases with age. But, there is also an increased risk for these populations:

  • Women with a family history of breast, ovarian, or colon cancer
  • Jewish women
  • Women of Hispanic heritage, including those in Colorado’s San Luis Valley
  • Women who have never been pregnant
  • Women who have never used birth control pills
  • Those who use infertility treatments
  • Obese women

. . .
Thanks to COCA for this information! (click for more details)

Twisted Gift

Twisted Gift

Dear Moving Community ~

As most of you know, just over a year ago I completed a successful treatment journey through late stage ovarian cancer into health. When science, consciousness, and prayer get together in harmony, alchemy can happen. During the process, I learned so much about that healing alliance. Today, I reach out to creatively share some of my discoveries.

Returning from a threshold experience is as critical as navigating our way through the narrow passageways of a descent. Arnold van Gannep, a wisdom writer on rites of passage, coined the word incorporation to describe this integrative part of the process. We know that conscious completion is key. The final cycle of every positive initiatory process needs both time and tending. It also needs witness. Once initiates are born again through the transformational process, they are guided to return to their people bearing medicine. Their story is to be offered as a teaching. Gifts are to be given back to the community from the new place of consciousness accessed through the initiatory process.

So in that spirit, I now return offering some treasures that I have excavated through the rigorous journey of transforming my life during that near-death encounter with cancer.

Art is my favorite language for exchange. Of late, film has become one of my most kindred mediums for communication. So, I made this film short, Twisted Gift, to help myself return, to share about my journey, and hopefully to offer some pearls excavated from my process of eradicating cancer from my body. I hope that you will find it moving. It is a raw and real creative expression of my soul, filmed in two hours and edited in just a few weeks with a gifted young filmmaker, Henna Taylor. It was ripe to be created and longs to be seen. Here is the link.

We would love to hear your reflections of this film. Thank you for leaving your comments if you are touched. And also thank you for sharing as you are moved. I would be honored and delighted if Twisted Gift reached those struggling with cancer near and far.

Additionally, I will begin my overt creative offerings to the cancer community in 2019. RESILIENCE. I have a vision to bring movement, writing, and diverse arts to those wrestling with cancer and their caregivers. I first worked in the cancer community about 10 years ago, never did I imagine that I would be a part of it. Now that I thrive with no evidence of disease, it is time for me to give back in a fuller way.

Please let your people know about our RESILIENCE. events, the first being for women on January 12th in Boulder. This part of my work will slowly unfold over the years to come. I hope you never need to join us, but if you or a loved one do, you are welcome.

I close in gratitude for being gifted with more life.

In honor of that, please join me in caring well for our bodies, our hearts, our families, our communities, and our Earth. Health is not a privilege. It is our birthright. Let’s respect life and continue to share good medicine.

In love …
And Life!

Melissa

Let’s talk about resilience

Let’s talk about resilience

It is the one-year anniversary of when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. A diagnosis on a Friday. Surgery on the following Tuesday. The weekend in between spent communicating with family, friends, with you all. Will signed. Real conversations. Preparing to possibly die or to live in a very new way. Six weeks of recovery followed by full on chemo, hair loss. The whole cancer scene. Too many of us know it well. So many of you were with me for the ride.

A year later and with so much health in my body, I have had the opportunity this past weekend to remember and reflect upon this life crisis initiatory journey. I spent much of the past few days writing, digesting, dancing, giving thanks, trying to wrap my head around it all, feeling the full on transformation, crying too. Sweet tender tears of release. That cancer stuff is really wicked.
These times are a bit like cancer, out of control. We are all being asked to help eradicate and transform the toxins that infiltrate our bodies, our homes, our communities, our nation, our world.
So with my full gratitude, I am also feeling a certain kind of urgency.

First, I want to thank you for your prayers, your cheering me on, your interest, your words of praise, your tending, your steadfast love. No words could cover the endless ways I have been gifted by you all. I will best say thank you today by sharing just a few glimpses of what I learned on the journey. I would like to simply articulate some treasures that I have excavated during this wild ride. Perhaps these tidbits will serve you or someone you love. All obvious, yet worthy of remembering. May they serve our collective facing of the beasts in these unwieldy times.

#1: Cancer is a disease that is infiltrating the bodies of more and more people and animals around the globe. It is ruthless, deceptive, invasive, and cruel. Don’t be afraid of it. Be vigilant to keep it at bay. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Skip the sugar. Rest when you need to. Move your body. Skip the stress too. It sucks life force. And if you feel off, ask for help. See your doctor if you are so privileged to have access to one. Waste no time. Time lets weird stuff grow more complicated to treat. Getting help when you first notice a lump or an ache or extra fatigue can help make your healing more rapid and possible. Skip procrastination.

#2: We as humans are more powerful than we think. In fact, when we stop thinking and focus our loving attention into the very heart of what matters, our relationships, the natural world, our vulnerabilities and glory, we can begin to wrestle with the beast. The beast of our own fears, our ego, the disease.

#3: One way to prepare for this potential visitor is to focus, to practice with all of our might. Focus the mind. Give it jobs day in and day out. Track Sensation. Visualize golden light spiraling into your body or centers of conflict. Practice. Pray. Move. Track your inner realities. Shake. Keep finding your inner ground. And commit to staying awake. Now. And then the next moment and the next.

#4: Death is not scary, just a drag, especially if you are busy. Get busy. The work of protecting life needs us all on deck. Do something. Anything that gets you out of yourself and into your Self.

#5: Love is so powerful. Ask for help. Cultivate and share love, in abundance. Gather with those you love and love them more than you can imagine. Let them love you. Say thank you over and over. And, mean it.

#6: Set boundaries. This is your life. You must be in the truth of what is happening. Feel that aloneness. Feel the glory of staying on path.

#7: Trust the body, even in the face of disease.

Cultivate your relationship with your sober body every day. You may need that connection down the road. I sure did. And thank goodness that I had myself. Intimate communion was familiar to me. The doctors knew protocol. I knew my body and how that protocol was working for me, or not. I spoke up, a lot.

#8: So please, use your voice to advocate for what you or another needs. No one will ever know if you do not say what is so.

#9: Listen too … to the many messages, the ones from within, the ones from those whom you trust, and the ones whispering their way in from the phenomenal world. For example, I was not a chemo fan. I had always gone the natural way. Not this time, however. The loudest message from within and without was to go the allopathic way. Of course including loads of amazing supplements and acupuncture. Chemo actually became my friend. It rotor-rooted me right up. I feel grand!

#10: Create ceremony. Make art. Turn it all into a sacred dance. For, it is.

Don’t miss the GRACE. Feel the love streaming in, the powerful medicines in nature, in a smile, in a song, in your soul’s longing for life.

#11: Tracking the deep and difficult terrain of one’s body in transition teaches us of stillness. Go there.
And move more than you think you can. Every day. Move. MOVE. MOVE.

Then rest.

#12: Above all, behold the beauty of this world while you can. Each ice-flake is magic. The budding crocuses. The children’s laughter. The smell of soup cooking. The warm bath. The whirl of your colorful skirt. Whatever it is that turns you on, go there. Enjoy like there is no tomorrow. There actually may not be one.
Glad we are here together today!

I love you.
Melissa

This film short was taken during the end of our Movement Mass yesterday. Dancing for healing, for celebration, for the honoring of all that is real and moving through us as a community, season by season, year after year. Resilience in action!

As the wheel turns

As the wheel turns

Last night, I was home alone for the first time in a long while. I just had to dance. Whew. What a year. On every level, I and we have all been so tested.

I found myself dancing the last year into completion, being with some of the intense realities I had just navigated my way through. Five words kept coming into my consciousness. I realize they were summing up my past year, aiming to describe my journey through the labyrinth of cancer, decent, healing, and return.
Surrender. Faith. Ferocity. Alchemy. Resurrection.

So I danced them again and again and again. Here is a video of one cycle. By the end of the evening, I felt ready, ready to turn the wheel into a new year. I felt grounded in what has been, honoring the rigorous transformation that had been asked of me. I also came to see that I am still learning to recognize myself. The new self is still emerging. No rush.

Humanity is in a similar dance. Disease. Decent. Transformation. Healing. Return. We do not know what the world will look like as we find our way through. Let’s learn together how to stay surrendered, fierce, faithful, and consciously embracing the greatest experiment of our lives. How to transform the insanity of these times? Alchemy will be needed.

Below are some of the my writings about this time in case you did not see them in my recent newsletter.
But for now, why not turn on the music and join me in letting this past year be even more digested as it comes to a close. What are your words, images, feelings, sensations that arise as you contemplate your journey through 2017? Keep is simple. In essence, what unfolded through you and as you? Make a dance, a poem, a collage, or song. With a little discipline, the powerful medicine of this past year can be integrated and used to catapult each of us into even more potency and love for the year to come.
Gift yourself with some time for yourself. Know your myth. Honor the territory of your journey. Make art out of it all.

And, if you want to keep on dancing, we will be dancing our intentions tomorrow morning at Movement Mass. Of course, you are welcome. Friends from afar, you know how to do it. Create a half an hour, more or less, for yourself. Ask for guidance, kiss the earth, and dance. Dance. Dance. Dance. The answers will come about where you have been and where you are going.

I can’t wait to hear about your next moves and to be with you all as we learn even more about how to grace fully move together.

In community. In respect. In love.
Let’s create a year dedicated to true liberation.
Always.
❤️
Melissa

P.S. LOL. Did I mention that my CAT scan this week came out 1000000% clear! Bam! Into the new year with cancer in my rear view window.

Groovy. Grateful. And some Good news!

Groovy. Grateful. And some Good news!

In respect to the environmental imbalances that show up as floods and cancer and infertility, for a few ….

Today at Movement Mass, we focused our attention on our love and gratitude for the natural world. We moved with all sentient beings, those so often forgotten when there is yet another climate induced human crisis, or more like human induced climate crisis. We honored that beneath the impacts of global climate change on people is the environment in all of its profound glory. The animals. The land. The plants. The water ways. The winged ones, crawling ones, swimming ones. In our dances, we respectfully rededicated ourselves to the ongoing work of simplifying our lives, of consuming less to have more, more time to commune with the natural world, more time to create sustainable ways of living our lives, more disciplined focus on detoxifying rather than buying into more toxins, more time to creatively be together.

And, we celebrated the power of prayer and community in restoring balance to living systems. Mine in particular!

For this past week, I learned that not only are my cancer markers (CA-125 blood tests) not detectible, but that my post chemo CAT scan shows that there is no sign of any kind of cancer in my body. Nothing. Nada. 100% clear bill of health. True dat!

Very few words describe what my experience has been like since this news. Now that I have sufficiently unwound the overwhelming impact of the toxic chemicals given during the CAT scan, on top of all the chemo, I find myself very quiet. I know that I am beyond blessed. My heart continues to break open through this initiation and the gifts it has given me. Many tears of relief have been shed. An out breath. Some disbelief. And, yes … a new and upshifted call to action is stirring within.

But that is for later. Way later.

For now, the third stage of this initiatory process is calling for my full attention. Incorporation.

Arnold van Ganepp speaks of the 3 stages of a rite of passage. You know them.

Severance. This was swift during the outset of this journey. A diagnoses on a Friday. Radical surgery on the following Tuesday, the Spring Equinox. I had to let go of everything in between. Let go of work, children, home, husband, community. All attention on the dance of survival pre and post surgery. I prayed for a vision during surgery. Respect death’s presence, yet fully focus on life during this narrow passageway.

The threshold. The second stage. Surgery was one part of that. That liminal space between the worlds where the old is gone forever and the new is often not even in site. I have had months in the process of living between, between an old life and the new, not knowing if the new would be in heaven or on earth. Surgery and chemo uprooted me and twirled me through a rigorous labyrinth of pain, prayer, and power. I was not here nor there. I was not living a life I recognized, nor was I dead. The disease was mysteriously doing it’s thing, and we did not know what that thing was. The chemo was also busy doing it’s thing. Again we did not know what that thing was beyond the physical and emotional side effects. So I chose to anchor myself in the Spirit and in all things familiar … family, food, ritual, community, creativity, the dance. I chose to act as if, to let myself be wrapped in the love of the Divine while being normal, hanging out with a whole lot of life. It worked!

So here I am, gratefully feeling a full return to earth. The night sky is full of stars, even shooting ones. The sun’s rays at the end of the day are so brilliantly full of light. The golden flowers are abundant on the roadside. Water feels so sweetly cool on my naked head when I dive into the lake. I am dreaming and scheming about a future, renting movement spaces for next summer, taking jobs for the Spring, planning how the next year will be focused.

However above all, my priority is this third stage of the rite of passage process, incorporation, the slow and steady return, the organic integration of the initiatory process. This cannot be rushed nor skipped. Digestion allows for the deepest teachings to be actualized. I have writing to complete. Chemo to clear. A visual art project to return to. Gratitude to fully express. Closets to finally clean out. Family to support as they also move out of a survival mind set and into a more balanced way of being in life.

And … I’ll be very honest with you, ovarian (fallopian tube) cancer has a high rate of recurrence. As much as I would love to simply move on and never think about cancer again, I choose to be real with myself about this. I will be moving forward with the same faith and fierceness that I met this disease with over the past half year. I will not be obsessing about my every little ache and pain, but I sure will be living into a potent cancer prevention lifestyle. For now that involves a great deal of detoxification and regeneration. Chemo is a heavy drug. It has taken a toll on my hearing, my memory, my nerve endings, my digestion, my liver, and my eye sight. Likely, it has also impacted less overt functions of this blessed body. I am beyond grateful for chemo’s heroic ways of working with cancer. And, I respect it’s side effects and their potential long term impacts if not mitigated rigorously now that I am complete with the chemo. I also respect chemo’s limitations. There are specific holistic things I can do to radically reset my whole being. More on this as I learn. This call to be on the no-recurrence track is an invitation to even more fully attune to my body and my soul. The stakes are high. However, I will not live in fear around this. Like all of us essentially, I will be attuning moment by moment to what I need to be doing to fulfill my soul’s code here on earth.

So dear friends, I continue to ask for your support.

Join me in prayer for all the people, the vulnerable bodies, the Earth herself, for all of life. The toxins are too much. Let’s pray for a restoration of balance, for the release of toxins, for a movement towards simple ways of being that honor the fragility and majesty of life itself. Your prayers have been very powerful in my healing. I am eternally grateful. Shall we continue on? Together. For me. For you. For all the precious lives struggling around the world.

I also ask for your understanding that I will not be going back to business as usual. This work of incorporation is likely a many month process.

So please, continue to send your emails to the Golden Bridge office. I will see them. I cannot spend my days on computers any more. One of us will respond as soon as possible. We have shared so much intimacy over the years. Use your tools. Reach out to others in the community. Our golden bridge is strong.

And please keep your agreements with yourselves. So many powerful intentions have been set leaving our camps. Honor them. Go for them. Let nothing stop you.

We are woven forever. I look forward to resuming many conversations in the right time and likely in new ways. I ask for your patience. And above all, I bow in eternal gratitude for your love. You have cared well for me. Let’s keep that way of loving alive.

In fact …

Just south east of these Rocky Mountains, hundreds of thousands of people are seeking safe, sanitary, and dry shelter. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, they are seeking family, funding, something to call home, their next meal. What if we, those of us in Boulder who deeply understand the devastating impact of floods and who currently stand on solid ground, each help out one family. Family to family. Compassion. Action. Giving Care. Here is my favorite link to do that. http://www.upworthy.com/26-ways-to-help-the-hurricane-harvey-disaster-relief-efforts

This may not be your focus at this time. The world is vibrating with life force and longing. Whatever moves you, dance with it. The natural world, your wild nature, and the peoples seeking support.

We got this.

Groovy. Grateful. And Alive!
Melissa

Free Gift!

One wave from our double CD IGNITE: Music to accompany the journey through the SomaSource rite of passage process and your dances.

Embodying Life’s Rhythms is music to move get your body moving! This is a 13 minute full wave through all 5Rhythms® orchestrated by the Golden Bridge Rhythm Keepers. Sacred instruments woven into a layered tapestry of inspired sound. A daily warm up. A ceremonial doorway. A chance to simply dance!

Thank you for joining the dance!