Ovarian Cancer in remission: Any advice on staying healthy?

Posted by starko @starko, Fri, Apr 26 2:23pm

I have ovarian cancer, stage 3C but seem to be in remission, at least for now. My oncologists at Mayo, AZ are totally amazing, bringing me from death’s doorstep to where I am now. I try to do all the recommended therapies, meditation, no sugar or carbs, Mediterranean diet, daily exercise. Are there any ovarian cancer survivors who might advise me on what else I should be doing?

Hello @starko — I am very happy you are in remission! I know how difficult Ovarian Cancer is. Mine is not a "personal" experience; I have a very good friend who was diagnosed with 3C ovarian cancer 3 years ago. She has been in remission for a while now and I hope she will continue on this road! Everything I know has to do with her experience; but I would be happy to share with you what I learned through her. Let me know if that is OK. Stay strong!
–Dee

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@danielad

Hello @starko — I am very happy you are in remission! I know how difficult Ovarian Cancer is. Mine is not a "personal" experience; I have a very good friend who was diagnosed with 3C ovarian cancer 3 years ago. She has been in remission for a while now and I hope she will continue on this road! Everything I know has to do with her experience; but I would be happy to share with you what I learned through her. Let me know if that is OK. Stay strong!
–Dee

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Many thanks! I am very appreciative of any advice.

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Did NOT mean for the photo to be this large! My apologies!

Liked by Dee

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I am happy to help in any way I can @starko. So let me first tell you a few things about Dina, my dearest friend who has Ovarian Cancer. She is now 74, will be 75 in Sep. She was diagnosed initially in Nov 2014, following a CT scan. But it was following a very extensive surgery, in Dec 2014, when all cytology reports were completed, that we all realized the gravity of her situation. As you, she had stage 3C Ovarian Cancer. She had a complete hysterectomy and had to have a large portion of her colon and intestines removed because the cancer had metastasized to the colon and intestines. In fact she had to have an Ileostomy. Even though she almost died during the very long surgery, she made it through and was able to begin the hard road to the current remission. She is now a 4 year and 4 months survivor.
Dina has been a true inspiration to family, friends, and other patients. Doctors are amazed by the fact that, in spite of the seriousness of her situation, she is in remission. This is why I thought I should share her experience with you my dear. So below, is what I call Dina's Strengths.

1. Her first and foremost strength is her Faith in God. She derives a lot of strength from her Faith.
2. Her second strength is her tremendous Desire to Live. She has two (grown) kids and 4 grandchildren — She REFUSES to die.
3. Her third strength is the Love and Support of family and friends. She is surrounded by a circle of love and prayers.
4. Her fourth strength is her refusal to become a "victim". I never heard her say expressions such as "why me?". And she refuses any help. She does everything by herself, including cleaning her "stoma". In fact, she wanted, and had the Ileostomy reversed successfully!
5. Her fifth strength — Meals:
a. She eats small but frequent meals.
b. Everything she eats is organic.
c. Foods are low fat, low sugar and very nutritious.
d. She avoids everything the doctors (or her own experience) tell her to avoid.
e. She eats good protein (rarely meat) and lots of vitamins and minerals-rich foods.
f. Each meal (and snack) is always eaten at a regular time.
6. Her sixth strength is the seriousness she takes in her own medical care. Dina sees her doctors regularly; does all her labs and scans as required; did all the chemo as scheduled (currently is NOT doing chemo because she is in remission); and informs the doctors as soon as something may be going on.
7. Her seventh strength is continuing activities around the house; yard; and for others.
8. Her eighth strength is continuing an exercise program that includes long walks.
9. Her ninth strength is to keep love and optimism in her heart.

Dear @starko, I have tried to "draw a picture" of what Dina is and does. All of these strengths have managed to keep her alive well beyond what doctors expected. I can't tell you how long this will last; I hope it is forever! And I wish you the same! Let me know how I can help you!
A big hug! Stay strong!!
–Dee

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In reply to @starko "Photo" + (show)
@starko

No problem @starko! This is a great photo! You are young and beautiful! I see your great love for life in this photo. Stay strong and be optimistic! Have Faith in God, Yourself, and Life.
–Dee

Liked by rochellewisner

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@danielad

I am happy to help in any way I can @starko. So let me first tell you a few things about Dina, my dearest friend who has Ovarian Cancer. She is now 74, will be 75 in Sep. She was diagnosed initially in Nov 2014, following a CT scan. But it was following a very extensive surgery, in Dec 2014, when all cytology reports were completed, that we all realized the gravity of her situation. As you, she had stage 3C Ovarian Cancer. She had a complete hysterectomy and had to have a large portion of her colon and intestines removed because the cancer had metastasized to the colon and intestines. In fact she had to have an Ileostomy. Even though she almost died during the very long surgery, she made it through and was able to begin the hard road to the current remission. She is now a 4 year and 4 months survivor.
Dina has been a true inspiration to family, friends, and other patients. Doctors are amazed by the fact that, in spite of the seriousness of her situation, she is in remission. This is why I thought I should share her experience with you my dear. So below, is what I call Dina's Strengths.

1. Her first and foremost strength is her Faith in God. She derives a lot of strength from her Faith.
2. Her second strength is her tremendous Desire to Live. She has two (grown) kids and 4 grandchildren — She REFUSES to die.
3. Her third strength is the Love and Support of family and friends. She is surrounded by a circle of love and prayers.
4. Her fourth strength is her refusal to become a "victim". I never heard her say expressions such as "why me?". And she refuses any help. She does everything by herself, including cleaning her "stoma". In fact, she wanted, and had the Ileostomy reversed successfully!
5. Her fifth strength — Meals:
a. She eats small but frequent meals.
b. Everything she eats is organic.
c. Foods are low fat, low sugar and very nutritious.
d. She avoids everything the doctors (or her own experience) tell her to avoid.
e. She eats good protein (rarely meat) and lots of vitamins and minerals-rich foods.
f. Each meal (and snack) is always eaten at a regular time.
6. Her sixth strength is the seriousness she takes in her own medical care. Dina sees her doctors regularly; does all her labs and scans as required; did all the chemo as scheduled (currently is NOT doing chemo because she is in remission); and informs the doctors as soon as something may be going on.
7. Her seventh strength is continuing activities around the house; yard; and for others.
8. Her eighth strength is continuing an exercise program that includes long walks.
9. Her ninth strength is to keep love and optimism in her heart.

Dear @starko, I have tried to "draw a picture" of what Dina is and does. All of these strengths have managed to keep her alive well beyond what doctors expected. I can't tell you how long this will last; I hope it is forever! And I wish you the same! Let me know how I can help you!
A big hug! Stay strong!!
–Dee

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@danielad
The story of your friend's dedication to a positive, healthy lifestyle is inspirational. I'm glad you shared it with @starko and the rest of us.

Liked by Dee

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@hopeful33250

@danielad
The story of your friend's dedication to a positive, healthy lifestyle is inspirational. I'm glad you shared it with @starko and the rest of us.

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@hopeful33250 — Thank you Teresa. –Dee

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@danielad

@hopeful33250 — Thank you Teresa. –Dee

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You are kind and most gracious to share Dina’s experiences. I shall read it periodically to keep inspired. Mahalo! (I live in Hawaii)

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@starko

You are kind and most gracious to share Dina’s experiences. I shall read it periodically to keep inspired. Mahalo! (I live in Hawaii)

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@starko — I believe we should help one another when we can; so let me know if I can support you in any way.
Keep the faith and be strong my dear. Mahalo!
–Dee

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@starko, that's a beautiful photo. You can upload it to your profile if you like. Here's how to update your profile with an image and short bio, etc.
– How to Update Your Profile https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/about-connect/newsfeed-post/how-to-update-your-profile/

I added this discussion about healthy living tips and enjoying life in remission to the the Gynecologic Cancers group: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/gynecologic-cancer/

I'd also like to invite @pauldale4 @rochellewisner @chowmama2 @susu2 @leannn @odette and other members of the group to join this discussion. What life-style changes or additions have you made: diet, exercise, sleep habits, others?

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It sounds as though you are doing everything just right. I, too, exercise, meditate, do yoga, and eat a Mediterranean diet. You also are undoubtedly receiving excellent medical care at the Mayo Clinic. For me, understanding the latest research on the etiology of my specific disease (rare) is useful in that I hope some day to help other women who face this experience. I still struggle with anxiety which often seems to be my biggest obstacle at this time.
If I understand correctly, you live in Hawaii? How wonderful. I have some family there. It is truly a paradise. Nature has been very healing for me in my recovery. And of course, family and friends provide never ending support and love. Feel free to write any time.

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I love what was shared @starko by @danielad and @odette. That's a very comprehensive list I agree with that will help you be resilient and healthy in your journey! I'll add a focus on faith, spirit, and attitude which are a big part of what holds me together. First, let me tell you just a little about me. I'm 51 years old, recently retired elementary school counselor with Stage 4 ovarian cancer. I was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2002. Side note: Previously I had a stroke in 1986 which paralyzed my entire right side as a freshman in college. I had to learn to walk, talk, and speak all over again. The stroke was due to a heart defect and since then I've had 4 heart surgeries as well. So in 2014, after 12 years in remission, my cancer recurred and in 2015 it moved to stage 4. I share all this only to help show that I've experienced a bit, 😉 and that's why I'll add to faith, spirit, and attitude. I love having a way to contribute – give back and help others and finding joyful purpose each day. I think each of us has to find what that is that fits our gifts and opportunities, but I think it makes a big difference when I can take my mind and actions and engage them in good for others! For me, that's a prayer for others, that's getting my certification from Pet Partners so my dog Marshall and I can provide animal team therapy with 4 children at my previous elementary school, and visiting and providing support for a teacher who recently had a stroke that paralyzed her right side. I draw strength from the good book (bible) ;), good friends and family I try to visit often. I really appreciate Dr. Amit Sood's book from Mayo Clinic – Stress-Free Living and am currently reading his Handbook for Happiness – there are quite a bit of biblical principles in both of these great reads. I try to make my moments count and try not to get "stuck" in the negative or worry – I remind myself it's just wasted time when I have so much more I could do with it. I try to find challenges, set fun goals, and find joy in the simple things like a hummingbird visiting my garden to grand adventures like planning a trip to Montreal, Vermont, and New Hampshire to see the foliage. There are tough days or moments in which we're entitled to feel and give a place for the hurt, but then we step back up and live life with our joy and purpose. If that's hard, remember you're not alone or considered weak to ask for help. 🙂 I sometimes have to remind myself of that. Best wishes as you step one foot in front of the other living your best life!

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@danielad

No problem @starko! This is a great photo! You are young and beautiful! I see your great love for life in this photo. Stay strong and be optimistic! Have Faith in God, Yourself, and Life.
–Dee

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Thank you, I have a strong belief in God, it’s all in his hands.

Liked by Dee, leannn

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@rochellewisner

Thank you, I have a strong belief in God, it’s all in his hands.

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I haven't heard from you in awhile. I hope that all is going well for you. Are you in Arizona or Washington now? I have retired, but my husband is still working. We talk about spending part of the year in the southwest and summers with our families in the north. Half the fun is the anticipation of a new stage of life. It is sunny today in New England, but rainy the rest of the week. We are eager to be in the garden which is in bloom. Nature is so comforting.

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