Joanie

Shawhan

In Her Shoes

Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer

Ovarian Cancer Survivors: The Fried Eggs—Sunny-Side Up

 

 

 

“We should start a social group for ovarian cancer survivors,” the leader of our STS (Survivors Teaching Students) course said. “Not a support group, but a fun group.”

 

We had just presented our ovarian cancer stories to a class of medical students in the STS program.

 

Our first meeting convened in a private room at a restaurant aptly called The Egg and I. We introduced ourselves, sharing snippets of our cancer journeys. Some of us have had recurrence, some are in treatment and some are cancer-free.

 

“I can make a contact list,” one member said. “I can also put together a binder with our photos and bios. With chemobrain it’s hard to remember names.”

 

We settled on meeting the fourth Tuesday of the month, each member taking a turn choosing the restaurant. Due to the nature of our conversations, we request a private room. We welcome new members, catch up, share info about new treatments, activities and fundraisers. Occasionally we plan to meet during the evening or on a Saturday in order to include those not available during the week.

 

 

FUNDRAISERS

 

“Don’t forget to sign up for the Whisper Walk,” our leader reminds us. The Whisper Walk is named for the symptoms of ovarian cancer that whisper. The walk is a fundraiser for cancer research sponsored by WOCA (The Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance).

 

“We still have seating open for Sparkle of Hope.” This special evening celebrates the lives of women touched by gynecological cancers. The event raises funds for ongoing research at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center.

 

 

ACTIVITIES

 

“I’m a docent at the museum. I can arrange a tour.”

 

“We have a place up north with a pontoon boat.”

 

“Our research doctor is offering a tour of his ovarian cancer lab.”

 

“Registration is open for ovarian cancer camp at Camp Mak-A-Dream in Missoula, Montana. It’s free of charge for ovarian cancer survivors. WOCA is offering scholarships to help cover airfare.”

 

 

CATCH UP

 

“My CT scan is negative. The new study drug is working!” one member shared. Her Huskie had sniffed out her cancer and two recurrences before the doctors or scans could discover it.

 

“I just finished chemo!”

 

“I leave for Boston tomorrow,” one woman says. It is one of many trips she makes to Dana Farber every three weeks to participate in a drug trial. Her cancer is stable.

 

We are teal sisters, members of a club we never chose to join, fighting a battle we never wanted to fight. We are ovarian cancer survivors.

 

We are The Fried Eggs—Sunny-Side up.

 

 

 

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