Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas


I hope you were able to spend the holidays with your loved ones in joy and happiness.  Fortunately, by afternoon on Christmas, I was able to get out of bed and enjoy time with my family.  I am so appreciative of my family’s support and flexibility around these holidays.  It’s been rough on everyone and the stress and emotional toll has been felt by all.  It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to give you an update and wanted to get one out soon, despite this being short and to the point.  

Unfortunately, things have been a challenge.  The pain continues to be quite intense.  I find relief by seeing my Acupuncturist and sitting in our hot tub, along with using several pain medications.  Most of the time you can find me surrounded by an assortment of hot packs also.  My bowels are still very sensitive and I am eating little.  Ironically, I have found organic cottage cheese to be a friend.  The nausea/vomiting has been sporadic so it’s been very difficult to keep up with my fluid intake.  Plus you have to be awake to consume liquids and I spend the majority of my days sleeping.  My kidney function is now showing some signs of the effects from the dehydration.   

I’ve had two rounds of chemo, both with a medication called Gemzar (Gemcitabine).  This is one of the chemo medications I had during my second treatment of chemo last spring.  At that time it was very effective, in combination with another medication, to clear the cancer quickly.  Of course, the cancer unfortunately also returned quickly.  With my most recent blood work this week, the Gemzar has been deemed ineffective this time.  After two rounds, the cancer tumor marker has continued to increase another 100 or so points.  I’m scheduled to have chemo again tomorrow with the plan to change to another agent called Topotecan.  The goal will be to have weekly treatments of the Topotecan.  I’m anxious to feel relief of all the pain soon, but still feel uneasy about “needing” chemo.  

I muster up enough energy at least once a day to work on “me” in the mind/spirit realms of treatment. I love using Byron Katie’s The Work to challenge all of my beliefs.  For example…it would have been natural for me to develop fear and feel hopeless with the chemo not having the “hoped for effects” so far.  BUT, in using her work I am reminded that just because one method did not work, does NOT mean that I’m following the path of most women with ovarian cancer where all available chemo agents are exhausted without suppressing the growth of the cancer.  I cannot know, beyond a doubt, what will happen to me.  Regardless of what has happened to many others, regardless of how many treatments are needed or not.  I am reminded to stay present in the NOW.  To stay aware and in gratitude of what my reality is in this moment and just how many things are working effectively.  I’m not saying this easy, but it’s been the best thing for me to keep from feeling completely hopeless.  

I thank all of you for your continued support and thoughts of well being for me.  
In love and gratitude,

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


If you’ve been waiting for my update, based on my last blog entry, I thank you for your patience.  I’ve been trying to complete this entry for sometime now and just can’t seem to do it.  Hopefully today is the day.  I’ve done a lot of processing over the past few weeks and spent 15 beautiful days on a healing vacation in November that I’m so grateful to have experienced.  I’m now ready to share. 

On November 5th, I travelled down to Akumal, Mexico in the Riviera Maya, about 60 miles south of Cancun.  The organization, Healing Journeys out of Sacramento ( was holding a healing retreat at Tao Inspired Living Wellness Center.  If any of this sounds familiar it is because I went on a similar retreat last year with Healing Journeys to Tao and Tao is ran by Jonathan Ellerby (the organizer for the trip I took to Africa).  Fortunately, I had the courage to ask Jonathan if I could have an opportunity to speak to the group.  As many of you know, speaking is a new passion for me and one I choose to continue to pursue as a career.  On a funny note, it also meant that on my speaker’s resume, I could now list an international venue.  Yes, I am now, technically, an international speaker.  Jonathan asked that I speak about my journey and tools that I’ve learned along the way.  I spoke on subjects of joy, self-love, living life fulling, and techniques to use to change limiting beliefs.  I felt great about the presentation, and received wonderful feedback, as well.  Besides the wonderful sessions of the retreat facilitated by Jonathan, I was also able to swim with the sea turtles, see the ruins in Tulum, visit the beach, play in the ocean, and enjoy the company of a wonderful group of people.  

From Cancun, I flew to Washington DC to visit my friend of 37 years, Sonja.  She has 8 month old twin girls, who happened to have their first tooth break through while I was visiting.  Despite the fussiness you would expect with teething twins, the girls were, overall, very happy.  Sonja and I had many opportunities to sit and chat as she dealt with the many needs of the girls ALL day long.  Over the past three years, I’ve dealt with grief over losing my own fertility with the cancer.  At this moment, I realized what a challenge it would have been to focus all my energy on my healing if there had been a small child in my life.  I felt very grateful that I never had to deal with feeling torn between caring for myself and feeling like I couldn’t give my complete care to a child.  A definite highlight of my trip to the DC area was Sonja taking me to this place called Spa World.  It is now one of my favorite places in the whole world.  In addition to the healing Bade Pool with ionized jetted water, there are 7 different poultice rooms that provide healing and detoxing through natural material and stones.  It was wonderful!

From DC, I flew to Boston for the Infinite Possibilities workshop with Mike Dooley.  Are any of you familiar with messages from the universe through  The message is your thoughts become things and by directing your thoughts you can help life take the direction you intend and desire.  I am now a certified trainer in Infinite Possibilites and can facilitate workshops if anyone is interested in putting together a group of people who would like to change how they think and how to help to make their dreams come true.  

I hopped on a short flight from Boston down to New York City to visit another friend of 37 years, Adam.  The hospitality Adam offered was beyond what I could have ever imagined.  He had truly gone the extra mile.  We were able to enjoy the 9/11 Memorial, the Cloisters, the High Line, Wicked, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and lots of time just catching up with each other.  

As healing as the whole trip was, unfortunately, it was trumped by increasing pain.  I had a little bit of pain on/off prior to leaving, but 5 days into the trip the pain began and never let up.  It was unbelievable to me how intense in such a short amount of time the pain took over.  I felt desperate for relief and to know what was going on in my body.  I emailed by oncologist and asked to have a PET scan set up for when I returned.  I gave myself permission to change my travel plans at any moment and go home if I felt the pain was too much and I was no longer having fun.  Through that permission I was able to take it day by day, at times moment by moment and truly enjoy each opportunity I was able to experience without taking anything for granted.  

The lab work upon return jumped much higher from 53 to 221.  And, as expected, the PET showed cancer growths throughout my abdomen once again.  Considering the huge amount of pain, I started chemo immediately on Nov 29th.  The past few days have been rough.  I will write more as I feel better but I felt pressured to at least let everyone know what was going on.  I appreciate any healing energy you can send my way.  
In love and health,


Dr. Oliver