The storms of life can occur in many forms: an unexpected death, a life-threatening diagnosis, or a natural disaster. When any of these events occur, we are often like a ship in a storm with our sails and rudder unused.
We struggle with such questions as:
How will I get through this?
Can anyone help me?
Where is God?
Our son-in-law died unexpectedly at the young age of 59. Though he was the specimen of perfect health, he was unaware his heart was dangerously in need of surgery.
The storm of cancer has been in my life for 14 years, ebbing and flowing with intensity. My lessons are the same: taking good care of my body and living in the moment with love.
These events and the devastating hurricane Ian did prompt me to look at my life. How have I reached out to others? Have I been judgmental? Have I been prejudicial? Have I lived in the moment with love?
Gratitude…shows us that real joy can come in the midst of the hardest time.
Family & friends…storms bring. people closer together
Change behaviors…be more patient, understanding, humble, loving, etc.
Storms show us who we are and about those around us.
New strengths can be developed
Storms remind us of what is truly important.
As we face various storms, we may well need to adjust the sails and steady the rudder. We can be better, stronger, and more loving.
On my walk yesterday morning, I watched the mother Wood duck lead her newborn chicks across the water. The beautiful male was nearby. Watching them inspired me to jot down a few interesting bits of information.
IN THE HUMAN,DID YOU KNOW?
There are about 100-200 million sperm in each ejaculation
At birth, there are about 1-2 million eggs.
At puberty, there are about 300,000 eggs
Fertilization normally occurs in the fallopian tubes
Eggs travel from the ovary through the fallopian tubes to the uterus.
Fallopian tubes are about 12 cm long and as wide as a threading needle.
The male sperm is the smallest human cell; the female egg is the largest human cell.
Carl Linnaeus in 1771 used the scientific symbols of Mars and Venue to denote the male and female reproductive systems.
In January 1968, Hervy E. Averette, MD, and John J. Mikuta, MD, identified a need for the creation of a medical society focused solely on gynecologic oncology.
As of 2019, there were 1,157 gyn. oncologists in the U.S.
There are 113,000 new cases in 2021.
Rural areas have limited access to these specialists.
Education: 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 4 years of residency, and then 3 years of gynecology oncology.
The daffodil symbolizes a new birth. Always have a bouquet of yellow daffodils…one flower means misfortune. Yellow symbolizes joy.
Information gives us power, appreciation, and understanding. The human body’s beauty, capabilities, complexity, and simplicity are fascinating. Each of us has a responsibility to take care of, nurture, and cherish our bodies. As Maya Angelou stated:
Those with a personal history or family history suggestive of a hereditary cancer syndrome.
Had a previous genetic test 3-5+ years ago, but you may want to consider additional testing.
Multiple family members with the same type of or related cancers.
Ashkenazi Jewish history.
Benefits of genetic counseling:
Genetic screening can help calculate the likelihood of a fetus being born with a certain disorder.
Provides peace of mind or information for better understanding and decision-making.
Appropriate testing will be given.
Decision making will be made based on scientific information.
Heredity risk for uterine cancer is about 5 percent. Surgery is the primary treatment for endometrial (uterine) cancer.
Genetic testing may be appropriate for ovarian cancer:
You’ve had or been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
You’ve had at least two types of other cancers.
You’re related to someone with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.
You have Lynch syndrome. Women with this inherited condition have a 9% to 12% chance of getting ovarian cancer in their lifetime.
You have at least one relative who’s had cancer and meets the criteria for this type of genetic testing.
You had a negative genetic test more than 3 years ago. Testing technology is always improving.
Two main genetic factors increase the risk of cervical cancer:
Peutz-Jegher syndrome (PJS): People with PJS have a higher risk for a rare type of cervical cancer and ovarian tumors. PJS is caused by a genetic change in the STK11 People with PJS have a higher risk for breast, colon, pancreatic, and lung cancers than they do for cervical or ovarian cancer. Most people with PJS have a personal or family history of these other types of cancers.
Ovarian/fallopian tube/primary peritoneal cancer: This is the most common type of ovarian cancer is called epithelial. 20 in 100 epithelial ovarian cancers are hereditary. People with a change in genes like BRCA1 or BRCA2 have an increased risk for these cancers. Genetic testing is recommended for people with these diagnoses.
Genetic test results aren’t always clear-cut. If your test result is negative, you might not be scanned for the mutation. But you could still have another type of genetic change that hasn’t been linked to ovarian cancer yet. A “variant of uncertain significance” result means the lab found a mutation that may or may not be linked to ovarian cancer.
A negative test doesn’t have to be the end of your genetic testing. As with an uncertain result, check with your doctor or genetic counselor to see if there are other options.
Find a Genetics Specialist
There are various ways to access genetic counseling services, including in person, by phone, and by video conference.
I originally wrote this blog in late August with the intention of posting it on September 1st. However, health issues changed my energy, concentration, and ability to do my usual activities. I believe I am now truly back.
The month of September symbolizes a time to make changes by improving oneself, finding forgiveness, and doing what is best for the soul. As I reflected on what the month symbolizes, I prayed about the things I needed to change that are obstacles to my growth and well-being.
The colors of autumn are vibrant and up lifting. Red symbolizes passion and desire, orange represents positivity, and yellow means happiness. The season of autumn also represents the impermanence of life. Therefore, it is important and healthy to embrace the present. There will always be changes which challenge us to live life to its fullest every day, every moment.
Thank you for being my fellow traveler in this journey of life. Your support and kind words are uplifting, inspiring, and informative.