So I did this little thing last night…okay, maybe it wasn’t so little. And maybe I got to wear another fancy dress – that’s twice in 2 months!
Over the summer, my neighbor and friend, Susan, asked me if I’d be interested in speaking at St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness’s Spring event, Living Out Loud. Without hesitation, I said told her absolutely! And then it hit me, what in the world would I talk about…what did I have to say that someone else before me didn’t already cover, what could I say that would make a difference? The summer and fall would pass, then the holidays, then the start of 2018 and I knew I wanted to get this whole thing mapped out in my head and spent some time thinking back things I’d been through, things people had said, things that might make a difference, and it was then that it hit me…I knew what I wanted to say, that might hopefully stick with the audience and maybe light a fire under them…
I took the stage last night (click here), and used the microphone to not only briefly share my story and hit on the key things that are ovarian cancer, which most people do not know, but to hopefully inspire one person in the room to make the changes necessary to be in the best possible shape they can be. Reminding them that although I don’t look like the typical person 10 months post-chemo, I am still effected by all of it and I push myself harder because of it. That we should try to all be in the best possible shape we can be in, in order to keep from having to walk over the threshold into an oncologist’s office, to minimize recurrences and elevate stress – this includes choosing wisely when fueling our bodies and getting the necessary amount of fitness activities each week.
Many people have told me how proud they are of me for stepping up to the mic, and several of you have even thanked me. To all of them, I don’t do this for the thanks or for you to be proud of me, I do it for the women who have come before me and lost their battles, I do it for my friends whose battles with ovarian cancer are unrelenting, and for those who have yet to be diagnosed. We have a voice for a reason, we should never be afraid to use it, no matter the circumstances. Is it difficult? Sometimes, because I actually have to think about everything that I’ve been through, still go through, and what is ahead of me. Depends on the day.
The most difficult part is that because the outcome for those diagnosed with ovarian cancer is pretty grave, many people sitting in the room have lost a family member or friend to this deadly disease. I think hardest one last night was a mother who came up to me and thanked me for speaking, because her daughter, who I’m guessing was younger than I am, had lost her battle with ovarian cancer – that is when the reality of what could have been/or could be, hits home. (if you’re the mother who came up to me last night, I plan on reaching out to you – we’re now friends on FB, so be on the lookout for my name popping up in your inbox)
The event was a success though – so many good things came from the night! While we celebrated those who are doing great things, we also honored those that we have lost, and are all striving to give women diagnosed in the future a fighting chance.
If you’re in the STL area and watch a morning show while getting ready in the morning – make sure the one you pick on Tuesday (if not everyday!), is KSDK, Rene Knott, myself and Dr. Andrea Hagemann did a piece together! It will be featured sometime in the 6am hour. Thank you Rene for all that you’ve done over the last week, we couldn’t do a lot of this without your help as well!