What’s in Store for 2018 – New Things to Look For!

Earlier this week I took to Instagram stories and tried to “talk” about new things to come this year…let me tell ya how that went – I was tired, out of gas and it was a bad word day.  I should have waited, but I’m trying to hold myself accountable when it comes to doing something I say I’m going to do in a timely fashion, not a week later.  And let’s be honest, me trying to do things on the fly isn’t always the easiest, BUT I’m committed to becoming better at that as well.  If you haven’t followed me on Instagram yet, you may want to head that way!

Finally feeling like I have my feet somewhat underneath me I’ve been able to reel in what I want to do with Kick Ovarian Cancer – look for things to be more community oriented.  A place where people can come to not only check in on my story, but learn about others, find resources/education around all that is ovarian cancer, and connect with other women who are experiencing or have experienced what battling ovarian cancer entails, while continuing the fundraising piece for research, education/awareness and care packages.  Here’s what that’s going to look like:

Randalynn’s Blog – you’ll notice today the blog page tab now has a slightly different name.  Why??  In order to give Kick Ovarian Cancer, Inc a bit more of a foundation/not-for-profit feel, removing the focus from solely being on me. This is going to take a bit of time, since I am the “web master” and let’s just say I’m not exactly a “master” when it comes to this whole thing – I’m technology challenged, but I’m trying.

There will be topics to look for monthly – Wellness Wednesdays and Fighter Fridays (again, if you don’t follow me on my social media pages, you may want to do so, we’ll have more fighters and wellness pieces more often than on the blog) will occur one to two times a month, and I’ll be making a personal post one to two times a week – from time to time this will include recipes and products I love, AND my adventures!  IF you’d like to share your story, or contribute a wellness piece (natural products, recipes, book reviews, research articles, mental/physical health), send me a message, I’d love to have help with all of this (kickovariancancer@gmail.com).

Health/wellness component – fitness accountability groups – I feel very strongly about getting up off of your bootie and moving!  So, instead of constantly hearing me saying I PR’ed a ride on my bike or crushed my BeachBody workout or decompressed at yoga, I’m going to offer you the opportunity to join me in one of two ways – online and in person.

Online: yes, online.  Let’s connect, let’s virtually give each other bootie pats and “go get ’em’s” and help each other along the way.  I’ll hold these once a month for three weeks, to help you create a new “habit”.  Everyone is welcome to keep participating as long as they’d like, the more the merrier!  One caveat, I want you to give it your best effort while participating in order to see if you notice a difference in the way you feel.  Any fitness level is welcome! The first one will start on February 5th!

In person: St. Louis area peeps, I’m coming for you, finalizing details this week. My goal is to have a fitness meet up once a week, with a small donation going towards ovarian cancer related initiatives.  These will be things that I’ve found beneficial and incorporated into my weekly routine, things that can help those fighting cancer, those dealing with the after effects and those who merely need something to get them jumpstarted.

No, you do not have to be a cancer survivor to participate…what if we changed our mindset to preventing illnesses and cancer by actually trying to be the best us we can possibly be.  No, I am not perfect by any means and YES, I still eat desserts, pizza, etc, I just choose different options and do everything in moderation.  My life just kinda depends on it now, and if I have to head into dealing with all that is cancer again, I want to be the best me possible.

Online Community Meet – Ups:  Yes, you read that correctly…starting in mid-late February we’ll be hosting our first online meet-up.  Since we all could use a little boost from time to time and a place to come where people understand what you’re saying, a safe place to express what we really want to say without feeling like the person you said it to now feels sorry for you, or pities you, but they ACTUALLY GET IT (ummm, we can tell by the look on your face, the delayed text message response or the tone in your voice). The first one will be limited to only a certain number of ladies, and eventually I hope to have hot topics and presenters as well.

Fundraising component:  The hat sales will continue, but with big pushes only during certain times of the year.  I’m looking to actually add two fundraising events this year – one will be in the spring, the other in the fall.  I’ve got two ideas in the works and want to make sure all of the logistics are in order and I can pull this off – the spring event will be released in February. We’ll be helping other ovarian cancer related foundations out along the way, like we did in September this past year as well.

This spring I’ll be speaking at St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness’s event, and in the fall I’ll be riding in Pedal the Cause with my gyn-oc team (I’m looking for friends to rider with me, I’m NOT disclosing the ride I’m going to do yet, but let’s just say “go big or go home” is the mentality, and I’m going to need a push) – SUPER excited about this, and now that I’ve actually put it on paper I’m probably going to freak out about jinxing myself with regards to staying healthy – yep, this is how this survivor’s mind works.  I find myself worrying that if I commit to something in the future something will happen and I won’t be able to do it – I’m sure this will pass with time.  Regardless, these are two things you’ll be hearing a lot more about in the months to come.

As you can see, most of the changes are simple, creating more structure and definition.  Bringing together the community of women who are cancer survivors, especially those considered “young”, is important to me and something I feel is currently lacking, something I’m hoping I can help fill the gap in, even if it’s just a little.

I’m open to suggestions, help, anything you at all – always feel free to message me at kickovariancancer@gmail.com


Wellness Wednesday – Making the Switch to Natural Deodorant

Yes, we’re talking about the pitties today!  About 2.5 weeks ago I took the plunge, switching from conventional deodorant to natural (notice I didn’t say “organic”, there’s a difference).  Prior to doing so I had a lot of questions and concerns – mainly about how much I’d sweat and stink during the detoxing period.  Good news, it wasn’t bad and the brand I’m using smells AMAZING!!!  Michelle, from Cornucopia Box was kind enough to help me out and not only walked me through what I’d need, but agreed to write a post for me — she covered everything!  Thank you Michelle for always agreeing to partner with me!

Michelle, President and Founder of Cornucopia Box michelle@cornucopiabox.com

You might be curious about natural deodorants and why they are better than conventional brands, but do they actually work? You might have heard about this things called underarm detoxing. So what’s the deal?

First, there are plenty of good reasons to avoid conventional deodorants. Conventional deodorants like the kinds you find on the grocery store shelves typically contain ingredients like aluminum (a neurotoxin), pthalates (endocrine disruptor), parabens (endocrine disruptor and carcinogen), and other harmful chemicals that you can’t pronounce. I’ll be explaining what these substances are and how they affect your body shortly.

But let’s get to the burning question in your mind. Does deodorant cause cancer? The short answer is, no. According to the American Cancer Society, there is no “clear” or “direct” link between using a conventional deodorant or antiperspirant and cancer. But— that doesn’t mean it didn’t contribute.

Whenever the product boasts “anti-perspirant” qualities, you can bet there is aluminum there. Why? Because the USDA only allows aluminum as an active ingredient in antiperspirants. Basically, its the only thing that is allowed by law that will eliminate sweating. But stop right there – isn’t sweating exactly how our body detoxes? Yes. So by using a heavy metal like aluminum, which is actually a neurotoxin, we are not only stopping the process of detoxification via sweat but on top of that we are adding more toxins!

Inside the body, aluminum like other heavy metals, acts like estrogen, interfering with receptor sites in human breast cancer cells. There is even a word for this, “metalloestrogen”. A substance in the body that acts like estrogen, mimicking its functions and tricking the body into thinking there is more estrogen than there is actually present.

And what exactly are phthalates?

Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are often called plasticizers, or solvents. They are used in vinyl flooring, adhesives, detergents, automotive plastics, plastic clothes like raincoats, and (surprise!) beauty care products like soaps, shampoos, hair sprays, and deodorants/anti- perspirants. These substances are what allows deodorants to stick to your skin. Remember that commercial about the deodorant not leaving white marks on your black clothing? Thank you, phthalates.

The CDC website states: “Human health effects from exposure to low levels of phthalates are unknown. Some types of phthalates have affected the reproductive system of laboratory animals. More research is needed to assess the human health effects of exposure to phthalates.”

So, basically phthalates have not been tested in humans. Period. And yet they are found in so many of our personal care products, clothing, children’s toys, cleaning products, and many other items in our homes.

For me, since this substance has not been tested on humans AND it has been proven to negatively impact the hormonal systems of laboratory animals like mice, my gut tells me to steer clear.

Along the same lines here are parabens. This group of chemicals are used as a preservative in deodorants and beauty care products. Parabens have also been linked to hormone interference. In an article by TIME magazine, Markham Heid writes, “…cumulative exposure to the chemicals from several different products could be overloading our bodies and contributing to a wide range of health problems. “Of greatest concern is that parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity,” reports the non-profit Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC). “Parabens mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells.” Research has shown that the perceived influx of estrogen beyond normal levels can in some cases trigger reactions such as increasing breast cell division and the growth of tumors.”

Did you know parabens were made illegal in Europe back in 2012?

Y’all this stuff is LEGIT. It smells WONDERFUL and the best part is I DON’T STINK, like AT ALL, EVER! Click here for product info

Sounds like these three chemicals are probably a good thing to start avoiding. And this brings me to natural deodorants. These products are typically made with ingredients that you can easily pronounce and are probably already familiar with such as coconut oil and baking soda. The one we carry at cornucopiabox.com is made by a breast cancer survivor in Pennsylvania.

Making the switch from conventional deodorant to a natural one is not always easy. There is an intermediary period when your body will be detoxing from the usual daily use of the chemical laden deodorant. This means you will probably do some extra sweating, but don’t worry it won’t last forever. This is actually a good thing! Sweating means your body is detoxing!

Love this stuff, click here for product details

I suggest using an underarm detox stick everyday during this period. Our stick contains bentonite clay to naturally pull out the toxins and odor- causing bacteria from your armpits. This product was new for me but I quickly learned how effective it was and how genius! In the past, I’ve used green clay on my face during facials, so why not apply the same concept to my underarms?!


After a few days, any extra sweating will subside and you’ll be ready to start with the natural deodorant. Keep the detox stick handy, just incase you are feeling extra stinky one day. I usually use it about once a week, or when needed. This natural deodorant really works. Just keep in mind it is only a deodorant, it is not an anti-perspirant. Remember – we want to sweat, it’s the body’s natural way of detoxing!



https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Phthalates_FactSheet.html http://www.safecosmetics.org/ https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/should-people-be-concerned- about-parabens-in-beauty-products/

http://time.com/4394051/deodorant-antiperspirant-toxic/ http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0162013413001608

Peace Out 2017, Don’t Let the…No, Wait…

One would think the first thing I’d be thinking with this year winding down is “Peace out, see ya later, don’t let the door hit ya”.  And, yes, there are things I’d like to say this about, but 2017 also taught me a lot of things and may have improved my life for the better, as a whole.

I lost a lot of things this year, things I never saw coming, things I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to.  Here are a few:

Life as I knew it – it’s forever changed – I no longer am able to live carefree, naive to what life with cancer means.  The goals and expectations I had for life aren’t the same -some of them I’ve forgotten about and new, modified things have been put in their place.  The expectations I have for my life and people are vastly different as well.  Feeling like I have plenty of time to do things, is no longer a way of thinking.   Being able to ignore an ache or a pain or the way too tired feeling is a thing of the past – I constantly have a tap on the shoulder that says “did you notice that”…yes, I did, I’m trying to silence you, but I know that’s not always an option.

I had (should read “have”, because I’m still on the struggle bus with this one) to let go of the way I thought things should have gone in my life…doing that leads me down a slippery slope of crying and being angry.  When I’m able to get in the mindset of “this is the hand you were dealt, this is what’s happening,” I’m much more accepting of losing life as I knew it.  Just because I’ve had to adjust all of these things, doesn’t mean I’ve given up certain things, I’m just learning to accept that the way I saw things going in my life isn’t the way things are going to go.

My debunking procedure took away the option of more children – not only can I not carry another child myself, I wasn’t able to try and salvage any eggs for a surrogate to carry, because my life would have been at risk from the cancer continuing to grow – I had high-grade, which spreads like wildfire.  Although I didn’t envision more children for myself, maybe someone in my future might have, so I would have liked the option.  I’d have liked to have been able to say “no, I’m good”, not having that ability ripped out of my hands.  (Yes, it’s a control issue, I’m working on it). I’m blessed with two children, that is what I focus on.  And yes, those two children ask the difficult questions  – “mommy, are you going to have another baby?” and I have to try and explain to them that isn’t possible, in terms an 8 year old girl would understand.

My hair – Yep, I lost my hair and although it’s growing back and everyone thinks it looks great…it’s very difficult for me, because it’s not what I chose for myself, it wasn’t my decision.  I told my one girlfriend the other day I really missed it…it was Christmas Eve, when I was looking back at pics from last year vs this year. Yes, it’s silly, but you try losing your hair to something as stupid as cancer, it sucks and it’s a constant reminder when all you want to do is put it in a freaking ponytail and your at least a year away from that even being a possibility – so instead you put on a ball cap and pray you don’t get mistaken for a guy.

Some people I considered friends – this is a common occurrence.  Cancer freaks the hell out of people, I’m not kidding.  They say they’re going to be there and they’re going to do “xy&z”, but when it comes down to it, watching someone waste away, lose their hair, their coloring, turn into a sick person, etc, it’s not for the weak.  The time I had previously to worry about things like this, I no longer have – I was fighting for my life, I had to focus on me, I had no extra effort outside of what I put forth to take care of myself and my children.  You learn a lot about people when the going gets tough. And guess what, it’s really NOT about how this is effecting you…it’s about ME, how this is effecting ME.  I’m sorry if this freaked you out and scared you away, but thank you for showing me your true colors.

DESPITE all of those things above there were a lot of positives as well, some things I never saw coming and things I never would have thought were possible – I surprised myself as well.

Renewed relationships – Yes, several people left my life. It might not have been such a bad thing, because in the long run they probably needed to be cleaned off the plate.  BUT, I had so many more people come back into my life and participate to the max – it was shocking!  Several relationships and friendships that had cooled off as time went on because of one thing or another, were rekindled.  When these individuals found out I was sick, they not only reached out once, but repeatedly reached out, showed up at appointments, brought things by the house for me and/or the children, took me out to dinner when I was up for it and have continued to do so.  FYI – the stuff after treatment stops is a whole new ballgame and the after effects just don’t stop.  I’m still trying to decided what’s more difficult – the mental game is brutal after.

I found a me I didn’t know existed – This could be due to the fact that I’m a mom and I don’t really have another choice, but the person I found inside of me, when I really needed her, was bigger than I ever thought possible.  I surprised myself, and keep surprising myself.  Prior to ovarian cancer I would have considered myself a “runner” – when things got tough, I picked up and moved on…literally would move sometimes…took the easy way out and did whatever was possible to minimize the pain and impact it had on me.

This chick you’ve all seen is new…she’s different.  She’s not the same, I won’t ever go back to the way I was before the diagnosis and that’s okay. Honestly, I’m 110% okay with it.  If you hadn’t realized it, and you thought you really knew me, I’d been struggling for a long time with inner peace and being the person I really wanted to be.  I had so much inside to say, but I was too worried about what someone might say, how they’d look at me, etc.  Let me tell you…walking around bald, dealing with all the BS society deals you during this process of being sick, it breaks down all of those things.  You have to have thick skin to take on the cancer fight in and of itself, then add on all the petty and stupid things that go along with it. I like this girl…she may take awhile to get adjusted to though…and I still need to refine a few things, but I think that comes with time…my fuse is still quite short, I’m working on it.

Living in the moment – no regrets – this is completely new and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and said I was going to do for the past several years.   Britt, I wouldn’t have flown to Austin in the past…I’d have made myself sick with worry over things I couldn’t control – “what if she doesn’t like me”, “what if she isn’t excited”, and on and on and on.  I say what I want to say (these are positive things, no one needs for you to be negatively opinionated) – this maybe a random text that says “I love you” when someone least expects it, or messaging someone, whom I’ve never met, something I think might help them out.

Epic trips, things I’ve always wanted to do.   Exploring cities I’ve been to, but haven’t seen all that I want to see (if I’m headed your way, get ready, I have lists!).  Experiencing new places I’ve never been to – food, exhibits, “best of’s”.  The only regret I have…that it took a cancer diagnosis for all of this to happen. I was in a rut of only going and doing  certain things.

This is my one shot to get this right – no more do-overs, no more “I don’t think the time is right”…chances are, it’s never going to be right, just do it.  Live in the moment, quit looking for perfect or I’ll do it next year.

A “girl gang” like you’ve never seen – in a world of women tearing each other down, be the girl that’s building others up.  I’ve found a group of women, most of whom I’ve never met, who are those building each other up – sending positive messages, giving you the “go get ’em”, “you got this”, “ain’t no thang but a chicken wang” when you’re heading into something big.  Find these people, these are the ones you should focus your time on.  I had no idea the impact the followers I would have socially would end up having in my life – they not only check on me, but my other friends they know I’m close with to make sure they’re okay too.

thanks for posting this the other day @amydeepharmd

Maybe it’s because all of us have been through the worst, don’t have time for all the BS and know the importance one simple word can have…maybe that’s why we’re there for each other.  Or maybe it’s because good people really do still exist and it takes something life changing to happen in order for you to see past all of the things you might not have in the past to see them.  Regardless, I never saw this one coming…and I’m thankful for every single one of you reading this, that fall into this category.  You showed me how to keep going, that it was okay to get upset over silly little things and that life after is difficult, but we can somehow figure this out.  Thank you for giving me friendships I never would have had.


So yes, in a year where I could have said “get the F- outta here, I’m done”…I had just the opposite reaction, it was more of a “thank you, I needed this”.  Although ovarian cancer has changed me forever, has put me through the ringer and is one of the most trying things ever, even after the treatments stop, I’m thankful for the perspective it’s given me.  I’m thankful that this time, I actually listened to the wakeup call I should have had in the past.

Tonight and tomorrow, as you reflect on the year 2017 may have been or not been for you, try to find the ways in which it’s possibly improved things.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still angry from time to time, I cry and I have bad days…2017 was supposed to have been “my year”, not the year that tried to break me.  But it didn’t break me, and for that I’m grateful.  2018, I’m coming for you with big goals, big plans…I lost most of a year and have some making up to do!

Happy New Year – stay safe, have fun and kiss 2017 goodbye in whatever fashion you deem appropriate!

Peace Out Cancer – Dad’s Done with Chemo!

Two days after Christmas and we got our Christmas present – 29 weeks after my last treatment, my Dad completed his and rang the bell!  WAAAHOOO!!!  Peace out cancer, see ya later!



His oncology nurse presenting him with his completion certificate, signed by all of the nurses – it was her first time, she was sooo excited to get to give it to him!

Today was a long time coming…especially after the year we’ve had.  I haven’t been as great about doing updates on my Dad, because life got in the way.  #5 knocked him on his butt and this one could do the same – he doesn’t get sick like I did, but the exhaustion has been pretty bad.  If you ask him how he is, he’s like me “oh, gosh, I’m fine!  It could be a lot worse…”  He even said this as the nurse was administering his red colored one through a syringe (see here).

His people came out in full force again today – Nancy, Frank, Sonya and Steve all came marching in about the same time.  My brother took child duty so I could be there today (thank you, Kyle!).  We can’t thank everyone enough for all the time and effort they’ve put forth over the last 11 months – we couldn’t have done it without you.  

Dad’s scans and blood work will take place in 3 weeks, a couple days before mine – we’ll be on the same cycle for awhile when it comes to checkups.  Until then, he’ll be recovering from #6 and then we’re heading south to the house to enjoy a little fun in the sun and on the water – he hasn’t been able to travel and none of us have gone since this summer.  Needless to say, we’re looking forward to it!

Everyone was waiting at home to celebrate with him!

Merry Christmas to everyone and happy New Year – although I’ll be back with another post on New Year’s Eve!  Until then…we’re eating pizza and poppin’ bottles (not really, he doesn’t want to celebrate until he has his taste back and bit and enjoys food and drinks again!).

Take THAT Chemo Brain – LET’S GO, I PASSED!!!

I may have used another choice word or two when I texted my peeps to let them know I PASSED my Series 7 exam today – LET’S GO!!!  BTW, I may have also been a little too loud in the quiet testing room when my “passed” status came across the screen, imagine that.

Oh, you didn’t know I had to take this exam??  I’ve been quiet about it, and I’ll be honest about the fact that I didn’t pass on the first time….the first go around I missed it by ONE STUPID POINT!  No joke!  I was kinda of embarrassed, upset, pissed, disappointed in myself, you name it, I felt it.  Why??  Because a year ago, I more than likely wouldn’t have failed by one point…so I was mad about the reason I failed.  However, a year ago “me” isn’t an option, so I did what was needed and the first day I was allowed to take the test again, I scheduled it and PASSED!

This is the first real challenging thing I’ve had to do post-chemo when it comes to using my brain – lots of things are different and I haven’t fully adjusted to everything.  I’m still refining my coping skills when it comes to these things.  It’s a 6 hour exam and it takes me the full 6 hours to take it – I had to re-read most of the questions at least once, if not twice, and the long ones are a nightmare…I completely forget what they’re asking.  So for the past month, I’ve been taking tests, taking notes on the ones I miss and doing whatever I thought might help to recall the information.  And let’s go back to the 6 hours – that right there is exhausting for me, like you wouldn’t believe – it’s a marathon in my world!

You see, chemo brain isn’t a made up thing, it’s real – for me, it’s names and word recognition – recalling formulas and how to do things isn’t easy, especially when it’s something I’ve never done in my 37 years.  The majority of people taking the test are able to write things down to help recall key items for the exam…for me, I tried and tried to get a cheat sheet that worked, but remembering what was on the cheat sheet was just as time consuming as studying, so I kinda ditched that route…it just wasn’t going to work. But I found what worked AND I PASSED!!!

For me, this was a HUGE WIN – if I could have, I’d have run around the room high-fiving and screaming a few phrases that aren’t the most appropriate. Instead, I said something a little more loudly than I should have, did a little fist pump and walked out of the room.  I was so excited I don’t think it finally hit me until I got on the interstate and then I started crying…because I did it, it was a victory for me against all of this that is this stupid thing called living life after cancer and chemo…it’s hard y’all, really hard and frustrating.

I share all of this so that you, reading this, going through similar struggles and battles, know that this can be done.  You can do the things that were once easy for you, that have now become extremely difficult. You can do hard things, it just takes longer than you’re used to – a significant amount of time hitting the books, a significant amount of time reading the questions, a significant time trying to determine what might work.  And then, you keep your fingers crossed that it isn’t a really bad short term memory day and you can retrieve the information (unfortunately I don’t get to pick and choose when it’s at its worst, although I have been able to determine what tends to trigger it).   And some of you reading this will never fully understand how hard taking this simple test really was, and that’s okay too – 6 months post-chemo!

Now…on to studying for the next one — I have 2 exams I need to pass, this was the hard one, next one shouldn’t be as difficult, fingers crossed!



The “Why’s” Behind Why I Workout As Much As I Do

Top left to bottom right is in order of the last three days – coincidentally the number of fingers held up had to do with the ride it was in a row. NOT PLANNED. I’m SOAKED in each of these pics as well. DYING!


I really don’t post much about my workout routine – or why I do so. Sure, if you follow me on Instagram you see from time to time that I’m at the yoga studio (STL peeps, I go to Blue Bird) OR lately that Brittany and I worked out when I was in Georgetown, OR that I went hiking not once BUT twice this past summer.  Some think I’m crazy, some wonder how I keep up the pace and others get it for various reasons.  So here are the what’s, why’s and how’s – you may have to put your eyeballs back in your sockets and pick your jaw up off the ground – not many know how much I actually workout.

Why: Simple, because I can.  Because I choose me, which means being the best me I possibly can.  Pre-ovarian cancer I worked out – walked, light weights, when I wanted.  Then I got so darn tired that I slacked off, and right before my diagnosis I changed up my workout routine to see if I could compensate for the “tired” – I just didn’t know the OVCA was the reason for the tired.

Sure, I could sit on my bootie and still get away with it in most people’s opinions, but that’s not an option.  Everyone, cancer or not, should try and be in the best possible condition they can be, on the off chance some health related issue should arise.  The shape you are in plays a KEY role in how you fair in this entire process – by all means, ask your doctor, they’ll tell you the same thing.  Mine would love for you to give her a microphone so she can tell you why she does it and why you should be too!

Yes, I’ve been plagued by this stupid (I have other words, trust me) thing called cancer.  Yes, I could say “well, it happened and I was fairly healthy…clearly that didn’t work”, throw my hands up in the air and give up.  And yes, I could get away with every excuse in the book I wanted to use as to why I slack off now, but I don’t.  Let’s be honest here – I’ve been diagnosed with two forms of cancer I don’t fit the criteria for, NOT EVER CLOSE…who’s to say one of them won’t come back or that somewhere down the line another one pops up – I’m a realist, I know this is all a possibility, I’m very open and honest about it when asked.  There’s always a chance, just like there’s a chance for any of you reading this.  So why in the world wouldn’t I want to be in the best “fighting” shape possible?!?  Why wouldn’t you, the person reading this with a perfectly healthy body, waste your perfectly “good body” when there are others who wished they still had that as an option?!?  Highly aware that was a VERY bold statement – it was meant to be.  I’m still a work in progress, but I’ve come a LONG way with a few LITTLE things that I need to kick to the curb…it’s not easy, but it’s the choice I make.  I do this for ME…because I CAN and others aren’t as fortunate to be able to do so.

This was today – I PR’ed for 4th time in the last 6 rides and got a “Hat Trick”! These stupid little things keep me pushing myself!

How much do you workout?  What are your go-to’s?:  30-120 minutes, 5 days a week. Yes, you read that correctly. Thirty minutes to two hours, five days a week is what I shoot for.  The degree of time difference depends on the work week, schedule with the children, etc.  When the kids are with their dad, it is an automatic 2 hour workout day – today is a 2 hour day, although as I sit here and type this I keep telling myself it’s really okay if I skip the cardio portion today – ha!  Then the other part says “well, you have this, this and this you need to do this week, so get it in today”.

My go-to’s are simple things, anyone can do.  Yoga (shoot for a minimum of 3 classes a week, average about 4), my BeachBody on Demand (people, it’s Netflix for workouts – anyone can do these, there’s TONS of options and a good chunk of them are 25-30 minutes! Email me with questions), walking (5 miles when I do, but it’s cold and I hate walking in the cold), and spinning (got  a Peloton so I can ride at home – this thing is life changing for me!).  Now, do I think you need to do all of these things, ABSOLUTELY NOT!  I have medical reasons below as to why this is what works for me, it’s the right combination for me, which may not be for you.

Start small, and easy, and work your way up. Cardio is HARD for me…I’m basically dying every time I do it, gasping for breath some days – thank you chemo!

Okay, I get it, you want to be in shape, but WHY IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING THIS??  As I said before, because I can…but the truth is, it’s actually working for one medical issue I have due to all of the lymph nodes I had removed.  After the latest one was clipped in August the pooling of lymphatic fluid in my pelvic/groin region hasn’t really stopped and it’s painful/uncomfortable when too much collects.

Someone asked me in a message not too long ago how my “lymphatic fluid issue, or whatever it was” was doing, was it still a problem? Yes, unfortunately for me, it’s still a problem.  Everyone varies when it comes to this stuff.  For me, my body hasn’t quite figured out how to regulate getting the stuff where it needs to go, so I have to help it out.  Fingers crossed it will become more manageable and not quite as big of a pain, but it will probably never go all the way away.  So how do I manage it outside of the leg pumps I use?  Through exercises.

I took to Google when I couldn’t figure out what in the world to do – I was doing everything I’d been told to do, why wasn’t this working?!?  I found a few things and decided to put forth the effort needed to actually see if this would work for a month, and sure enough, it did.  Yoga is excellent when it comes to getting things in your body moving in general – inversions and twisting moves are specifically key for lymphedema. After two weeks of going 3-4 times a week, there was a HUGE difference, enough that when I slacked off to see if it wasn’t coincidental, the pooling picked up a bit again.  The Beachbody workouts I do is for strength and muscle tone, but they all kick my butt!  And I’ve found out that spinning gets things moving as much or more than the yoga – I read that walking was good, and the more vigorous the better.  The same goes for spinning, so I try to do HIIT routines.  Another recommendation was jumping on a trampoline – one I haven’t tried yet, but may use as an excuse to purchase one for the kids! LOL!

Here’s the deal – these are things I do for ME….my life kinda depends on it.  Just like some of you, who have family health issues, try and stay ahead of them by working out and watching what you eat.  I now need to do the same, even though mine isn’t hereditary…for some reason, my body has been compromised and I need to stay ahead of the game, when I can.  (I think mine is environmental and something I ingested due to growing up in a rural farming community.  For the record, this can’t be proven, it’s purely speculation)

All of us can do something though – big or small – to be the best us we can possibly be.  Don’t waste your good body because you were too tired today, didn’t have enough time or whatever other excuse you may have.  I’m a part-time single mom, with a full-time job, running a household by myself, and I’m tired…but I still find the time to do this for ME…and let’s be honest, my children as well.  Start with baby steps.  Yes, it will hurt, but it will become easier and get better.  You’ll feel better, trust me!  Do it to stay ahead of health issues!  Do it for those of us are who fall into the category of no longer having a healthy body – BTW, when asked how I would rank how healthy I am on a scale of 1-5, I still ask if that includes having had a cancer diagnosis…which takes me from saying I’m a 4, to saying “well, I guess that means I’m a 1 or 2”, although I always tell them if we didn’t have to include the whole cancer thing, I’m definitely a 4.  Dead silence and stares people. I laugh, they do not – ha!

(Send me an email with any questions about the things mentioned – happy to help point you in the right direction – kickovariancancer@gmail.com)

ONE MORE THING!!!  THIS WAS NOT MY ROUTINE DURING CHEMO!!!  Chemo kicked my butt – some days my goal was to talk a walk down the hallway or to the bathroom and I was winning – the first 5-7 days after I was trying my best to just get food down.   Each day I’d try to walk a little further…EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT.  I still get zapped, have to modify and just poop out, but I keep going through the workout.  Like I said, do what works for YOU, not what works for ME.  Each person is different 🙂

Operation St. Louis to Austin – SUCCESS!!

Wait – you got on a plane, traveled to Texas hang with two women you’ve never met before for two days?!? Is this something you do often?!? Have you lost your mind?!? Did their husbands think this was crazy?!? Answers in order: Sure did! Heck no! Absolutely not, one was in on it! Ask me if I was nervous…yes, I was. I had no idea if Rees would think I’d lost my mind when I originally asked, and Mandi was worried she’d have to pretend she liked me – 2 glasses of wine later and she confessed we were good, she liked me – lol!

Lunch with Blane and Mandi – Loved having time with the two of them before Brittany and Rees landed. On “back to the Lou” day, I spent the morning with Rees and Brittany – we all got our together and separate time, it was really nice!

These two get me – I don’t have to explain, I don’t have to preface everything with “if this is too much, just let me know”…they don’t know exactly the thoughts going through my head, but they know. Each of our experiences are different, yet similar. As soon as I knew Brittany was starting chemo again (boo!!! Suck it cancer!!) I reached out to Rees almost immediately to see if I could come visit – after I got the green light, I reached out to Mandi – “about that meet up we’ve been talking about…how’s December 9th work for ya?!?” When one of us needs the other, we all three come together.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking “sounds like a blast, talking about cancer all weekend”…ummm, I think you forgot…cancer doesn’t define us. We laughed, got outdoors for the day, ate tacos and cookies for breakfast, and yes…we talked about cancer related things. But, in between, we forgot for a little bit. And I only almost cried twice…not one time did a tear actually roll down my face though, I held it back.

Mandi is my 9 years out, “lone survivor” (see here), and Brittany is my “fight for your life” rock – each of us means something different, but the one thing that’s the same?? Each of us represents hope to the other. Each of us “booty pats” the other and says “go get ‘em, kick butt”. I guess you could say we’re the best kinda girl gang – the kind choosing joy over and over, the kind LIVING life, the kind hopefully helping others learn the ropes along the way. The kind who would move mountains (which we all three LOVE!) to make sure the other was okay.

The whole crew!

It’s like this – we’re a pizza eating, wine drinking, working our butts off kinda girls…who happen to have one thing in common, freaking ovarian cancer (big thumbs down!). Something we can’t change, and oddly enough, something that brought us together – to be honest, had we never had this stupid disease, we’d still have meshed perfectly!

Rees’s “fart cake”!

And let’s talk about Rees and Blane for a second – these two men make me believe there are still good ones out there.  Rees let me crash his birthday weekend because he knew this was exactly what his wife needed – he puts her first, no matter what!  And Blane, he came into Mandi’s world AFTER ovarian cancer – Blane, you make me believe this stupid diagnosis won’t always scare people away — you’ve got some major kahunas B-Lane (IMG_0356 – Click here for Blane at his finest!)!!  These two may have gotten sick of hearing about cancer stuff from time to time throughout the weekend, but they hung with us, ran for us (Brittany and I had to walk the 5K) and made sure we were well fed and laughing out butts off!!

Was this a one time thing?? Heck no! We’re in the process of trying to determine when and where the next meet up is, knowing worst case we’ll see each other in Arizona in February…anything longer than that is waaay too long!

What would we say to each and every person, cancer survivor or not??? FIND your people, choose them wisely, LIVE your life NOW, STOP waiting, GET UP OFF YOUR BUTT and MOVE, do NOT take your healthy body for granted, you never know when you might possibly need it in the best condition possible to fight ! But please, don’t forget to be silly, make memories, laugh until your cheeks hurt…find the silver lining in life, it’s there!


I Did Something Tonight for the First Time Since the Night I Ended Up in the E.R.

Y’all, I did something tonight I hadn’t done since I wound up in the E.R. last year – 2 weeks before I’d find out I had ovarian cancer.  Only difference, the date.

Tonight was Jaxson’s Jingle Bell Ball for school – last year we had an unexpected ice storm and it had to be post-poned until January.  Every time the email would come across with the headline “Jingle Bell Ball”, I wanted to puke, because the last time I went to his school holiday performance I found myself in the E.R.  It was all I could think about – those words equated to Missouri Baptist Emergency Room and the entire night played out all over again.

Wanna know what’s really strange, without even thinking about what I was doing, I made dinner reservations at the same restaurant we went to last year. Why’d you do that?!?  Because it’s one of my favorite restaurants and I didn’t want to go to the one we’d gone to last week.  TODAY was when it hit me that that was where I’d gone last year before his show – I almost cancelled.  This year we pulled in the parking lot and my mom says “I’m going to take that spot.”  I quickly said “don’t park in that spot, its the same spot we parked in last year.  I ended up in the ER last year.  You don’t realize this, but we ate at the same restaurant we ate at before his performance last year.  Please don’t park in that spot, I can’t do it.”  I sat in the last row, in the center of the room, last year I sat near the front, on the left side of the room.

I don’t have a picture from last year, which is probably best.  I could barely sit through the performance I was in so much pain.  They kids couldn’t sit on my lap.  My jeans were making things worse, and all I could think about  was, there’s no way I’m going to make it until I go to the doctor in the morning, this medication should have kicked in by now, I feel like I’m in labor – they thought I had a U.T.I.   That’s when I got the text message from a friend, who’s my Nurse Practitioner.  It basically said that if I didn’t go to the ER that night and came to the office the next morning, they’d send me to the hospital.

I don’t really remember much about that night at the performance, I kept trying to drown out the pain I was in, but it was all I could focus on.

Wanna know what I saw tonight – EVERYTHING!  Jax-man KILLED it out there! He sang his song, knew EVERY SINGLE WORD and action motion.  He NAILED his part in their bedtime stories, didn’t skip a beat!  He DANCED his pants off for their hip hop routine, AND HE SAW ME; there, in the building, smiling and cheering on from the back!  AND in turn, he SMILED and WAVED, and looked at me to make sure I saw EVERY SINGLE THING!  BTW, I’m pretty sure he thinks I’ve lost my mind sometimes…I cheer him on (quietly!) by doing silly little dances, waving my hands around, giving him HUGE thumbs ups and anything else, so he (and Olivia, when it’s her day!) know how well they’re doing.  Let’s be honest, if they fell flat on their face, I’d do the same thing – LOL!

This, this is the first of many things I’ll be doing again.  Several dates/events are quickly approaching, all of which now have new meanings, with January 19th just around the corner.  But guess what, I DID it!  I went, I sat down at the same restaurant, and I ate this time.  Last year I maybe had two bites of my burger and a couple of fries before I said I was full or couldn’t eat, or acknowledged that the pain I was in was causing me to feel like crap.  This year, I ate my vegetarian style dishes – I’m not a vegetarian, but I try to limit my meat intake, especially when fantastic vegetarian/vegan options are available – and I didn’t feel sick, I enjoyed it!

If you’re like me and a year full of firsts is quickly approaching, do your best to do the things you think you can’t…or the things you don’t want to.  Why?  Because you’re still here – not doing difficult, hard things, means cancer wins….and NONE of us want cancer to steal our joy.  Now, I’m not going to try and hide the fact that there are a few things I won’t do, or I’m doing things in place of them to cause diversions, or take negatives and try and turn them into a positive.  There are some things I’m going to have to do, that I don’t want to do…that I’ll probably cry through, and that’s okay too.  Smile when you can, laugh when possible, and yes, you’re allowed to cry when some of it just sucks and is too hard to deal with, but you still have to do it.

If you don’t follow me on Instagram, you may want to start tomorrow…I’ve got a HUGE SURPRISE up my sleeve and it’s going to take ALL DAY for it to play out!  It’s going to be THE BEST thing EVER and I’m so excited I can hardly stand it!  (handle is @kickovariancancer)

Hockey Fights Cancer – What a Difference a Year Makes

As many of you saw on my social media accounts, Friday was the St. Louis Blues Hockey Fights Cancer game night, an initiative the entire NHL league takes part in during the month of November (our game was on December 1st).  Last year I participated in the campaign in a completely different capacity – work related, fulfilling a sponsorship UMB participated in, in conjunction with all events leading up to the game.  My family was there and my work friends volunteered, selling raffle tickets for warm up jerseys to raise funds.

Hockey Fights Cancer 2016…Jaxson was NOT into having his picture taken last year – ha!

Last year my Grandpa was battling stage IV lung cancer – he was a smoker back in the day.  One of my friends’ mothers was facing the same battle, for the same reasons (Jacque Malone).  A family friend’s son/grandson was battling Leukemia (Isaac, diagnosed at 21 months). For those wondering, “My Dad” on my Dad’s sign is for his father who passed away from stage IV lung cancer – mesothelioma.  Neither of my grandfather’s cancer were hereditary, my mother’s father smoked, my dad’s father built homes when it was okay to use asbestos.

The photo of the five of us is VERY difficult for me to look at for a number of reasons – we are nowhere close to the same family in this photo.  Out of all the names listed, only one of them hasn’t lost their battle to cancer – Isaac (he’s still receiving treatments, but fingers crossed, 2019 will be his “cured” year).  And not one, but two of us have been diagnosed with cancer this year – I had no idea ovarian cancer was growing inside of me at a rapid pace, but should have known something wasn’t right.  The photos from here until diagnosis make it quite clear I was sick, I just didn’t know it – I get angry with myself for letting things go because I thought outside factors were causing the issues.

Carrie and Kim – Sister and one of my closest friends!

This year, this year we went to the game as a group of friends and family in support of the initiative – raising funds and bringing awareness to all things cancer.  This year, my name, my father’s name, my dad’s office manager’s name and soooo many other names filled our cards, that I ran out of room on mine – if you’re not on the card, it means nothing other than I ran out of room and encompassed all the ovarian cancer fighters as one.

This year I went from being an observer of all the cancer survivors in the arena, to being one of the survivors standing to be recognized.  The bartenders and people around me made comments of “I noticed your card says ‘me’, you look really great” or “Does your card say ‘me’?!?!”  Yep, sure does.  Sometimes they high-fived me, other times their eyes said more than their words, especially when I said “I had ovarian cancer, but there’s no evidence of disease at this point in time…my last treatment was in June, hence my short hair.”  (p.s. my hair has reached the stage where it’s a little too long for a mohawk and it’s getting a little unruly).

This year, for the week leading up to the game, I raised funds for ovarian cancer specifically, instead of selling raffle tickets at the game to raise funds for various cancer initiatives.  By the way, my social media followers ROCK, we raised a little under $2800 in 4 days, surpassing my goal of $2500 for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance.

I wanted to post all of this yesterday, but I needed a day to collect my thoughts and become okay with a bit of this.  Most days I’m totally fine being a cheerleader for ovarian cancer.  Most days I’m okay with being a face, raising awareness as a cancer survivor.  But this time, I needed to know that I was okay with putting all of this out there, looking at the photos, because so much has changed in a year.

Every single person with me on Friday night was there as more than just a friend – these are the people we consider family, these are SOME of the people who’ve been there throughout the year helping us out first with me, then with my dad.  These are my mom’s, my extra dad’s, my sister and my dearest friend that I couldn’t thank enough for all the time she puts in to help me out, even when I tell her I don’t need help and I’m fine.  But one person is missing, right???  My dad…he was sick.  He’s doing okay, but this round made him a bit more tired, so you didn’t see him out with us last weekend and this past week, when his immune system was down, he got the flu.  He’s okay and was totally bummed he was unable to join us.

A lot of things can change in a year, and I could have stayed at home and not gone, but that means cancer “won” as my friend Brittany likes to remind me – she gets all of this all too well.  Sooo, keep doing the things you would have in the past, the first time for everything is a little hard, but it gets easier!


Wanna Talk About Hats – Let’s Do It!! Giving Tuesday


It’s been awhile since I’ve made mention of the Black Clover teal ribbon hats I was/am selling to raise funds for ovarian cancer research, education and care packages. Let’s just say September wore me out – holy moly! With Giving Tuesday two days away, I thought this would be a good time to answer the questions I receive most around this topic, while doing a little plug for the day!

What’s the story behind the hats: I knew I was going to lose my hair from the treatments I’d be receiving and I wanted to be prepared – this meant a wig and hats were going to be needed. With teal being the color for ovarian cancer, I Googled teal hats and came across Black Clover’s “mint” (I lovingly refer to it as my signature pastel teal hat) hat. As I wore it from treatment to treatment, and my close friends and family started wearing them in support, Black Clover picked it up on Instagram. On World Ovarian Cancer Day in May, a package arrived on my doorstep with ribbons stitched on the side with a little note from Black Clover…needless to say, it made my day and a lightbulb went off in my head when other ovarian cancer survivors asked me how they could get one.
What makes them unique, for someone with a bald head, is the performance fabric…it’s so soft, not scratchy and is super comfy! Their logo “Live Lucky” is one that many of us live by every day in the cancer world – also very fitting!

How’d you come up with your goal number: Since I was diagnosed in 2017, I went off the number of anticipated women who are expected to be diagnosed this year, and in addition to that number, wanted to honor the women anticipated to lose their battle this year – 22,440 and 14,080, respectively. Raising a whopping $438,000 from sale proceeds.

Where does the money go: Good question! The funds raised currently go to organizations who provide care packages to ovarian cancer survivors, those who work with research hospitals to try and find/create an accurate preventative screening test in order to catch the disease in its early stages, when it’s most effectively treated, and those which educate survivors, communities and other organizations about ovarian cancer. The organizations are located in the Midwest (where I’m from), East Coast (upper and lower), Western half of the US and down south (think Texas area).

Where do the funds to purchase the hats come from: I use my own money to purchase the hats at this point in time – I’m finally to the point where I’m able to use some of the proceeds in order to keep things rolling. Initially though, it was through my credit cards and other means personally. I do receive the hats on a wholesale discount from Black Clover, which helps out immensely.

Who helps you get these out the door: I have a couple friends that will help from time to time when they’re in St. Louis visiting me, but more times than not, it’s just me. I’ve become very good friends with the postal workers at my local post office! I’ve taken a bit of time off because it’s quite exhausting.

So are you only doing this for 2017, what if you don’t reach your goal: Nope, not just for 2017…I will continue sales as supplemental fundraising efforts to two large events I’m in the process of planning for 2018. Since I am one of the women in the numbers for 2017, the total sold won’t fluctuate. Fingers crossed will surpass this goal in the next year or so. $438,000 is A LOT OF MONEY for ovarian cancer research and education.

With Giving Tuesday literally around the corner, my hope is that you will share this post with as many people as possible in order to sell a TON of hats, maybe even sell out of the supply I currently have in my dining room — oh my word, you should see the mess! There are a ton of wonderful not-for-profits out there who need support and funds, my hope is you’ll choose ovarian cancer this year. My hope is that one day people’s eyes won’t pop out of their heads when they hear me tell them I’m an ovarian cancer survivor, or the lady who found out I had cancer and asked if I walked in the Komen Race this year, didn’t assume because I had cancer at this young of an age, that it was breast. My hope is that one day I don’t have to watch another young woman get a Stage 3 diagnosis, one that many women face. There have been HUGE strides made with other types of cancer when it comes to preventive screening measures and treatments, unfortunately ovarian cancer isn’t there yet – it’s time to make some noise in order to get this “silent killer” there.

So, who needs hats for presents this holiday season – they will not disappoint! But you have to remember, when asked “why the teal ribbon” you can’t just tell them because some chick had ovarian cancer and she was having a fundraiser. It needs to be followed with, not sure if you know the signs or symptoms, they’re not really talked about, and you list them out or send them to any number of sites that will.  And if hats aren’t your thing, there’s a page you can donate on as well – click here! 

Happy Holiday!