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Stories of Inspiration

The Trip No One Ever Plans to Take

By July 23, 2021No Comments

How many trips have you dreamed of, researched online, and even picked potential dates? When I was growing up, my parents loved to take me with them on the many trips they took, and they were always fun plus educational. That desire to travel stuck with me, and during my working years, I had lots of opportunities to travel across this great country, see some beautiful places, and meet some wonderful people. My “just for fun” trip list started back in 1990, and some fantastic trips were taken over the next many years.

Unfortunately, in the summer of 2019, the trips and the dreams went on hold for a while due to circumstances that I never anticipated and that were way beyond my control. The trip I started in August 2019 would truly be the one that I never planned to take, and it would be a lifetime journey.

As my husband and I watched our home being built in the Lake Oconee area of Georgia, moving from Atlanta to that area was pretty stressful. Our townhouse sold quicker than we expected, so we would have to live in a rental for a few months before the house was ready. I knew I wasn’t feeling well during all of this, my weight was going up, and acid reflux became a new friend. Since I was in between doctors, I had to wait until we got settled in the house before finally going to a gastroenterologist who insisted I have a CT scan before he would schedule an endoscopy/colonoscopy. Thank goodness he did because the scan was on a Friday, August 9, 2019, and he called me about the results the following Monday – ovarian cancer. 

While it was my vanity about my weight that pushed me to the doctor, the idea of ovarian cancer never entered my radar screen. When I looked it up online, I realized I had every symptom, so, for once in my life, my weight concerns were founded and probably saved my life.

And so begins my next trip that I never dreamed I would take. I was able to see an oncologist on Thursday after the news, and she explained my itinerary of chemo for nine weeks, surgery, then nine more weeks of chemo. We kicked off with the first chemo on August 29, 2019, and now I am on maintenance. The monthly infusions of Doxil will hopefully keep this disease away, and my prayer is to be NED within the next year, God willing.

I have always been a very private person, but this disease is teaching me to open up and tell my story to help others. The biggest message I feel pushed to spread is early detection. Take Early Action and Live (TEAL) is critical to our success in fighting this disease, and by our paying attention to our bodies, we will play a role in our care and catch it ourselves in the early stages. Women should feel empowered with this role and push to get help when you need it. If you’re unfortunate enough to have it invade your body, be confident in the fact that you paid attention, caught it early, and are giving yourself your best chance to survive and thrive! Please follow my journey in my blog and help spread the word too!

#GOCA, #ovariancancerawareness, #ovariancancersupport

Carolyn K.

The biggest message I feel pushed to spread is early detection. Take Early Action and Live (TEAL) is critical to our success in fighting this disease, and by our paying attention to our bodies, we will play a role in our care and catch it ourselves in the early stages.

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Stages of Ovarian Cancer

Before ovarian cancer - healthy ovaries

Stage 1 - Cancer is confined to one or both ovaries

Stage 2 - Cancer spreads within the pelvic region

Stage 3 - Average stage of diagnoses is stage 3C; cancer spreads to other body parts within the abdomen

Stage 4 - Cancer spreads beyond the abdomen to other body parts


National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

Stages of Ovarian Cancer

Stage 1

The cancer is confined to the ovary or fallopian tube

1A - The cancer is confined to one ovary only

1B - The cancer is found on both ovaries

1C - One or both ovaries are found with cancer cells spilling out from the ovaries

1C1 - Accidental rupture of the capsule by the surgeon during surgery

1C2 - Rupture of the capsule occurred before surgery

1C3 - Cancer cells are found in the fluid of the pelvis/abdomen

Stage 2

Growth of the cancer involves one or both ovaries with pelvic extension

2A - Extension of cancer to fallopian tubes or uterus

2B - Extension of cancer to other pelvic organs

Stage 3

Growth of the cancer involves one or both ovaries, and the cancer has spread beyond the pelvis

3A - Microscopic cancer cells found in upper abdomen or lymph nodes

3B - Visible tumor found in upper abdomen less than 2cm in size

3C - Visible tumor found in upper abdomen greater than 2cm in size, including disease on the surface of liver or spleen

Stage 4

The cancer growth is widely spread throughout the body

4A - Cancer is found in the fluid around lung

4B - Cancer is found inside the lungs, liver or spleen

National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

30 Years of Courage


NOCC begins as a grassroots organization founded by advocates and survivors in Boca Raton, Florida


NOCC incorporates as the country’s first national organization providing awareness and education about ovarian cancer.


The first national ovarian cancer information hotline is established (1-888-OVARIAN), now averaging 10,000 calls each year.


NOCC proclaims a week in September “National Ovarian Cancer Week,” with a declaration from President Clinton. “Walk for a Whisper” 5K Walk/Run is initiated.


NOCC and the ovarian community proclaim September as “National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.”


The organization produces television PSA about early detection and distributes to 30 states.

2003 received the Award from OncoLink, the first online cancer resource founded by University of Pennsylvania cancer specialists.

NOCC receives the National Points of Light award in celebration of the success and impact volunteers have made in their communities.


NOCC launches “Body Image/Body Essence” art exhibit by sculptor John Magnan as a tribute to his wife’s journey with ovarian cancer.


NOCC launches the “Break the Silence” national education campaign.


The “Break the Silence” campaign reaches 100M impressions.

NOCC helps launch the first consensus on ovarian cancer symptoms.


NOCC moves its principal place of operation and state of incorporation/registration from Boca Raton, Florida to Dallas, Texas.

NOCC advocates help to double Department of Defense funding for ovarian cancer research to $20M per year.


“Newly Diagnosed Patient Kit” is launched. DVD resource is made available in Spanish and Mandarin; 450,000+ pieces of literature are distributed nationwide.


The Faces of Hope® program and term “Run/Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer” are initiated. 

Annual fundraising events are branded “Run/Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer®.”


NOCC partners with The Dr. Oz Show to create his Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer® campaign.

Over 1200 newly diagnosed women receive NOCC’s TEAL PACKET®

The “Ann Schreiber Ovarian Cancer Research Training Program of Excellence: A study by Dr. Ruth Perets” is supported by NOCC with a $50,000 contribution.


NOCC supports quality of life research with the GOG 0225, LIvES Study, which is ongoing and conducted by the University of Arizona Cancer Center.


More than 4,000 Faces of Hope TEAL totes are distributed.


More than 575,000 pieces of education and awareness literature are distributed nationally.

NOCC affirms its commitment to research with the newest  initiative, collaborating with Stand Up to Cancer, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, and Ovarian Cancer Research Fund to support the “Ovarian Cancer Dream Team.”

NOCC is featured in the highly coveted showcase window at 10 Rockefeller Plaza in midtown Manhattan.


NOCC reaches its milestone 25th anniversary.

NOCC becomes an official charity partner for the New York Marathon and launches its first platform for endurance enthusiasts across the U.S - Team Teal®.


Rejuvenate, the first event of its kind, is introduced by NOCC for survivors as a retreat experience centered around the mind, body and spirit; it later expands to a national series.

Not Knowing is Killing Us is launched as a hard-hitting national awareness campaign. 


NOCC's signature Run/Walk Series is rebranded and Together in Teal® Ending Ovarian Cancer is brought to life in communities across the nation.  


Team Teal®, NOCC's endurance platform, expands internationally with participants in Greece and Canada.  

Together in Teal® Ending Ovarian Cancer is hosted at New York City's Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, a national historic landmark.


In response to the pandemic, NOCC introduces programming offering relief to women and their caregivers including home meal delivery, Comfort for the Soul, and online professional counseling through Comfort the Mind.  

Teal Hearts Network, a series of regional survivor support groups, commences in a virtual setting.

Together in Teal(R) hosts its first virtual experience, No Boundaries, and unites participants in 50 states and 9 countries.  

Signs and Symptoms

Ovarian cancer signs and symptoms include:

  • Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Back pain
  • Upset stomach or heartburn
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation or menstrual changes
  • Pain during sex