Though not a cancer survivor or patient myself, I watched as my mother was diagnosed, fought, and later succumbed to ovarian cancer. I was living at home at the time and was working full-time, commuting an hour each way in the lovely New Jersey traffic. Within a few months of my mom’s diagnosis, I was still working full-time but was accepted into – and soon began – a full-time graduate school course load.
Guilt was always eating away at my heart, always lurking in the dusty corners of my mind – in the places where I tried to sweep my stresses away so I could focus on everything I had taken on that kept me from my mom. Luckily, I had no choice but to live with my parents (unless I wanted to live on the streets – definitely not an option! Took a lot of work to make enough money to move out!) so I was, by proxy, spending time with my mother.
Studying Library & Information Science at Drexel University reinforced my long-standing belief that information could make or break lives. The power to acquire knowledge provides strength, courage, and the confidence to move forward, whether in a time of crisis or not.
Witnessing the confusing and information overload my mother and our family faced after her diagnosis with Stage III ovarian cancer was heartbreaking. Could her life have been spared if we had only known that this cancer existed? After diagnosis, would her suffering have been eased by the comfort that easily accessed and reputable information sources provide?
I do not have the answers to those questions. I wish I did. But since I don’t, all I can do is move forward and answer my own questions with a resounding “Yes” to each.
I am not a doctor. I am not a nurse. I am not medically-trained in any way. However, the information science profession exists to serve and that’s exactly why Take Back Teal was formed. We feel that information saves lives and that information overload (the “pink” massacre that breast cancer has become) is harmful. Thus, we work to share the information that we feel is beneficial to all: resources, support groups, haters (yes, they exist), and the many comments and stories from you. Finding the right balance between ‘overload’ and ‘scarcity’ is a delicate science, but when we succeed we will accomplish our goal.
I do not hate breast cancer awareness campaigns and fundraisers; I hate how heavily skewed the colors of cancer have become. I hate how we become unintentionally bitter toward certain cancers because well-intended do-gooders are alienating the very people they should be helping. I hate how sick people’s energies are being wasted on feeling alone. This can end and it can end with us.
I believe that elevating ovarian cancer to the same level of awareness and importance as breast cancer will dramatically reduce the amount of women diagnosed at a late stage. If anyone wants to volunteer to track the actual statistics, be my guest – I love numbers. That’s how confident I am that Take Back Teal will be successful.
A bit about me: I’m originally from New Jersey and recently moved to Philadelphia. I’m 28 and I have 2 cats (well, 3 now…long story). I am an optimist, but still a realist. I love to laugh, I am so grateful for all that I still have despite all that I have lost. I serve as a Big Sister in the Philly-area’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program (I love doing crafts with my Little!). I love to hear from new people and expand my horizons – that’s why I am so thankful for each and every reader that I get. That’s what will make Take Back Teal successful.
I’m really looking forward to getting to know all of you and working with you toward our shared goal of equal funding and awareness for ovarian cancer, and eventually, all cancers.
Best to you!