September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

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Bald

At the beach in N.C. with my mom shortly after finishing chemo

This year I celebrated 5 years of being cancer free after my diagnosis, surgery, and chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. Ever since my diagnosis and while going through treatment I did what I could to spread the word about ovarian cancer, its signs and symptoms. You see, while I had my annual PAP test and breast exam (oh, the joys of mammograms) I knew nothing about the early signs of ovarian cancer. In fact, I knew nothing about the disease.

Before my cancer was found I knew something was wrong, but not what.  For months, and months, and months I went to doctor after doctor and had test after test. I was checked for celiac disease, had my gall bladder tested, had blood work, I even had an abdominal ultra-sound (not pelvic), but all of the tests and exams were negative.

I was ready to give up and just live with my symptoms, but my husband pushed and pushed, so I kept going to doctors. It was only because of an abnormal PAP that my cancer was finally found by means of a trans-vaginal ultrasound. Please, please, please remember that a PAP test does NOT detect ovarian cancer.

So what are the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer?

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or Abdominal Pain
  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urgency or frequency of urination
  • Changes in bowel movements

If you have one or more of these symptoms on a persistent basis, please, please, please go see your doctor.

TakeAction-Not-Chances

I was lucky, my cancer had not spread beyond my two ovaries and one Fallopian tube and I have survived. Most women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are not so lucky; 70% of my teal sisters do NOT survive five years.

On Sunday, September 20th I will again walk in the Central Maryland Chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Run/Walk in order to raise earlier awareness about this deadliest of gynecological cancer and to support more research.  Please consider lending your support to help educate others and save the life of a mother, daughter, grandmother, sister or niece.

2014 NOCC Walk Run Event

2014 NOCC Walk Run Event

Team Teal’s Team Page for the NOCC Walk/Run

In order to help raise awareness and help fund further research, I am donating 50% of all proceeds, through October 31, from my ETSY shop to NOCC. In addition, you can get free first class shipping to anywhere in the United States. Just enter the code TealPower at check-out.

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Healthy Eating and Guiltless Cookies

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Much like many people, I have been making a conscious effort to improve the quality of foods that I am eating.  Sodas were the first to go! Yes, it was hard, but I started by cutting back until I would allow myself one a week as a treat. Now I honestly do not even want that. Best of all I notice a difference in how I feel.

Adding more fresh veggies and fruit was not a problem since I have always loved and eaten lots in this area. Now I just don’t buy anything processed (canned, frozen, pre-prepped).  I even started making my own bread so that I can control the ingredients.

This all sounds good, but I must admit that there is one area that is really, really, REALLY hard for me . . . sweets.  I would always keep some ginger snaps around to snack on. I’d grab two or three from the cookies jar a couple of time a day.  My husband would take five (or more) at a time.  We decided not to buy cookies anymore and I have been missing them.  Lately, I have been craving a cookie.

Okay, so where AM I going with this? A couple of weeks ago I saw a recipe on Facebook for a healthy cookie. I have seen it before, but never made them.  This time, I told myself, would be different. Well, it took a little while but I finally made them this morning! Not sure where the original recipe comes from, but this was version posted by PerezHilton.com.


3 ripe mashed bananas (I measured and had about 1 – 1/2 cups)

1/3 cup applesauce (I used unsweetened – otherwise you are defeating the purpose)

2 cups rolled oats (NOT 5 minute or instant)

1/4 cup almond milk

1/2 cup raisins (optional, but yummy and adds sweetness)

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

Basically, this is an easy one bowl recipe. You don’t even need to get out your mixer. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Peel and mash your bananas. I used the vintage potato masher that my mom gave me. Add the remaining ingredients in order, stirring after each addition. That’s it, easy peasy!

Using a medium scoop, place dollops onto a baking stone and lightly press down.  Bake 15 – 20 minutes, allow to cool for a few minutes before removing to cooling rack.

I only put about 8 cookies per sheet, because I was not sure how they would spread and the mixture is loose. I ended up with 2 dozen cookies (plus one that was sacrificed to the taste tester – me!) If you use metal sheets, I would recommend lining the sheets with parchment paper. Personally, I do not use cooking sprays or shortening. When necessary I will use butter (not margarine).

The results: a soft, moist, cake-like cookie with good flavor.

I took the cookies I made this morning to The Stitcher’s group at my church. We meet every Tuesday morning to work on any project that involves stitches – from crochet to quilts.  At first this group – with some very good cooks – was extremely skeptical of a sugarless, flourless, eggless, dairyless, fat free, cookie. However, one taste let to another and even to seconds and requests for the recipe.

The verdict: this is a keeper

Future modifications: add coconut, unsweetened cocoa, pecans

If you try this recipe, please let me know what you think!