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Cancer: A Word that Strikes Terror by Joanie Shawhan

Posted by Julie on September 8, 2017 in Julie Arduini |

Cancer: A Word that Strikes Terror

by Joanie Shawhan

Are there certain words that trigger pressure in your chest or tightness in your throat?

For me, that word is cancer.

I am an ovarian cancer survivor.

My Story

During the summer of 2006, Every time I had another bout of nausea, I brushed thoughts of ovarian cancer from my mind. Surely these spells were too infrequent to be cancer.

But in September, I rolled over in bed and felt a grapefruit-size mass in my abdomen. I closed my eyes and dismissed the whispers of ovarian cancer.

Several weeks later, I almost shot off the table when my physical therapist palpated my spine to isolate the location of my back pain. It’s not in my back, it’s jabbing through my abdomen!

My gynecologist suspected a uterine fibroid and ordered an ultrasound. Even in the dark room, I saw the ultrasound tech lock her eyes on mine. Something is seriously wrong.

Gripping the ultrasound report in her hand, my doctor said, “You have ovarian cancer, the size of a cantaloupe.” She rattled off all that needed done—scheduling tests and surgery. I barely heard her words. Was she talking to me?

 When I walked into the hospital on surgery day, I exchanged my scrubs and nurse shoes for tieback gowns and skid-free slipper socks. The surgeon removed a volleyball-size tumor—ovarian cancer.

Today, I am cancer-free. During my treatment, I lost myself to ovarian cancer, but in losing myself, I found a new purpose and calling. Today I have an encouragement ministry to women undergoing chemotherapy. I advocate for and educate women and healthcare professionals regarding ovarian cancer. I write articles so that other women won’t put off getting checked out if they have any signs or symptoms, like I did.

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Ovarian cancer is the most lethal of all female cancers. The symptoms women experience prior to diagnosis may be vague or similar to other diseases. This causes some doctors to rule out other causes before they discover ovarian cancer, which is why it is often not diagnosed until later stages.

Cancer: A Word that Strikes Terror by Joanie Shawhan

 

 

 

Contact your doctor if the following symptoms of ovarian cancer persist:

 

·         Gastrointestinal symptoms:

Bloating, indigestion, nausea, feeling full or loss of appetite

·         Pelvic or low back pressure or pain

·         Urinating more frequently

·         Changes in bowel patterns

·         Tired or low energy

 

 

Ovarian cancer used to be called the silent killer, but survival rates are high if discovered in the early stages. Learn from my story. Will you listen for the whispers of ovarian cancer?

 

About the Author:

Joanie Shawhan is an ovarian cancer survivor and a registered nurse. She writes encouraging articles for women undergoing chemotherapy. Her publishing credits include Coping with Cancer magazine and God Still Meets Needs. She speaks to medical practitioners in the Survivors Teaching Students program. Check out her blog at www.joanieshawhan.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1

Joanie Shawhan: The Whisperer

Posted by Julie on September 10, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

The Whisperer

by Joanie Shawhan

 

Stop. Listen! Do you hear the whispers of ovarian cancer? This insidious disease assaults over 20,000 unsuspecting women per year and is the most lethal of all female cancers. Since there are no screening tests, it is often diagnosed in the latter stages.

 

Despite my background in oncology nursing, I missed the whispers of ovarian cancer. Over the course of several months, I experienced nausea, mistaking these episodes for the flu. Fleeting thoughts of ovarian cancer crept into my mind, but I dismissed them. I rationalized. This nausea is too infrequent to be ovarian cancer.

 

But in September 2006, I rolled over in bed and felt a hard grapefruit-size mass in my abdomen. The whisperer roared.

 

My doctor thought it was a uterine fibroid, but we needed to schedule an ultrasound. In the darkened room, the ultrasound technician furrowed her brow and shot me a glance. Something was wrong.

 

After examining the images, my doctor announced her verdict—ovarian cancer—the size of a cantaloupe. She rattled off the tests and surgery that needed to be scheduled. Words spilled over her lips, sounding foreign and distant. I sat numb, frozen. Is she talking to me?

 

I had witnessed the devastating side effects of chemotherapy suffered by my patients, and vowed that I would never undergo chemo. But now, I felt powerless to carry out this resolution. The side effects of the drugs terrified me: baldness, fatigue, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and a life-threatening allergic reaction.

 

My nursing scrubs and shoes gave way to tieback gowns and skid-free gripper socks. I was one of them, dragged through the theme park of cancer.

 

Today, I am cancer free. I lost myself to ovarian cancer, but in losing myself, I found a new purpose and calling in my life—to advocate for and educate women regarding ovarian cancer. One way I do this is by writing encouraging articles for women undergoing chemotherapy.

 

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Stop and listen for the symptoms that whisper. The life you save may be your own.

 

 

 

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer:

 

v  Pain or pressure in the pelvis, abdomen or lower back

v  Abdominal bloating or a sense of fullness

v  Nausea, constipation, diarrhea, gas or indigestion

v  Urinary frequency or urgency

v  Fatigue

 

If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your doctor.

 

 

 

 

 

~+~

joanieshawhanJoanie Shawhan is an ovarian cancer survivor and a registered nurse. She writes encouraging articles for women undergoing chemotherapy. Her publishing credits include Coping with Cancer magazine and God Still Meets Needs. She speaks to medical practitioners in the Survivors Teaching Students program. Check out her blog at www.joanieshawhan.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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2

Remembering Diann Hunt

Posted by Julie on December 15, 2013 in ACFW, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

Anyone seriously interested in the writing craft is going to be a reader first. Long before I put a pen to notebook or a finger to keyboard, I had a book open. Always. My reading style tends to be by author. I find a book by someone, love it, and get my hands on everything they’ve written.

And that’s the case with Diann Hunt.

I found Diann through Kristin Billerbeck, one of my favorite authors. They have a joint blog, Girls Write Out, with Colleen Coble, Cheryl Hodde, and Denise Hunter. I read one of Diann’s books and kept going.

The Girls Write Out Authors. Image from their blog used only here as a tribute to Diann Hunt.

The Girls Write Out Authors. Image from their blog used only here as a tribute to Diann Hunt.

 

I also kept reading the blog and every once in awhile would leave a comment. And they were gracious to respond to the posts. I followed them on social media, and again, everyone was great in responding.

But Diann and her interaction with others blew me away. She wasn’t afraid to be silly and share it. She wasn’t afraid to be bold. And she never wasted an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus and His goodness.

Her books took a backseat to the person, and I think that’s how Jesus wants it. Diann was a double whammy for Him because she was a bright light directing people to Him in both her actions and her words. I’m a better person because of how she conducted herself as a believer in Jesus and an author.

Sadly, Diann passed away November 29th after a long battle with ovarian cancer. I never knew Diann beyond her kind replies to blog and Facebook posts but her passing knocked the air out of me. I know I’m not alone. She was so open sharing her journey, so my heart breaks for her husband, children, and grandchildren. I have a small circle of friends who are everything to me. To think of Colleen, Denise, Cheryl and Kristin not having Diann present to knock ideas off of or laugh, my heart is as heavy for them as the Hunt family.

Thing is, Diann’s still changing the world for Christ. Her family has shared letters Diann left and conversations with others. Diann just didn’t believe in God, she believed Him. She knows where she is, and she is not sleeping on a cloud. That woman is healed and celebrating with Jesus. She had no doubt, and neither do I. I can picture the laughter. Don’t think heaven is sterile, it’s perfect, and there’s a difference. And there is much joy and laughter in heaven.

One of the trademark Diann conversations was something the funeral home director shared. As people dealt with the funeral process she wanted everyone to know when they saw the casket that what they saw inside was just a shell. “The nut is in heaven.” That’s Diann.

I want to leave an eternal mark as she has, one that transcends the author’s life. Yet, she lived in a real world that has a grieving family. I’d like to introduce you to her words as an author because I believe you’ll fall in love with her work. I also know any purchases you make will help her family.

And I’d be remiss not to share eternity with you. One of the books Diann read in her journey was Randy Alcorn’s Heaven. It is a book that brought me great comfort and is Biblically based. If you’d like to get a better visual on Diann’s eternal home, I recommend this book.

Thank you for allowing me to share a tribute on a beloved woman today. There are many others across the blog-o-sphere doing the same today, all about Diann. Do find and read their posts. You will be blessed.

 

Be Sweet ~ Same mom. Same dad. Completely different lives. Who’s to say which sister has it sweeter?

besweet

 

 

 

surrender

Bittersweet Surrender ~ Carly spends her days at a spa (okay, so she owns the place), she’s dating a hunk, and she’ssurrounded by chocolate. She’s living the dream . . . or is she?

 

 

For Better or Worse ~ She’s a wedding coordinator. He’s a divorce attorney. She begins marriages. He ends them. How could these two possibly find common ground.

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510ltTGrS7L._AA160_Hopeful Hearts ~ 2 delightful romances. Abigail O’Connor is determined to discover who left her as an infant on her adoptive parents’ doorstep—and why. Adelaide Sanborn longs for an adventurous life at sea, but society’s conventions prevent seafaring ventures for “respectable” women.

 

Love Letters in the Sand ~ Though the tide of World War II washed away her happily-ever-after dreams, years later, Eva Hilton dares to consider another chance at love.51fqDvzJL5L._AA160_

 

51wDSETJ5aL._AA160_Hot Flashes and Cold Cream ~ An eccentric best friend, a leaky Chihuahua, a teenager in trouble, and a workaholic husband with a gorgeous new colleague. Those are the ingredients for Diann Hunt’s wise and funny story about growing…well, older…with grace.

 

 

RV There Yet? ~ Life’s a journey. Midlife’s an adventure. But two weeks in a RV with the hot-flash sisters could drive anyone over the hill.41x9HlzwYxL._AA160_

 

feetHot Tropics and Cold Feet ~ When the going gets tough, the tough hit the beach. After years of being single, Lily’s about to head down the aisle again. But just as she’s about to take the plunge, she gets cold feet–ice cold.

 

 

Prayers & Pawprints ~ When two very special dogs descend on Acorn Hill, Alice wonders, could a dog be an answer to prayer?

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51VFxDISSFL._AA160_We Have This Moment ~ When one of the inn’s guests reunites with a long-lost beau, the former high school sweethearts get a second chance at love. But will their families accept their rekindled romance?

 

 

Smitten ~ Welcome to Smitten, Vermont. With the help of four friends, it’s about to become the most romantic town in America.

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5131up3d4lL._AA160_Smitten Shelby You’ve Got A Friend ~ When a group of friends devise a plan to turn Smitten, Vermont, into the country’s premier romantic getaway, Shelby finds her own true love along the way.

 

 

Knit One, Love Two ~ Winter, spring, summer, and fall, Smitten is a place for love  . . . and mystery. But will knit-store owner Anna ever find patience for either?51hTD1U-C8L._AA160_

 

51RRhBOW7GL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Secretly Smitten ~ Summer, fall, winter, spring—Smitten, Vermont, is the place for love . . . and mystery!

 

 

 

Smitten Book Club ~ The century-old Gentlewoman’s Guide to Love and Courtship is no ordinary book club choice. But for the little book club in Smitten, Vermont, it might be their best pick yet!

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51iaGsBGxcL._AA160_Delight Yourself in the Lord, Even on Bad Hair Days ~ Using the great and small “bad hair days” of life, the authors deliver reminders that the first step toward triumph is joy in the Lord. Whether single or married, career girl or stay-at-home mom, today’s Christian woman is faced with daily obstacles. Delight Yourself in the Lord……Even on Bad Hair Days is a devotional filled with upbeat reminders about infusing hope and joy in the Lord as the first step toward conquering life’s problems and chasing down the desires of your heart. Through 100 funny and thought-provoking devotions, the authors remind women to go back to the basics with God. And they even share a few private “bad hair confessions” along the way!

There are other authors/bloggers sharing their tributes today. Please visit them!

Carrie Turansky: http://carrieturansky.com/index.php/diann-hunt-day/

Lena Nelson Dooley: http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com

Trish Perry: www.trishperry.com

Julie Arduini: www.juliearduini.com

Bonnie Calhoun: http://bonniescalhoun.blogspot.com/

www.agatharemembered.blogspot.com

www.Writingcareercoach.com

Ane Mulligan: www.anemulligan.com

http://everythingwriterly.blogspot.com

http://writingonboard.com

Rachel Hauck: http://rachelhauck.com/blog/

Rose McCauley: www.rosemccauley.blogspot.com



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