Community Connection: Ovarian Cancer Canada is looking for volunteers! Could you help?

OVdialogue – consider joining our team in the role of Community Champion. Over a few hours each week, you would be part of a team that helps connect people, support conversations and are thought leaders for OVdialogue. This is your opportunity to give back to those who have/continue to support you through the tough times, share your unique experiences, and help celebrate successes. For more details of what this entails, please reach out to @Mfallis (


Hello Everyone, There's a great deal of anxiety that comes with having ovarian cancer. I find some days easier than others. I use to find comfort in my sweet dog Ginger, but she passed away in June. She was there by my side through it all. Walking Ginger Was so good for my peace of mind, hers too I'm sure. I walk on my own now, but I really miss my side kick. 


  • Hi Birdee.  How sad that you have lost Ginger.  Pets are amazing companions particularly when you are feeling low.  Have you considered getting another animal?  And, yes, anxiety comes in many forms when diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  When you are having a rough day, how do you handle it? 
  • I would love to get another dog someday, but we can't afford the expense of having a dog right now. We adopted a little red kitten from our local pet shelter, his name is Milo. He's sweet as can be, but I'm still missing my Ginger so much. Trying to keep busy helps with anxiety. Spending time with family also helps. There are times though, I feel very alone with my anxiety. It's a constant challenge to keep it in-check. Having incurable cancer is scary. I think about my kids a lot and what the past 5 years has done to them. It's hard to quiet the mind at times. 
  • @birdee Milo sounds very sweet.  I am a cat person too but understand that you still miss Ginger.  Some of the other women have talked about their pets - @AmandaRoseRebs @KarenL @Jackie - how have your animals helped you through your cancer journey.  Have you had to handle losing a pet?  

    The anxiety is hard too.  @Flowergirl @K_BrancOV @WandaB  Have you experienced any anxiety around your diagnosis and living with ovarian cancer?  How do you deal with it?  Any thoughts or tips to share?
  • What beautiful colouring!  Great picture - thanks for posting it.  
  • Have you considered looking into your local shelter? Most shelters will allow you to come in as a volunteer and just walk/play with the dogs - it might be a great way to get that time in with a pup (I'm a dog person, I get it) and help some rescue pups receive the love and attention that they crave so much
  • JaneWest
    you can also foster dogs. I don't know if I could do that though, it might be hard to give them back! My dog and cat are constant companions for me, and keep me laughing every day. In this photo, they are lying on my legs - they do this a lot! I am so sorry you lost your cat - they are incredible animals. Your Milo looks so much like my Milo!!
  • JaneWest
    In terms of anxiety, I understand what you are saying because it definitely increased for me as well since being diagnosed. My mind jumps all over the place sometimes, and it requires much effort to calm it down, and to not let it get too wild. I have developed certain ideas over time that I go back to, which usually help reduce the anxiety. Also, strategies like distracting myself  - if I can get myself distracted with something, it can break the train of thought. Some days are just incredibly hard though. When I went through a particularly dark few days recently, I kept reminding myself it had happened before, and it did eventually pass. I hope this website can help you, and I, and others, when we do feel alone. It helps to connect with people who understand, and have had similar experiences.
  • @JaneWest - Half the animals that have come through my house (mine and my mothers) are 'foster fails'.... although at my mother's house there have been hundreds of fosters go through there so I suppose the ratio isn't that bad haha
  • Flowergirl
    Thanks everyone for those photos - yes, those fur friends help with the anxiety. I had quite at time and really didn't appreciate / like or understand the anxiety label - I was going with trauma and PTSD based on what happened to me. All the support groups I attended have helped, talking and really looking at all the information, group therapy support sessions with psych-social support workers, and the passage of time has helped. I also did some art therapy and physio / yoga. I can offer that you be open to all types of help / resources and go with what works for you. And if you can't find what you are looking for - shout it out and hope everyone can share.

  • I forgot to add my babies - I never want to miss the chance to share them!!! These are my pups: 
  • JaneWest
    @Jackie, what a beauty!!
  • Love torties @Jackie - I have two here, one with shorter hair like yours and one with long hair    
  • Our pets are long gone and I dearly would have loved to have my dog over this last year. She was such a cuddle and comfort to have around.

    The further away from the diagnosis and treatment that I get, I find my brain is settling down and I am not as obsessed with this disease as I was during treatment and the months following. I've started taking yoga classes and practicing a LOT of deep breathing exercises. It seems to have helped.  I'm able to do more physically - walking, housework etc without becoming drained and exhausted. Taking a walk always helps my spirits. I know that's not always possible during treatment - but even on the bad days during chemo I tried to even walk to the end of the driveway and back, or around the house a few times to get the blood flowing and keep my muscles moving.

  • I have chronic depression and anxiety which started long before the cancer and surprisingly, didn't find it get worse during treatment only afterwards as I had no energy for anything.  I would walk around our courtyard with the dog at least once a day while having treatments and during this time one of the cats got in the habit of walking with us. Neko, white cat and Ella out one day.

  • Something that I found helpful for anxiety is meditation.  My daughter told me about an app called Headspace. If you download the app, you get 10 free sessions. Once you get past the introductory sessons, they have a number of sessions for dealing with specific issues, such as anxiety, sports, cancer, etc. 
  • Just before my cancer journey started, I retired from work. One of the projects I wanted to do in retirement was write a book. As things progressed from surgery to a cancer diagnosis, it became a "getaway" for me and the final goal was to have the book finished by my last chemo treatment. I missed by a month, but did it! I wrote another one (both romance novels) this past year and am currently finishing the final edits before I send for printing. These projects have been a great escape. I'll never see the Best Seller List, but it's been fun and a learning experience. And maybe a new addiction - I've already started putting together some ideas for number three!
  • During the day I'm fine. As soon as I lay down in bed at night my anxiety sky rocket and the dark depressing thoughts start rolling in. Most of the time I'm able to still fall asleeep within half an hour or so but it's not fun and happens every night. 
  • @terrylee - I was the same way for a very long time. I would fall asleep and awaken a while later and all I could think about was cancer, treatment, doctor appointments and the list went on.  It does get better - at least the night time thought parade faded away - but I still do have trouble waking in the night.
  • @kastoyles it's nice to know the anxiety will get better, it already is, no where near as intense as it used to be. 
  • I just joined this dialogue group this evening and I am looking forward to finding comfort with people who know exactly what I am going through.  It is so easy to feel alone on this journey.  I'm glad I found you.

  • Hi @Ro122.  Welcome to OVdialogue!  We're glad you found this community too!  It can be a very isolating experience when diagnosed with cancer and particularly ovarian cancer as many women have either never heard of the disease until they are diagnosed with it and/or have never met someone else who has been diagnosed with it too.  You might want to go to the discussion called "Let's Get Started: Come Introduce Yourself".  You can tell a little bit about yourself, read about other members and begin to connect with them as you have here in this discussion on anxiety.  You can use the @mention function to identify someone you want to respond to and/or you can send someone a private message.  You can also share your story in your profile.  You mention that you are looking forward to connecting with people who know exactly what you are going through.  Are there particular things you are dealing with that you would like to hear about from others or talk about yourself?
  • Hilarious pictures of the pets.  I love looking at everyone's pets . I envy everyone with pets.  I am by myself battling this and have never owned a pet.  I am not working right now so I cannot afford a pet which I know would be beneficial to me.  Enjoy your pets everyone. 
  • Jeannie
    Anxiety is an issue I have battled with for years.  It did get worse after my initial diagnosis but my family Dr increased the dosage of my meds and it helped a lot. I realize that not every person wants to be on meds, but if the anxiety is severe you may want to consider it.  I have had my dosage decreased now and even though I have been going through more treatment, my anxiety seems to be fairly well controlled.  I also pray, use deep breathing exercises and do yoga when I am well enough.  These all seem to help with anxiety and panic attacks.  
    I sure hope you ladies that are struggling with anxiety can find some help.  :)
  • Jeannie
    This is my girl Grace Joy.  She is a purebred Havanese and is 2 years old.  Gracie is an absolutely sweet, gentle little dog and she has been a huge help to me.  (She hated the bows, by the way! Lol!!!) 
  • I've found that if I listen to an audio book at night, I can fall asleep faster; it allows my head to shut off.  I set the timer for 30 minutes and I'm out in 15.  The downside is I often have to rewind to figure out what is happening in the book the next day.
    Also, I have a houseful of pets... which is both cathartic and incredibly chaotic.  Here are a few: 
  • midcanada
    Those animals are just beautiful......especially the spotted cats!   Are the cats siblings?
    They must bring you much comfort.