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Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir

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Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir
When Karen Ingalls was diagnosed with Stage IIC ovarian cancer, she realized how little she knew about what is called "the silent killer." As Ingalls began to educate herself she felt overwhelmed by the prevalent negativity of cancer. Lost in the information about drugs, side effects, and statistics, she redirected her energy to focus on the equally overwhelming blessings of life, learning to rejoice in each day and find peace in spirituality.

In this memoir, Karen is a calming presence and positive companion, offering a refreshing perspective of hope with the knowledge that "the beauty of the soul, the real me and the real you, outshines the effects of cancer, chemotherapy, and radian. It is a story of survival and reminds readers that disease is not an absolute, but a challenge to recover.
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About the Book

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Endorsements
I am often hesitant to read memoirs or autobiographies, especially those of a medical nature, because I worry that they will contain medical jargon that will make them more sterile and statistical than compelling. This was definitely NOT one of those books.

The author chose to go a different route and focus more on her emotional journey through ovarian cancer rather than the medical side of it. I very much appreciated that. Her words of wisdom, encouragement, and strength poured through every single page to the level that anyone who is going through any turmoil or tough situation can relate to. That's powerful writing talent!

Here are a couple of my favorite lines from this book:

I have learned that any rain that falls in my life is just droplets, and it's up to me whether I will let those droplets flood away my spirit. Sometimes we need to build levees through more prayer, erect dams for permanent changes so the soul can grow, do a dance to pray for more sun to heal any wounds, or just take an umbrella to give temporary protection as we build up our strength and will.

Dad taught me to be strong and resourceful. Now I needed to embrace those qualities not as a cancer victim, but as a survivor.

If we don't learn our lessons the first time, then life will keep bringing us new opportunities to learn.

I love how the author wove in various moments of the impact she made on others through simple choices she made in how to deal with her cancer in the everyday world, as well as the impact made on her through the surprising kindness of others in reaction to her illness.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is dealing with a tough situation right now, no matter the cause. It's inspiring and heartfelt.

The first word of the title of the book Outshine reminded me of a song I learned in Sunday School years ago, “I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land that Outshines the Sun.”

“My journey with ovarian cancer has had its valley and mountaintops, its darknesses and rays of sunshine.” I thank Author Karen Ingalls for sharing her fight against the silent killer, ovarian cancer. Thank you for your bravery and openness- you are indeed outshining cancer.

Author Ingalls begins her story with D Day, the day she was diagnosed as a result of her routine annual checkup. In a calm, and reassuring manner, she tells the entire story from diagnosis, to surgery, chemotherapy and follow up. She not only tells about the medical aspects, but also is open about how she and her husband dealt with their feelings of grief and worry. The information that she shares would be helpful and comforting for anyone facing a health problem, as well as their family and friends.

The author listed characteristics of a survivor personality, including a strong spiritual belief, sense of humor, good nutrition and exercise, and openness to new experiences. I don’t mean to minimize the challenge and suffering that goes with a cancer diagnosis, but these characteristics are good for all of us to practice. Throughout the book the author describes how she filled her life with these physical and spiritual practices during her diagnosis, treatment, recovery and beyond.

“After I completed chemotherapy, it was my time to declare victory over cancer. I won the battle and only time would tell if I won the war. I feel great.” The book ends with the author realizing that she has lot to live for. She plans to organize her family photos, pass on kindness to people she meets, and knit afghans and shawls for chemo patients. She has also written and published two award-winning novels. She is doing her best to thrive.

The memoir also includes a list of recommended resources, and an Appendix with ovarian cancer warning signs, and risk factors. I highly recommend this book for readers who have a personal need to learn more about cancer and for anyone who wants to be inspired as to how to live a meaningful life in the face of a serious situation.
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