Ask The Survivor: Memarie Gayle Reflects On Survivorship
Memarie Gayle, an ovarian cancer survivor is a singer/songwriter inspired by music, faith, and philanthropy. Memarie was busy with her career as a recording artist and was traveling the country for her stage shows, when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Always a strong believer of natural therapy, Memarie was initially hesitant to undergo the rigorous treatment that comes with ovarian cancer. However, when she discussed her concerns with her Doctor, her physician strongly encouraged her to pursue treatment to reduce the burden of her disease, to enhance her quality of life, and to give her a chance for longer survival. Faced with the dilemma of her physician’s perspective and her own belief in natural therapy, Memarie says she resorted to her faith, to show her the path and to guide her through the decision. Few days later, she had her surgery followed by chemotherapy. Now two years cancer-free, Memarie has found a new passion for creating. Today her jewelry line, Fearless Memories designs are worn and sought out by many other musicians and creatives. Memarie is a strong Supporter of Ovarcome!
Memarie spoke to us about Top 10 Concerns of Survivorship – Straight From A Survivor’s Desk.
Q: What in your opinion, are the top 10 concerns of Survivorship?
A: Survivorship concerns are real! I would list them as:
- Anxiety & Depression
- Immediate menopause
- Sexual problems
- Chemo brain
- Diet concerns
Q: What in your opinion, are the primary triggers of anxiety & depression?
A: I think anxiety and depression can be a result of physical changes like scarring, hormonal imbalances , weight gain or weight loss , sustained damage from treatments and certainly from the fear of recurrence.
Q: Do you have any suggestions for fellow Survivors in addressing the concerns of Survivorship?
A: Remember, your scars are someone else’s signs of hope.
Scarring from treatment is common. Treatment not just leads to emotional scars, but external/physical scars, as well as internal scarred tissues. Myofascial massage might help in alleviating some of these scars.
Fish oil, curcumin, Glucosamine Chondroitin can help with Arthritis. Many doctors now recommend alpha lipoic acid to patients to manage Neuropathy.
Try Essentials oils like Clary sage for hot flashes, and Lavender for relaxing and calming your nerves, and your body.
Sexual problems can be common due to body image issues like scars, weight gain or weight loss, vaginal dryness, and scarred tissues from surgery and/or radiation. I’d recommend considering coconut oil, prescription vaginal creams that help soften and rebuild vaginal walls (please consult your Doctor), as well vaginal wall therapy via dilators as helpful treatments for painful intercourse.
Chemo Brain is reported in a vast majority of Survivors. It could be manifested in the form of short term memory loss, difficulty concentrating, trouble with word finding, trouble multi-tasking, and taking longer to finish tasks. You can use memory aids – a planner or calendar, or reminders on your phone, exercise your body and your brain with puzzles or music. Research shows both listening to music or learning an instrument can stimulate the brain & improve memory. Eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest. Avoid multi-tasking!