You now probably think I’ve gone crazy in the head as I seem to have skipped January through April. The reality is a much sadder story.
Pat, who would originally have received her blocks in May was diagnosed with ovarian cancer prior to the start of the F2F swap. She still wanted to participate because it gave her a goal and something to look forward to. Unfortunately, her condition has recently deteriorated rather quickly and it is very likely that she will not make it till May.
When we found out it was quickly decided that the swap would be rearranged immediately. So last week everyone dropped whatever they were doing and quickly made up some blocks in tan and teal (the colour of the Ovarian cancer awareness ribbon) and shipped them off to Sue.
I made 5 blocks since Pat can no longer make her blocks and 36 blocks are needed to complete the quilt top. In a frantic sewing session I completed 3 and ¾ block in a single evening and completed the 4th and 5th the next morning. Pictures were taken in just minutes and the blocks were shoved into an envelope before I rushed off to work. Let’s just say it’s a good thing my job doesn’t require me to clock in at a specific time.
Sue will do the piecing and binding of the quilt top and the quilting will be done by her son who has a longarm business. Hopefully, Pat will receive her quilt in time to enjoy it for a little while. Eventually it will most likely be donated to the Ovarian Quilt Project where it will be auctioned to raise money to educate the public about the risk factors and symptoms of ovarian cancer. Since it takes some time for the blocks to reach Sue and the piecing and quilting will then take some more time, Kate already made a virtual quilt from all the pictures that we took of our blocks.
Because I’m a scientist and therefore like facts and numbers I looked up some information about ovarian cancer. In the Netherlands around 1200 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer annually. Most women are diagnosed when they are 55-80 years old, but it can also affect much younger women. Especially women that carry mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have an increased risk of ovarian cancer and are advised to have their ovaries removed when they are 35-45 years old as a preventive measure. You may already have heard of BRCA1 and BRCA2 before because mutations in these genes also increase the risk of breast cancer.
One of the nasty things about ovarian cancer is that it can remain undetected for a very long time as the disease is usually asymptomatic in the early stages. When symptoms finally develop they are usually vague and could also have many other causes. Symptoms include a bloated feeling, feeling full or difficulty eating, nausea, pelvic or abdominal pain, frequent urination and severe constipation.
I got my information from kanker.nl (a Dutch platform where patients can find information about cancer and interact with other patients to share experiences) and the website of the Dutch cancer institute (both websites are in Dutch).