Friday, February 1, 2013

Karen Ingalls: Outshining Cancer With God's Help

Everyone's Story greets this week's guest, Karen Ingalls, with a big warm welcome and   applause for fighting and surviving ovarian cancer. This disease is a personal one for me since my mother died of ovarian cancer just a few weeks past her 46th birthday. For my mother it was an illness first diagnosed in late term, which is sadly often the case with ovarian cancer, the cancer synonymous with the term "the silent cancer" because many of its symptoms are masked. Karen, a retired registered nurse, shares her tips on outshining this disease--with God's help. Please share Karen's story with all women--be it family or friends--whom you love and treasure.

By Karen Ingalls

For many years I have used the term challenge, rather than problem, difficulty, issue, or trouble.  It seems to have a more constructive ring to it. I have faced sexual abuse, alcoholic parents, un-timely deaths of loved ones, divorce, and more recently ovarian cancer, which was diagnosed in June 2008. I did not know much about this cancer, which is true for most women.

Do you know the symptoms of ovarian cancer?

*abdominal or pelvic bloating
*abdominal or pelvic pain
*feeling full soon after eating
*urinary or bowel changes
*painful intercourse

Many women will complain about one or more of these symptoms, which mimic premenstrual, ovulation, menopausal, back injury, etc., and so they are often ignored. If they persist for more than 2 weeks, it is recommended that medical attention be pursued. Please do not ignore them, especially if you have a family history of ovarian, breast, or colon cancer. Too many women are diagnosed in the late stages and therefore the mortality rate is quite high. (Go to or for more information and lists of resources in your area.

When I heard the words, “You have cancer. I am so sorry,” I reacted with shock and despair. However, two days later I was ready to meet this challenge with the same resources I used to face the abuse, divorce, and family dynamics. My resources are:

*GOD was and is my most important source of guidance and comfort.

*Meditation/relaxation: Without my faith in God, all the other resources are empty “vials of medicine.” Would I really be able to relax my whole being if my heart does not carry God’s Love in it? Knowing God’s love for me allows me to go deep within myself and listen to His words; to feel His arms around me; and to lay my head on His shoulder.

*Positivity: How would I protect myself from negativity if I could not surround myself with the Christ spirit? I have never liked being around complainers, whiners, or those who often have something bad to say about someone else. Have I ever felt sorry for myself? Of course, but I do not like myself when I am in such a mood, and I do believe that positive thinking and acting is the healthy way to live.

*Humor. God wants us to smile, laugh, or giggle. God does smile down upon us when He sees us following His word. Laughter is the best medicine, because it releases endorphins, which help to heal the body giving a sense of wellbeing. I often watch The Carol Burnett Show, I Love Lucy, Laurel & Hardy, and such funny shows.

*Exercise/Nutrition: I believe my body is the vessel in which my soul resides, so I want to take excellent care of it by exercising and eating nutritious food. My body prefers yoga and brisk walking for exercise, which I returned to one week after my surgery beginning in small increments. Early on in my recovery I ate 5 small meals a day; ate lots of fruit and vegetables; drank Ensure; and avoided processed sugar. I have returned to 3 meals a day, eating the same diet without the Ensure, and enjoy maintaining my weight and energy levels.

*Family/Friends: Certain people have had powerful and long lasting affects on me. There are too many to mention, but those who had negative affects were not believers in God. The opposite is true for those who touched my life with love and kindness.  I am blessed to have a wonderful and supportive family, and friends that are always there for me.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross is quoted as saying, “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.” For me, that light is God.  For me “the beauty of the soul, the real me and the real you, outshines the effects of cancer, chemotherapy,” or any challenge you or I might face.    

Viewers: Karen looks forward to hearing an encouraging word or perhaps another success story in the fight against ovarian cancer.
Karen's book, OUTSHINE: AN OVARIAN CANCER MEMOIR is a personal, medical, and spiritual book that will provide the reader with information about ovarian cancer. She will share about her struggles and triumphs; how humor, positive thinking, family, friends, and most importantly, God, helped her to cope; and resources that have been informative and supportive.  Proceeds go to directly to ovarian cancer research.

From Feb. 1-5, 2013, you may purchase her book at a discount rate through by entering “Outshine” in the coupon code box.

Author Bio:
Karen Ingalls is a retired registered nurse with a master’s degree in human development. Her primary nursing career focus was in epilepsy and hospice. For over twenty years she had her own nursing service called Kare ‘N Touch.

You can visit with Karen at:


  1. What an inspiring testimony, Karen. You are such a blessing with your God-positive attitude!

    1. Pat, that Karen is--a true inspiration!

      Thanks for your visit--hope all is well :)

    2. Thank you, Pat, for your kind thoughts and wishes. God bless you.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story Karen! You are an amazing woman:-)

    1. Welcome to Everyone's Story, Winsome ♡ Thanks for becoming a Follower. You just brightened my day.

    2. Everyone faces challenges and cancer was one of mine. It has taught me to appreciate the beauty of life, it has introduced me to some amazing people, and I have found an important mission in my "retirement" years; which is to spread the word about ovarian cancer. Thank you for your support, Winsome.

    3. Karen, your perspective on challenges--especially fighting cancer--is so emotionally healthy. Thanks for showing us how to be brave, how to face life with all its pluses and minuses.

  3. You have said it well! I am currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer. I am fortunate because it was found early. I went to the doctor with a knee issues. She realized I was way overdue for a mammogram and insisted I have one. Oddly enough, my knee issue is hardly a factor anymore. A positive attitude. laughter, enjoying life, surrounding ourselves with beauty, and accepting God's grace are the best coping mechanisms and don't cost a cent. I have reposted with link to Elaine's blog.

    1. Linda, my prayers and thoughts are with you. What a blessing that your doctor was proactive. Each time any of us share our story, we help another person.
      God bless you.

    2. Linda, thanks for your visit and strong, encouraging words. Amazing how the body works--I've heard so many say how they've gone to the doctor for one problem only to have found a more serious one. For instance, a friend of ours wife had a horrible kidney stone that they had to surgically remove. When the surgeon opened her up he found that the kidney actually was full of a malignant cancer. The kidney was removed, the cancer successfully did not spread, and many years later this woman is fine.

      God bless you both.

  4. Karen, what a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing. Humor is so often overlooked, but it truly can be healing! And I love that quote by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. -Hanna

    1. Hanna, I appreciate your visit to Everyone's Story. May you have a beautiful day.

    2. There was a popular book many years ago called Laughter Is The Best Medicine. It was well researched and had a big impact on me.
      Thank you, Hanna, for sharing your thoughts. Your comment is appreciated.

  5. Karen, it has been an honor and delight having you guest on Everyone's Story this past week. Thank you for taking the step beyond yourself to give to so many by educating others on ovarian cancer, as well as encouraging anyone with cancer to outshine this disease. I pray you may never see ill health again. And I pray that one day soon they may find a cure for cancer. May God bless you and keep you in His heart, always.

    1. Thank you, Elaine, for the invitation to do this blog. It is only through information about ovarian cancer that women can be in tune to possible symptoms. I also welcome any opportunity to provide hope and inspiration.
      Everyone's Story is a wonderful site to hear about the journeys of so many people. God bless you and your work.


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