The Journey

Love Prayer Strength

Thanks for joining us!

This website has been created to follow and support Tif’s journey as she takes on her recently diagnosed Ovarian Cancer (OC).

Tif was diagnosed on Monday June 11th, 2018.

Since that day many of her friends got on their phones, searched the web, called in their chips and within one week she was at five of the top hospitals on the East Coast (Memorial Sloan Kettering, NYU Langone Center, Mount Sinai, Columbia University Medical Center, Dana Farber/Brigham and Women’s Hospital) and visiting the top Ovarian Cancer specialists and in the field.  On Monday June 25th, after weighing the many the pro’s and con’s of each hospital (and they were mostly all pro’s) Tif decided upon Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) with Dr. Ginger Gardner (surgeon) and Dr. Chrisann Kyi (oncologist) heading her treatment team.

Ovarian Cancer is known as the Silent Killer but our Tif is known as the Silent Slayer 😉 

Many of you are probably asking “How in the heck did this happen?”,  (don’t know?, genetic link?, roll of the dice?), “Were there any signs?” (all the signs are just regular old signs of being a gal – see below symptoms of ovarian cancer), “Did she go for regular check-ups?” (heck YEAH!!!).  Just to reinforce how silent this cancer is, Doctors told Tif that the cancer probably manifested itself within past six months to a year .  By the time most women learn they have it, it has spread from ovaries to other parts of the body –  a fast moving cancer that needs to be aggressively attacked and not treated with kit gloves!


How Tif Found Out

Tif and Doug were away in Colorado with Teaghan, who was trying out for the USA U17 Olympic basketball team in late May.  When they returned Tif was having trouble breathing but attributed it to the altitude switch from CO to NY.  She was also extremely tired but chalked that up to being a working mom, traveling, running around and just plain old not getting enough sleep.  On June 7th she realized something was “up” due to her labored breath and exhaustion and went to the doctors.  While there they thought she pneumonia because her right lung was filled with fluid.  They then recommended draining her lung because in the interim her right lung collapsed due to weight of fluid.   In medical speak, Tif had pleural effusion.  A pleural effusions is the buildup of extra fluid between the lungs and the chest wall.  When cancer grows in the pleural space, it causes a malignant pleural effusion.  This pleural effusion is treatable and thank goodness they took care of it that day.  It is because of that fluid build up and collapsed lung that the doctors knew something was wrong.  They then sent off the fluid to have it anaylzed and on Monday June 11th they called her in and asked her to come in and have a CAT scan. Within an hour of her being home from the scan they called her up to tell her that she had metastatic bilateral ovarian cancer.  Not the call anyone ever wants to get/hear.

What is Ovarian Cancer?

  • Ovarian cancer develops in the ovaries, which are the female reproductive glands that produce eggs during a woman’s reproductive years. The ovaries also produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Ovarian cancer develops when cells in the ovaries begin to grow out of control.

Until recently, doctors viewed ovarian cancer as the deadliest silent killer in women, as it is usually discovered after spreading beyond the primary tumor site. But new evidence shows that it is treatable AND can go into remission.

The warning signs of ovarian cancer mock common conditions including irritable bowel syndrome and stress.  If you have any symptoms (see below) for longer than a couple weeks, call your doctor.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer

  • Bloating
  • Increased abdominal size
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Difficulty eating
  • Feeling full quickly
  • labored breathing
  • exhaustion

For more information on detecting ovarian cancer, click here.

Tif’s Treatment

Tif started treatment this Wednesday (6/27/18) at MSK in NYC.  Her treatment will involve three drugs (Carboplatin , Paclitaxel and Bevacizumab, also known as Avastin) every 21 days.  Her chemotherapy will be an all day affair. The plan so far is the following (but as we all know plans are always fluid):

  • three to four rounds of chemo
  • surgery
  • three more cycles of chemo
  •  assess where she is (Goal — cancer GONE!)


What can you do?

This site has been created to keep you all updated, so that you can send her your good thoughts, and positive energy, share your inspirational words of encouragement, and for you to be a part of Team Tif as we carry her in prayer and cradle her in love as she takes on this journey to a cancer free Tif.

Looking forward to hearing from you all. Team Tif makes no cuts and all get to play, a very active roll — very similar to the way her dad, Tom O’Toole coached and lived his life.

love prayer strong

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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