An “Italy-Inspired” Table Setting & A Special Story

Welcome to the 358th Tablescape Thursday!

Terri and Johnny just returned from Italy and that wonderful trip was the inspiration for today’s tablescape. They had been planning this trip for a while but it had to be put on hold for a bit. As we enjoy Terri’s beautiful table setting created for a dinner with family after their return, I’ll let Terri tell you why she celebrates each and every day with joy.

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“My name is Terri and I’m 59 years old. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in June of 2012 after undergoing what I thought would be a routine hysterectomy. I had been spotting after 5 years of menopause and had immediately gone in to see my gynecologist. Due to the family history of ovarian cancer (my mother fought it), my doctor did an ultrasound, which showed my right ovary to be a bit enlarged. She also did a CA-125 blood test, which showed a normal result.

When she said I should have all my girl parts out just to be on the safe side, I asked if I should go and see a gynecological oncologist.  She said he was slammed with patients, it would be several months before he could see me, and he would ask why she was referring me since nothing pointed to cancer.  I agreed to surgery and did really well.”

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“The huge surprise came a week later, when the pathology report diagnosed my small “cyst” as Granulosa Cell Tumor (GCT), a very rare type of ovarian cancer. There isn’t much known about GCT and the gynecological oncologist I was then referred to gave me the gamut of options: watch and wait, assume cells were left behind and start chemo, or have a second look staging surgery. I decided to travel to MD Anderson to get a second opinion.

The doctors there encouraged me to have a second look surgery so the cancer could be staged and I did so. All biopsies and pelvic washings were negative for cancer, so I did not undergo chemo. I was classified as a stage Ic, which is highly unusual. Most ovarian cancer isn’t caught until it’s late stage.”

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“I wanted to be active in getting the word out, so I applied and was accepted to be an advocate leader for the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. I’ve traveled to DC on three occasions to advocate for increased funding for ovarian research and awareness.” (That’s Terri in the center.)

Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, Washington D.C.


“I was in remission for one year before my blood work showed a slow but steady increase in my Inhibins, indicating recurrence. CA-125 wasn’t and still isn’t a marker for me. It’s the best test they have, but it isn’t that reliable. I had several scans over a period of months before the tumors were large enough to be detected and had a third surgery a year ago to have all visible cancer removed. The doctor really pushed chemo this time, so I had chemo treatments from November through the end of January.

My scans showed two small one centimeter tumors and some small seedlings in my pelvis that chemo did not touch.  It was basically a failure.  I started a clinical trial in March that combines Avastin and an aromatase inhibitor, and my cancer has been stable since then. What a blessing!!!”

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Terri wants to get the word out about what women should watch for since ovarian cancer is so dangerously hard to detect until it’s often reached advances stages. The symptoms are: Bloating, Pelvic or Abdominal pain, Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly and urinary symptoms like urgency or frequency.

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Terri said,, “Any woman who has these symptoms for more than 12 times during the course of one month should see their doctor, preferably a gynecologist.”

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“Ovarian cancer is deadly. More than 20,000 women are diagnosed each year and 14,000 die each year.”

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“A Pap smear does NOT detect ovarian cancer. There is no screening test at the current time.  Awareness of symptoms is key!”

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“Johnny and I decided to take that dream trip to Italy that we’d been planning, and my doctor gave his approval.”



“We sandwiched in two glorious weeks in Italy between the treatments that I have every three weeks.”



“It’s a beautiful country!”



Terri, thanks so much for sharing your beautiful, “Italy-inspired” table setting with all of us for Tablescape Thursday. And thank you for sharing your story and information on what symptoms women should watch for when it comes to ovarian cancer.

My sister had ovarian cancer in her early 30’s and was one of the lucky ones who beat it. It’s my hope that they one day find a reliable test to diagnose this type of cancer early the way mammograms are helpful in diagnosing breast cancer. In the meantime, we’ll heed your advice and pay attention when our bodies are sending us signs that something could be amiss.

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Because we want and need a lot more days like this! 🙂



Looking forward to the wonderful tables posted for this Tablescape Thursday!

Tablescape Thursday

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  1. Susan, such a beautiful story! Wow, so hard to detect her type too, when this kind of cancer is such a hard one to detect. Thanks for sharing this inspiring story. May we all be more aware.
    So glad they could have such a wonderful time in beautiful Italy and then to recreate those memories through their table. I just adore the darling fish plates!

  2. Hi Susan,
    Thank you Susan and Terri for sharing this lovely tablescape and very important message to all your readers.
    Best wishes to Terri for a very successful treatment.

    Thank you for hosting,

  3. Susan (and Terri) – Thank you so much for sharing this post with everyone. I certainly hope that it will reach the ears of someone who may need to hear this warning. I pray Terri will have a full recovery. What a wonderful thing you both are doing by spreading the word of this awful disease and alerting others to the symptoms. Wishing you both a blessed week.
    P.S. – the tablescape is lovely. I so enjoyed my trip to Italy and it brought back some wonderful memories.

  4. Susan, Thanks for sharing Terri’s story and beautiful table.

  5. What a lovely tablescape. Love the lemons in the hurricanes and napkins. I know fish is a big staple there so those dishes are perfect!
    I’m so glad Terry is doing well. It’s a shame they haven’t come up with a better way of testing for it. My blogging friend Linda from went through this too about 13 years ago. She’s doing great and is another success story. What a wonderful vacation to have taken. We helped our daughter go to Italy after high school and she loved it. Our foreign exchange student was from Naples and she had free lodging with her family. They managed to get to Venice too which is a dream in itself. Thank you for putting out more information regarding ovarian cancer and things to be aware of. Every little bit helps!

  6. Congratulations on beating this thing and constantly getting better, Terri. Thanks for sharing this story with us and giving us hope. I pray everything works out completely but I’m also about being grateful for where you are right now.

  7. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    Terri, so sorry for your ordeal. You look so beautiful in your pictures, one would never know you were sick! Very glad to hear it seems to be in remission and let’s hope it stays that way. And thanks too for sharing the symptoms. I didn’t realize ovarian cancer was so difficult to detect. Sharing those symptoms will surely save lives.

    And your table scape is lovely. I love the way the napkins pick up all the colors of the plates and the lemons, as well. And those lacy, open weave chargers are so interesting. Thanks for sharing both your success story and the table scape.

  8. Pretty table! Many thanks to Terri for sharing her story and information. Prayers to Terri for good health, with another trip to Italy in their future!

  9. Thank you for sharing this very informative post. I’m so glad she beat this terrible disease! I also LOVE the table setting, gorgeous!

  10. Thank you so much for this inspiring story, Susan and Terri. I am hlad Terri’s ca was detected early….Christine

  11. Thank you Susan and Terri! The table is beautiful and I am so happy that you are doing well. Be Blessed!

  12. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us. You may have saved some lives. This table is just perfect. I like the textures and colors so much. I can imagine lingering long into the night with friends and family around this table. Blessings to you both.

  13. Thank you for sharing their wonderful story and table Susan. I especially loved seeing how she used the fish plates at every other place, and the wonderful earthy colors~perfect for an rustic Italian table. I know you are anxious to get going on your trip too! Thanks for the table top fun

  14. Thank you for sharing Teri’s very touching story. I’m so glad that in spite of the cancer and her treatments, she and her husband managed to take a fabulous trip to Italy. From her photos, looks like they spent time in Venice and Positano (on the Amalfi coast). I really like her simple tablescape with the lemons, fish, and green dishes. It creates a great feeling of being on the Amalfi coast. Have a great day!

  15. This is a great reminder to both live life to the fullest and to pay attention to our health. I love the table setting, and I wish Terri all the very best!

  16. Susan, Terri’s story is so important to all women, thank you for giving her the opportunity to share this lifesaving information with us. The Italy inspired tablescape that she created has the look and feel of the Italian countryside. The warm earthy colors and the lovely china are lovely. I especially love the fish plates and the napkins.

  17. Susan, Just a FYI – I did not receive an Email for your July 30st post (this post) I did receive your July 29th post with no problem – FeedBlitz either wants me to create an account with them or wants my Gmail address and password. I don’t know which but I certainly will not give FeedBlitz my Gmail password (and I have no idea why suddenly I would need an account and a password anyway). I have checked my junk mail and I have been hitting the refresh button – but I still have not received yesterdays post. I have received posts from other blogs yesterday and today but not yours. I have been receiving your posts by email for years with no problem and I would miss them dearly. Any suggestions to remedy this problem would be appreciated. I will be checking my feeds from other blogs to see if any other posts are MIA. Thanks….. Candy

  18. Thanks for sharing Terri’s story ans beautiful table. It is a good thing to have these symptoms laid out for us. I hope they come up with a test soon!!! I also hope I can get a table done to share at next week’s party. Joe had hip replacement on Mon. so I have been MIA in the blogging worls. XO

    • Pinky, I hope Joe is making a speedy recovery! I’ve met so many folks lately who are having either knee replacements or hip replacements. We are so lucky to be living during a time when those can be done.

  19. Keep Fighting Terri!!

    And now I will go and watch Letter to Juliette again. Such a romantic story

  20. Hi, ladies! Thanks for all of your kind words. Just for clarification, I haven’t yet beaten ovarian cancer but I’m holding stable with no tumor progression and that’s something to CELEBRATE! Thanks again, Susan, for helping get the word out!

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