Mammo Whamo

Guys, you can stop reading now. Really. I mean it. Going into women’s world and will be back in a bit. Until then, find a comfy chair and read something else. Or look bored. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. I’m probably not even supposed to write about it. I’m most likely breaking some female code. But I’m a rebel and I’m going there. Or should I say, I went? 

I experienced what hundreds thousands hundreds of thousands of women have already experienced and it wasn’t fun (even if the nurse was nice). It didn’t sound fun. Not when I was getting advice like, “Take a Motrin before you go” and “Don’t go when you’re PMS” (too late) etc. If I didn’t get advice, I got the look. A combo smirk riddled with pity from women with a long history of being squashed. I went anyway. Unprepared for the tiny band aids with silver beads that made me feel slightly burlesque (was that wrong?) or the plastic shelf that was smaller than I thought it would be or the tape to make sure they didn’t move an inch or the pain (everything relative to having given birth, twice) or the fact that my ribs/costo. didn’t like the weird angle for the sideways shots or that a machine was crushing squishing my girls! I was relieved to hear, “That’s it,” nodded my head, uttered a “thanks” (did I really say that?) and headed for the door.

I got the The Callback and returned for an ultrasound because of “an area that needs more evaluation.” Apparently, they can’t spell since the (s) was left off in areaS. Lucky me. I returned and was whisked off to the dimly lit “Sand Dollar” room (slight spa feel minus the bulky tech equipment). A witty nurse glopped warm slime on my chest and began her quest. She made small talk to try and take my mind off the fact that she was pausing, going over the same areas, and click, click, clicking images on the screen (oh, shit). I told her about my dad. How he was a prostate cancer survivor. How lucky I was to have him around. How his surgery had been in September. I closed my eyes and pretended not to notice the clicking (dammit) and tried to think of the ocean, the waves, the warm sand, sand dollars. . .okay, I was still there and a nurse was finding s-t-u-f-f.

“Oh, yes, very dense.”

“What, exactly?”

“The average woman is 180 thread count. You’re 800.” Lucky me.

“The doctor may come in and check when I’m done” (warning, warning, bells).

After 45 minutes of seek and find, she left and Doctor came in. A cute, baby faced guy (I was forewarned, not like it mattered) with a serious look shook my hand and promptly went to work.

Nurse: “Over there, 12 o’clock.”

Doctor:  “Oh, yes, two of them close together.”

Nurse:  “See that? Could be a third. That’s it for that one.” Next.

Doctor:  “Oh, another.” I twisted to look at the decent size black hole on the screen. Baby Face stopped to look at me.

“Good thing is I don’t see any vascular activity around them but you’ll need to come back in 6 months to be rechecked.” I exhaled. Lucky me.

I don’t know what I would have done had the Doctor uttered different words. Sentences with “needle” and “biopsy” in them. I didn’t feel brave. The clicking had scared me, senseless.

Every day, women go to have their girls crushed squished and some of them get The Callback. They have ultrasounds, get biopsies, and find out they have “c.” Their lives whirl before their eyes. They hear. They feel shock. The life they had before they walked into that office is now different. They fear. They tell themselves they will survive. They live. They are B-R-A-V-E.

“They” (some insurance companies) are now recommending that women get their first mammo at 50 yrs. of age (laughable really). I should have gone a few years ago but I was told I didn’t need to until I was 40. Be proactive about your health, ladies, and follow your instincts. Don’t let monopolies and big business determine when you should or should not establish your baseline. 

If you’d like to donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, just click the image below:

The Unknown

Dear Friends,

Today is it. The unknown stretches out like a blank canvas awaiting an artist’s brush.  Our waiting will  probably entail more waiting . . . for test results. Even though this anticipation has been lurking in the shadows for the last month, we had a great time celebrating life, independence, and personal freedom yesterday Positive thoughts and prayers are appreciated as we move closer to knowledge and, hopefully,a  negative biopsy for dad. Here’s to great U.S. doctors, amazing medical technology, and all of the things and people we take for granted (sometimes)! May we be reminded of wonderful people in our lives and strive to tell them daily, through our words and actions, how much they mean to us.

Love,

Pamela

EAT RIGHT CHALLENGE

I took the test and I’m taking the challenge.  How many of us could improve our health, well-being, and overall quality of life by eating better and taking care of ourselves So many of us are so concerned about our children, work, life, and trying to juggle a gazillion things that we neglect ourselves and our health!  Some of us have health challenges we have to manage and many of us don’t have any health issues (yet).  We can all learn something about getting on the right eating/nutrition track.  I encourage you to visit: EATRIGHTAMERICACHALLENGE.COM and enter this access code:  CERAFLBCA.  DO IT!!!!  If you’ve taken the challenge, post in the comment section below.  Americans are renowned for a lot of things and good health is not one of them! 

Check out What the World Eats from Time

WATER WARS

Water.  Yup, I was thinking about it today.  According to “experts,” I am supposed to consume eight glasses a day to maintain my health.  If this is the case, I probably should double the amount (cough, sniffle, cough). Then my mind wandered (get used to it, it’s how I roll) to Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower.  This sci-fi book (a favorite of mine) was published in 1993.  Yet, Butler anticipated what many of us are not aware of, water as a precious commodity.  Let me qualify that last statement, many people across the globe have known and are rudely reminded of that fact, each day.  We, here in the States, tend to forget or ignore this growing phenomenon.  Butler, through the genre of fiction, predicted what many concerned observers have taken note of; there is a grave likelihood we will experience shortages and possibly even water wars.  Forget about oil occupying our global focus.

Healthy water and access to it is another related issue.  About one billion people now drink contaminated water.  In 2/3rd world countries, ninety percent of waste enters fresh water supplies.  Talk about unsafe and nasty.  Imagine the smell!  India has to deal with this issue on a day-to-day basis.  If you drink Coke, you might want to think twice about it.  Not only is it bad for your health (remember, eight glasses of non-sugary water?), the company in India is hogging local water supplies (therefore depleting citizens of water) and was distributing its solid waste to farmers (waste filled with toxins such as lead and cadmium) to use as fertilizer.  Coca Cola was finally not allowed to do this.  But, they continue to use contaminated water in their Coke plants in India.  This water is used to make the sugary drink.  Nice, huh?

Anyway, next time we are told we can only wash our vehicles during certain times, have to run our sprinklers on specific days, and we are a little irritated when we can’t douse our flowers, we need to pause.  We should be grateful, here in the U.S., for the clean water we do have to drink and bathe in. Every time we put a glass to our lips we should remember the person (we are all part of that global humanity, right?) who is crouching down to slurp sewage.   This awareness can stir up agency and we could donate to an organization such as charity: water, Clean Water for Haiti, or any of the other dozens of NGO’s that help our brothers and sisters world-wide.  We could shut the faucet off when we Crest freshen our breath and clean our teeth.  Small actions of sustainability will help our own country (and our personal budgets through reduced water bills).  Let’s give it a shot.  What do we have to lose?  Or more importantly, what will we gain?  Health?  Improved local economies?  Lives saved?  Corporate, global accountability?