Friday, April 17, 2015
I carry the BRCA2 genetic mutation. I am, as well as millions of others worldwide, genetically predisposed to have breast and/or ovarian cancer. Additionally, both men and women have a higher risk of pancreatic and colon cancers and melanoma. 2007 I was one of probably 1000's of women globally who underwent mastectomies to save their lives. Before Rita, before Angelina, before anyone thought much of Facebook as a support system.
Up until now, there were forums through very few organizations that we could express ourselves. Thank goodness for FORCE, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (facingourrisk.org). There, we could express our concerns, our joys, our anxieties. Even at their website, there were precious few examples of these surgeries to view. I found consolation and hope there. But what about real life photos in real time where it could be discussed?
Enter Facebook and the ability to have closed, private groups. Plus the policy that allowed photos of breastfeeding AND mastectomies. In case you didn't know, even though the one group that has over 4,500 members in their closed, private status, there are pictures that get reported as inappropriate.
BRCA Sisterhood was created to be a safe haven to express ourselves and get help during these tragic times. How do we do we accomplish this without putting our own photos out there? In 2007, I wish I had that ability to take a photo and ask other BRCA mutants, "What is that?!" For some reason, even after been presented with rules and guidelines of the group, some photos are reported, by our own group members! The result is that the Facebook and Group member is prevented from posting at all.
Now you tell me, Facebook police, how will that member be able to take solace being placed in "jail" so to speak. You have just dashed any spark of light from this woman who was reaching out. Facebook has just denied its own policies because it's being run by robots. Where is the human interaction that is required to review these images?
I'm saddened and dismayed that Facebook has been so reduced to a jumble of 1's and 0's like any other computer program. In these cases, I think there MUST be human intercession.
We need more people to write about this problem. Protest! Shout out! Have my blog post and others go viral!
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
There are all kinds of fears. Fear of loss. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Whether it's with Life, Loved Ones or your J.O.B.
Let's touch on the fear of success.
This one is a tough one to deal with because it doesn't
manifest itself clearly in your mind like the fear of failure.
Fear of failure you can see, touch, and feel.
Fear of success just lurks on you, hidden below your
What's the best way to overcome the fear of success?
Just go. Move.Take action. Forget that fear even exists.
Get your daily habits and actions in line with your
goals and dreams...
And your mind won't have time to manifest fear because you're in a constant state of action, results, and getting closer and closer to your goals.
Sound good? Great!
Now get off your duff and go take action right now.
Then do it again tomorrow.
And again the next day.
I think you have the idea. I believe in you and your
power to do anything you put your mind to do.
So now all you have to do is go out and grab it.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Angelina Jolie did an amazing thing...she took control of her life. She made the decision to live. Like thousands and thousands of women, she has joined the ranks of the Survivors and Previvors to empower themselves by using the knowledge of their BRCA mutation status and today's surgical technology.
Unlike my father who passed away from breast cancer, I took those life saving steps as well. He passed the genetic mutation to me. I tested in 1996 and was found positive for carrying it. That means I have approximately 85-90% lifetime risk of breast cancer and 50% lifetime risk of ovarian cancer.
Whether you applaud Jolie's actions or berate her for them, it is essential for the BRCA population to know their options and to reach the millions out there who still need to know. I had the same surgeries in 2002 and 2007. The latter's pathology showed DCIS stage 0, the beginnings of breast cancer.
I paraphrase my friend Olga Guzman Flores's aunt who put it succinctly, "If you knew the plane you were taking had a 50% risk of crashing would you still board?".
The following YouTube videos feature Olga singing at a JoiningFORCEs Annual Conference, my friend Anne Parker, the inspiration for the film "Decoding Annie Parker", who speaks about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and the third, another friend, film maker Joanna Rudnick and a clip of her documentary, "In the Family".
Please watch, educate yourself and others and #ShareandSaveaLife.
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Ok, first day of Spring 2015 will go down in our memories as Mother Nature celebrating "Opposite Day"! But the day after is going up a above 50 so it won't last.
Got me thinking of how to chase these blues away and I came across a great project to do once the flip flops become available in the dollar stores. Can't call them thongs like we used to or it could confuse today's generation. Their front door might be sponsored by Victoria Secret!
Have fun with it! So many variations in color and theme. You can even fashion a patriotic one for each Summer Holiday!
Friday, March 20, 2015
I've always loved the atmosphere about the Keys, that string of islands cutting between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. A different atmosphere, a world unto itself and a place to kick back. No wonder Hemingway took to Key West specifically.
Key West has the Cuban flair mixed with America. Being the Southernmost point, 90 miles from Cuba, it enjoys a singularly fabulous reputation. It feels like the Caribbean but you are still in the U.S.
The Hemingway House, brimming over with the polydactyl cats the island is known for. I understand there is a 6 year wait to adopt one of the 6 toed kitties. The tours are led by docents who know everything about Papa Hemingway.
The Aquarium houses local sea creatures and a sanctuary for the wounded. I remember the blind pelican who just wanders everywhere, mostly in circles!
And how about the buried treasures from shipwrecks over the years. The air conditioned exhibit is so welcoming.
Take a stroll down to Mallory Square at sundown and join everyone toasting the sun's settling down for the day. Or go down to Duval Street for the art and fun. Most of all, enjoy the unique culinary delights like a lobster rueben or conch chowder or fritters while sitting on the deck at the juncture of the two bodies of water. Yes, there's Sloppy Joe's with its touristy kitsch but there are other great places on this tiny island.
One of the favorite sweets here is Key Lime Pie. My best friend's son loves ANYTHING with that zesty flavor! In Paul's honor, I am posting this recipe for Key Lime Cake with Key Lime Cream Cheese frosting that I found online. Yummy!
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Momma said, Momma said...
There are times we just don't eat the way we should. Meals get skipped. We imbibe in the "wrong" foods. Vacation foods got the better of us. There was a party and the cake looked so good. You hate eating anything green. You dislike foods that are good for you.
All excuses. All can be valid. None help your digestion or well-being. So what do you do? There's always doing that "juicing thing". But you need to get an expensive machine and that's not always in the cards. Macrobiotic diet can help and that takes real discipline. Or try Going Green with Arbonne!