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Posts from the ‘cancer’ Category

Schedule Your Health Exams

We’ve always talked about taking care of ourselves, but most of the time it is just that–talk.  We as women of a certain age fail to schedule our yearly exams.  The ones that we should do at least yearly unless the doctor tells us to do something differently. How we fail to schedule our exams is a mystery to me–we are master schedulers.

My girlfriend Avis always schedules all of her exams close to her birthday–she says that way she will always remember. I do put mine on my phone calendar, plus my doctors are really good about reminding me. I never miss!

There are several exams that should be done yearly.

  • Mammogram–the one that most people know about is a screening mammogram.  This is a low dose x-ray of the breast from different angles. Some people with dense breast, women of a certain age or for other reasons may also be advised to do a diagnostic mammogram or ultrasound of the breast.  .
  • Pelvic Exam and Pap–no you are really never too mature to have this exam. It is done to determine precancerous or cancer of the cervix.
  • Step on the scale–close your eyes and wish away the pounds. Unwanted pounds can lead to deadly illnesses.
  • Blood pressure–even if your blood pressure has risen, you can lower it without medication. It can be a silent killer.

There are other exams that you should do less frequently unless your doctor suggest yearly. Here are a few:

  • Hearing test–with the noise of the world it is surprising we don’t need one every year.
  • Eye exam–as we age our eyes do get tired, and we may need reading glasses or develop cataracts.
  • I’m sure there are other exams that some of us do such as dental exams and checking cholesterol.

As women of a certain age, we have to remember that it is all about us.  All of us want to live long lives, but we also want to be in the best health possible.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–schedule your yearly health appointments just like you schedule that nail appointment.

 

Puttin’ On The Pink For A Great Cause

There was a beautiful sea of pink in the huge ballroom of the Fort Worth Convention Center. Even the champagne and desserts were various shades of pink. Hosted by the Kupferle Health  Board of the Texas Health Resources Foundation. The event showcased the outstanding work of their mobile health unit.

With NBC 5’s Deborah Ferguson as mistress of ceremony, Neiman Marcus hosting a one of a kind runway show featuring collections from Lafayette 148 New York, inspirational stories featuring cancer survivors and great conversation–the event was a Texas sized success. Even the items for the raffles and the centerpieces on each table were amazing.

The mobile unit is as well equipped as any physician’s office with the latest technology and staffed by a very capable medical staff. In addition to digital screening mammograms, services provided by the mobile unit include:

  • well-woman exams
  • cervical cancer screening
  • HPV test for women with abnormal pap tests
  • colon cancer screening
  • bone density screening
  • cardiovascular risk assessments

There was laughter mixed with tears and hugs. Puttin’ on the Pink entertained, but most of all it informed Fort Worth and surrounding areas about medical resources that are available to them.

Texas Health Resources Mobile Mammography Unit

 

To find out more about the great services that are available through the Texas Health Resources Foundation  mobile health unit, go to:  https://www.texashealth.org/fortworth/pages/Services/Cancer/Mobile-Health-Unit.aspx

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Get your yearly mammogram.

Meeting Paulette Who Is Walking Across America Topless

I am not easily impressed by celebrities, or at least I don’t think I am. In my mind, I think that celebrities and those that are famous are just like us.  There are a few people that I am in awe of though.  One of them is a beautiful woman of a certain age that I wrote about.

I found her on Facebook and begin reading about her.  I inboxed her, she wrote back, and this continued on for almost a month.  We then talked on the phone a few times, and we then decided to do a phone interview.  It was a great experience.  One that has inspired many.

When Paulette talked about her faith in God, her journey with breast cancer and her children, her story came alive to me.  If you have not read her story, please go to:  https://thisisyourbestyear.com/2015/10/10/breast-cancer-awareness-prayers-for-paulette-and-her-8-children/ to read about her amazing journey.

I had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans where she makes her home.  We arranged a day and time to meet.  She is as amazing in person as she was on the phone.  Her warm and beautiful smile just warmed my heart. Our conversation was like we had known each other for many years, it was as easy as Sunday morning.

From the smile on my face, you can see how excited I was to meet the wonderful, inspirational Paulette Leaphart. Her spirit, her love of life, her love of family, but most of all her faith in God is contagious.

Paulette is training to do a 1,000 mile walking journey from Biloxi, Mississippi to Washington, D. C. while being filmed along the way. Paulette will be topless to show the scars of breast cancer.  She will start her walk on April 30.  Her walk/movie is named “The Scar Story”.  I invite you to take a few minutes to look at the trailer.  It will amaze and inspire you. You will see the reason Paulette will walk topless.  The message is powerful. The link to the trailer is below.  Click on the link and be amazed, inspired and more.

http://www.thescarstory.com/video

You can follow Paulette’s 1,000 mile journey on her Facebook Page–Prayers for Paulette 8 Children. There will be a few surprise walkers that will accompany her along the way.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–make new friends, they bring warmth to your heart.

 

Free Women’s Health And Wellness Event

Check your local areas for free health events. This women’s health event will offer free health screenings, cooking demonstrations, fitness demonstrations, health panels and more.

 

 RSVP at 1.800.4BAYLOR/BaylorScottandWhite.com/FWFL

Event Location: 1400 Eighth Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76104

Start your day off by learning about your health

Remember“thisisyourbestyear”!

Take Your Man To The Doctor–Men’s Health Month

Even though this is a blog for and about women of a certain age, who better to get the males in our lives to the doctor than us?  It seems that most men do not go to the doctor to take regular checkups.

There are guidelines for the ages at which certain tests should be taken.  Why not go to the doctor with your husband, friend, son or dad to ask the questions you know they won’t ask?  Ask the male(s) in your life to see if their insurance plan covers certain tests since cost seems to be another factor in men going to the doctor.

men's health month

As men mature (not age), there are certain exams that should be taken such as the Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) and the Prostate Specimen Antigen (PSA) which test for Prostate Cancer.  They should be taken annually for men 50 and over, and age 40 for African-American males.  The Testicular Self-Exam should be done monthly for signs of Testicular Cancer.  Just as with most cancers, if found early, the patient can be cured.

Maybe the doctor should call these exams part of the Well Man Checkup–just like our Well Woman Checkup.  Even though it may take a bit of coercing, take the males in your life to the doctor for their annual checkup.  They will thank you–even if they don’t, they will be healthy.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

 

Breast Cancer Awareness–Prayers For Paulette And Her 8 Children

Bishop T. D. Jakes says it’s your Destiny, you know that happening that was not planned. Rev. Jerome B. Price said it is God talking to you. Who knew that browsing Facebook would lead to something thought-provoking for me, and hopefully for you.

Paulette 19I came upon this site–Prayers For Paulette8Children.  Well you know me, I am assuming there is a mistype, and it should read Prayers for Paulette & Children.  Don’t ask me why I thought that, I just did.  Maybe because I saw this beautiful. bright-eyed young lady with the gorgeous smile smiling at us on most pictures, and besides who has 8 children?  As I read more, I found out this beautiful lady was Paulette McKenzie Leaphart, and yes she has 8 children, and yes they do need our prayers.   Paulette is a breast cancer survivor, she is a fighter, a warrior whose faith continues to keep her, but above all she is a mother of 8 children both biological and adopted.

The following is my interview with Paulette, and I hope I give her and her children the loving justice they deserve.

It took a while for Paulette and I to start the interview, we started by me inboxing her on Facebook, and  connecting by phone to set up the interview. Paulette lives in the Big Easy, and from her tone, she loves New Orleans. 

Paulette’s life before her diagnosis was great, she was beautiful and talented with 8 great children.  She was happily Paulette 15living her life–that is until in a dream God told her she had cancer. Yes, Paulette said God told her she had cancer.  There were no symptoms, but she knew it was the voice of God.  Getting her doctor to believe her was another story.  After finally agreeing to have her do her first mammogram, and it coming back negative, her doctor tried to assure her that she was cancer free.

Paulette knew what she knew, and she was not cancer free.  After seeing how persistent she was he agreed to have her do an ultra sound.  After the radiologist came in and looked at the ultra sound, Paulette knew he had found something, but he did not tell her. A few days later she got a letter telling her to go in to see her doctor because they had found something suspicious. Her doctor performed a biopsy since they had found a tumor–finding breast cancer.

Paulette 16Even after hearing she had breast cancer, Paulette remained calm because she already knew. When talking with her doctor, she was informed that she had a very aggressive cancer, it was stage 2, grade 3.  The doctor told her it was a fast-moving cancer, and because of her family history and the type of cancer, he suggested a double mastectomy.  This was the first time Paulette was at a lost for words, she thought she had been prepared for anything, but a double mastectomy had not ever crossed her mind. Even though she trusted the doctor, she immediately went for a second opinion, and they agreed with the first doctor–a double mastectomy was advised. The surgery was scheduled, and immediately after the surgery there would be breast reconstruction or so she thought.

The doctor who was to do the reconstruction surgery reviewed her files and came to the conclusion that reconstruction surgery would be too taxing on her body since she had other medical ills one of which is a blood clotting disorder.  Paulette thought that this can not be happening, but the doctors explained why they could not recommend the reconstruction, and she agreed and was okay with it.  She had made peace with the idea, but she still sought a second opinion who told her of another procedure that could be done for reconstruction–she decided not to do it.  She was at Paulette3peace with her decision, it was hard, she cried, got angry, but eventually decided no reconstruction was best for her.  In her own words  she told herself “Baby Girl, you still got your sexy”.

When it came to telling her children about her breast cancer, it was hardest telling her youngest daughter who is now 8.  Her baby had just gone through seeing someone die from this disease so her only reference to cancer was death.

Her oldest daughter started the Facebook page because she knew they all needed prayers.  Paulette’s first time reading the page was about 3 months after the surgery. After reading and responding to comments, Paulette decided to take over the page herself.

When she had to lose her hair it was hard for her–after all she is a woman. She did everything to keep her hair, researching, buying products, but in the in the hair came out. She was determined that cancer would not win this battle since it was gong to come out, she thought I’ll cut it off myself which she did, and the barber did the rest.  Even her youngest daughter decided to be just like her mom.Paulette 13

Even though it has been hard for Paulette and also hard for her children, they constantly draw strength from each other.  They had been without a home for a while. Since Paulette did not have health insurance, she had to decide on medication or a roof over their heads. Notice that I did not say they were homeless–they always had the love of family and friends and each other, but most of all they had their faith in God.

Her life has changed, but it is not for the worst.  She has been hit, but not knocked down. Paulette has decided to share every step of her journey with others in the hope they can draw strength from her testimony.

It seems that even In the mist of all her troubles, there were those who are determined to do more to make her unhappy.  Paulette did not lose weight, the treatments made her gain weight.  She even seemed to always be smiling so she can’t have cancer some people thought.  It was amazing to me that people could be so cruel, but again her faith in God keeps her strength up.

On good days she takes her youngest children to music and dance while continuing to make their new house a home.  They all attend church together.  I ask Paulette why she decided to adopt children when her children were just about adults, and she told me it was a promise she made to God when she was an abused child.  Her children keep her strong.  Even though they are children, they step up to fill in the gap when Paulette is unable to do so.

Her doctor says she is in remission, but can’t say for sure if she is cancer free.  Paulette says there is no need because God told her she is.

To see more about Paulette’s story, go to her Facebook Page at : https://www.facebook.com/Prayers-For-Paulette8children-468487063257460/timeline/?ref=br_tf.

Her story will inspire you.  I look forward to meeting Paulette and her 8 children in New Orleans when she celebrates her 50th birthday.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

For two of the bravest women I know–Carol Cooper and Renae Ruffin.

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