The Scars Of Breast Cancer Are Not Pretty In Pink

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and everyone will be wearing pink in the form of ribbons, shirts, tee shirts and more.  What we see doing this awareness month is everyone being “pretty in pink”.

We have all known someone who has been affected by this horrific disease, or we may be that person. Most survivors carry scars from their treatments to defeat breast cancer.  Some of the scars are physical, but some are mental and not only affect them, but their loved ones too.  There are those women and men who carry both types of scars. Breast cancer is an equal opportunity disease, it does not discriminate when it comes to who is affected by it.

Sometimes the chemo may cause the hair to fall out, it can even affect the color of ones skin tone.  The scars of mastectomies may be covered, but they are there nonetheless.  Some survivors have lymphedema in their arms after the mastectomies.

Mammograms do not catch every type of breast cancer, but they do aid in the detection of many.  This imaging can be expensive if you do not have health insurance.  There are places in every community that offer free or low cost services.  Below is a list of  some of the ones in Tarrant County and the surrounding counties in Texas.  Please share with us those in your area so that everyone can benefit from these services.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Breast Cancer Awareness Month is about more than being “pretty in pink”.  It’s about being informed and finding a cure.

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It Gets Easier With Age

Remember when you tried to please everyone? Remember how hard it was to say no to people especially those that you really cared about or a group you wanted to be a part of? Remember how you didn’t want to hurt their feelings when they asked a question they probably already knew the answer to?

Well guess what? As we age, it gets easier to say what is on your mind, but most importantly we now have permission to say no and not give a reason why. We can tell the reason for the no answer, but it is not a requirement, it is an option.

This goes for everyone in the family. I know what most of you are thinking–you’re thinking about the grandchildren and babysitting. Although sometimes you do have plans or you just don’t feel like it–it happens no matter how sweet and cute they are. You just want to put your feet up, watch a movie, take a nap in other words you don’t feel like it. So the answer is no.

It could be with your hubby or significant other when they say let’s go to dinner. Do they want to go to (name their favorite place), and you don’t want to eat there, just say no. When he asks where you want to go, give him suggestions that you like.

Since we are of a certain age, most of us learned to type. So at committee meetings especially if we are one of the few females in attendance they always  ask if we can take the notes for this meeting. We grudgingly do, and then we have to type them up, and now we have become the recording secretary. Next time they ask you, tell them no you can’t unless of course you like that position. I seem to remember guys in my typing class so why not let them take and type the minutes?

The first few times you say the word no to something you’ve always wanted to say no to will feel a little weird, and it will shock those that you say it to.

Sometimes the word yes can be used to your benefit. How many of us have had this question--“do you mind if I switch the channel”, and we say no. Next time say yes if you are watching something that you like.

When we finally figure out that it’s okay to say no I don’t, or yes I do mind because that’s how we feel then we must do one other thing. We must stop apologizing. It’s just how we feel, no I don’t want to do something and/or yes I do mind.

Think of yourself as a toddler. When you ask them a question, and they say no there is no explanation, no apology just on to the next question. Don’t feel bad, you will again keep the grandchildren, eat at his favorite place and probably take notes at a committee meeting, but you now know that you can stop trying to please everyone.

Start pleasing yourself and learning the art of saying “no” and “yes I do mind”–remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Support The Movement–Victory Over Violence

Just by walking and/or running you can assist the Women’s Center win their battle with sexual assault and child sexual abuse.*  You can participate in their 22nd Annual Victory Over Violence (VOV) Walk/Run on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at the Duck Pond at Trinity Park.

 

Public awareness of sexual assault has increased with the advent of the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns.  Rape Crisis centers across the nation have seen an increase in the reporting of sexual assault, harassment and abuse. The Women’s Center has itself seen over a 13 % increase in hospital accompaniments during forensic rape exams from 2016 to 2017.  Year to date, they have seen a 16% increase year to date compared to the same time period in the year 2017.

Many people participate in the VOV Walk/Run to acknowledge and remember those whose lives have been affected by sexual assault or intimate partner violence.  It is their way of giving back.

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To participate, volunteer or learn more about the Women’s Center, please click The Women’s Center Victory Over Violence Walk/Run.  The 1K Fun Run will begin at 8 am with the 5K Walk/Run starting at 8:30 am.  This years emcee is Courtney Gilmore, reporter at NBC DFW.

The proceeds from the Walk/Run are used to support The Play it Safe!® program.  This program has been designed for children Pre-K through high school and uses materials in ways they can best learn and respond.

Remember, “thisisyourbestyear”.  Take a walk or run and help the Women’s Center and all that are affected claim Victory Over Violence.

*We incorrectly reported that this run was focused on stomping out domestic violence.  While it can be a part of sexual assault there are many other organizations that specifically address domestic violence.

 

Depression And Suicide In Women

Recently I was invited to attend a luncheon hosted by the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation. The foundation was started by the parents of Jordan Elizabeth Harris, a beautiful young lady who during the last few months of her life suffered from severe depression, and eventually committed suicide.

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Hearing Jordan’s story made me think of how a young woman who was outgoing, fun and yes beautiful with a loving family could end her life.  While researching information on depression and suicide, I came across a fact that stopped me in my tracks.

The largest increases in depression/suicide are in young women and women of a certain age.  Men traditionally die from suicide more than women, but women have been catching up with them.  Middle-aged women who are between 45 and 69 have had the highest suicide rates in the last couple of years.

Some of the reasons for this increase are:

  • Age-related illness
  • Treatable mental health condition
  • Reliance on pain relief and sleeping drugs
  • Middle-aged women are more aware of their mortality
  • Disappointed and disillusioned–feel that it is too late for happiness
  • Loneliness
  • Empty Nest Syndrome

As we enter the holiday season, it has been reported that depression rises among women of a certain age. Is there anything that we can do to prevent depression/suicide?  While researching I found that some people lived daily with those who suffered from depression and/or committed suicide, and they saw no outward change.  There were those that saw the change, but we unable to get them the needed assistance.

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The Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation mission statement states “to eradicate suicide by funding depression research, creating awareness through education, erasing the stigma, and providing hope to those who are struggling in silence”.

The Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation along with others including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is seeking to lower suicide rates.  These efforts include educating doctors especially primary care doctors so that they may be better able to identify people who are at risk for suicide.

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As I sat at the luncheon I thought of the people who I had known in my lifetime that had taken their own lives.  There were two who had an illness that would eventually end their lives and one that no one could ever tell me the reason why.

It’s getting close to Christmas and New Year’s which brings on a time of reflection.  Let’s take the time to visit, call, text, facetime–let’s stay connected–we may be able to spot changes.

To find out more about depression and suicide prevention take a look at The Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, take the time to connect with others–it can only help.

 

At The Texas Conference For Women–Women Rock

It is always great to be in the presence of women, especially smart women.  The Texas Conference for Women has so much to see, hear and do that it is hard to decide which way to go. That is why you see me rushing almost running in the halls of the Austin Convention Center with my two bags, comfortable shoes, and phone. I was off to races.

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I was able to snag two great interviews with two amazing women.  My first interview came as a surprise.  We just struck up a conversation, and I knew women would love to know about her company “iFundWomen”.  Below is the interview that I did with the CEO and founder of “iFundWomen”, Ms. Karen Cahn. For women who are looking for ways to fund their startup, she is the person to know.

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My second interview was with the Emmy award winner, Ms. Gaby Natale.  She is the host of the Emmy award-winning show Super Latina, and now the author of the book El Circulo Virtuoso.  Her story is one that a lot of people can identify with. She is inspirational.  My interview with Gaby is below.

Both women are successful entrepreneurs who have found their passions and turned them into their careers.  As each would tell you it has been a journey that has taken some unexpected turns.  They epitomize the women that attended and participated in the Texas Conference for Women.  This year there were 7,500 women in attendance from all over the United States.

Each of the women had their own schedule to adhere to and knew which sessions they wanted to attend and why.  All of us were able to hear the three keynote speakers, Ms. Anita Hill, Ms. Sheryl Sandberg, and Ms. Viola Davis.  Their presentations were informative and more.  You can see some of Ms. Anita Hill’s talInstagramFacebook Page–thisisyourbestyear, Instagram–thisisyourbestyear and Twitter–@mariciajohns.

If you have never attended this conference, you should think about it for next year.  There is something for everyone from, pitching your product to QVC, working on your Linkedin Page, coping with grief, fitness and much more.

This is one of the highlights of my year, seeing and hearing the speakers and meeting up with other bloggers, photographers, and other media again.  Hope you will take advantage of this great gathering of women.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

To find out more about how to fund your business go to the “iFundWomen” website.

www.ifundwomen.com

If you would like to know about Gaby Natale, and how to contact her for speaking engagements, book signings and more please visit her website.

www.gabynatale.com

Join me on Instagram!

We’re on Instagram as @thisisyourbestyear. Install the app to follow my photos and videos. https://instagram.com/download/?r=380485317

You can also follow us on Facebook–thisisyourbestyear, Twitter–@mariciajohns and of course our website–www.thisisyourbestyear.com.

          Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Information On Well Woman Exams

Thank you Ms. Ruth Ann Hornbeck-Hatch for sharing this valuable information on free well woman exams.  If you are in need of or know a woman in need of a well woman exam, and insurance coverage is a problem, please have them call or google 211.  It will give outlets to places that do the well woman exams for free.

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Let’s spread the word to our family, friends, church members and others.  There is a way to help save the lives of women.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, let’s help others help themselves.

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The Exam That Can Save Your Life

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Believe it or not there are some women who never have this routine exam. It is recommended that all women over the age of 18 have an annual well woman exam. This exam should be taken so that it can possibly identify early health problems.  Usually upon completion of the yearly exam, the doctor will have you schedule the next appointment. I am screaming to the top of my lungs–Get Your Well Woman Exam!

Some women do this well woman exam around their birthday or some other significant day.  I do mine in the summer in June.

This exam will be given by your gynecologist.  The exams always include a breast exam, pap smear and pelvic exam.

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The importance of this exam lies in identifying potential early health problems. The most important tests included in an examination are the tests listed above. Some doctors consider other tests in the examination, including measurement of blood pressure, HIV testing, and other laboratory tests such as urinalysis, and testing for other sexually transmitted diseases. The procedure is important also to detect certain cancers, especially breast and cervical cancer.

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The breast exam is usually two parts.  The first part is visual.  This checks such things as color, symmetry, lean body mass and more.  It also looks for abnormalities such as shrinkage and bulges.  The breast exam then goes to palpation, which means while thepatient is lying down the doctor will use two or three fingers to go around the gland (breast) and under the arms to feel for abnormalities.  This does not take the place of the mammogram which should also be done yearly.

Another part of the well woman exam is the pelvic exam which exams the pelvic area.  It is done in three parts.

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  • The inspection of the external genitalia looks for color changes, lesions, warts and other abnormalities.
  • The bimanual exam which palpates (touches) organs that can’t be seen. With the index and middle finger the doctor checks the inside of the vagina checking the length and width–the cervix is also checked.  With the other hand, the doctor will press the stomach and check the uterus and ovaries.
  • Speculum examination is where a device called a speculum will be inserted into the vagina. The speculum is opened to widen the vagina so that the vagina and cervix can be seen.

A pap smear will be done while the speculum is in place.  The doctor will take cells from the cervix.

A breast mammogram should also be done yearly.  I do mine the same day as the well woman exam.

 

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You can also opt for the 3D mammogram which my doctor suggest that I do.  Some doctors will suggest that you also take a breast ultrasound because of family history and/or age. I have taken the ultrasound, and there was something discovered, but thankfully it turned out not to be serious.

Your well woman exam helps to keep you a well woman. Remember “thisisyourbestyear” taking this exam can save your life.

**The well woman exam and mammogram are usually covered by your health insurance.  There are several agencies that will do both for those that are uninsued.  In the North Texas area please check those listed below and others.  Please check your local areas–this exam can save your life.

 

 

 

Looking For A Great Girls Outing–Try the Byron Nelson Golf Tournament

First of all let me give you this disclaimer before you read any further.  This will be the last year that the Byron Nelson Golf Tournament will be held at The Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas.  It will now move to Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas.

That being said “the last round” was an amazing girls getaway for those that love golf, like golf, kind of like golf and those that don’t know anything about golf.  There is so much  more to a golf tournament than golf.

At the beautiful Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, maybe it was because it was the “last round” everything was done to perfection.  Even the parking was convenient.

For those that love golf, there were the top players on the PGA participating with some surprises along the way.  There was so much to do, see, eat, drink and enjoy.

Let’s get started first with the resort.  If you were fortunate enough you may have been able to snag a villa with a view of the course from the balcony.  We saw quite a few ladies and gentlemen doing just that. Some had their cocktails and food to enjoy while watching the tournament.

Just walking around was peaceful and beautiful.  The weather for the most part was very nice.  The sponsors tents were great places to stop and enjoy food, drink and great conversation while watching the action on the course. The Grey Goose tent had signature cocktails for enjoyment with cute giveaway glasses. While you sipped your cocktail there was always someone to discuss golf on every level–learning can be fun!

Of course there was the fashion to take in as there is every year at the Byron Nelson; though this year the fashions seemed to be more individualized (no set pattern).  The city of Irving had great events from pictures, to prizes.  You could go inside the AT&T booth and drive a simulator and much more. Cadillac, the official car had their newest models on display for your viewing pleasure.

There were activities in the hotel for those that wanted to relax a bit more.  There was the Well and Being Spa in the hotel. If you felt that you didn’t get enough exercise walking the course they have 4 indoor tennis courts, a massive workout facility, squash courts and more.

The Byron Nelson Golf Tournament at The Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas in Las Colinas has something for everyone.  It made a great girls getaway. For those that don’t know a lot about golf, it is a great way to learn–it’s as easy as talking to the person next to you.  You might even enjoy it.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Put On Some Pink For A Great Cause

It’s time to put on your pink and get ready to see some great fashion, participate in great raffles, but most of all get ready to help the women of North Texas get the medical attention they deserve.

“Puttin on the Pink”  is hosted by the Kupferle Health Board of the Texas Health Resources Foundation.  The proceeds from this fashion luncheon helps fund their mobile unit.  This mobile unit is the doctor’s office on wheels that provides much needed service to women who might otherwise not have access to healthcare.

This year’s event is co-chaired by Sharon Crockett and Heather Senter.  These ladies have worked hard to make sure this years event continues the legacy that the volunteers started years ago to raise awareness of the mobile unit so that all women in the North Texas area have the opportunity to get the services they need.

Sharon became involved in the Puttin on the Pink when she learned that her best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer.   She soon realized that almost everyone knew someone who has been affected by some form of cancer.  Realizing that some people don’t know about the medical exam they should take, or they knew but didn’t have resources they needed to attain these services she knew she had to try and make a difference.

At the luncheon many men and women will learn about the services the mobile unit offers–these people will get the information out to many more people.  They will be able to tell that the mobile unit does:

  • Breast Cancer Screening Mammogram
  • Clinical Breast Examination
  • Cervical Cancer Screening
  • Sink Cancer Screening
  • Colon Cancer Screening
  • There is also Prostate Cancer Screening for men

This years’ Puttin on the Pink fashion luncheon will be held at the Fort Worth Convention Center on April 5, starting with a reception at 10:30 with the fashion luncheon at 11:30.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Put on your Pink for a great cause.