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.

breast cancer 3

 

 

 

Things That Make You Go Hmmm

As we grow up, things that happen to us can make us go hmmm and scratch our heads at these new symptoms. Some call it the aging process, others say it’s just Father Time catching up, and most of us just say it’s life.

There are ailments that pop up with symptoms that we have never had before.  What are some of these you might ask?  Well here are just a few.

  • The nerve in your tooth dies–seriously.  Warm liquids seem to make your tooth radiate, but not hurt.  This means that you need a root canal to stop this awful feeling.
  • You have sharp abdominal pain after eating.  You are now diagnosed as being lactose intolerant.  No more cheese, cream based entrees or ice cream.  In other words no milk based products for you.
  • Bloating from eating bread has started.  Not really all bread, but most.
  • Eye floaters start to bother you.  It’s kind of like you are swatting gnats.  They are harmless, but they are very annoying.
  • Heart palpitations which are scary.  Causes could be sugar, caffeine or alcohol.  You think to yourself which one do I have to give up?  I have become a decaf (yuck) coffee drinker, giving up most sugar except on birthdays and weddings (I love wedding cake).  There is no more chocolate for me since it is a double whammy with sugar and caffeine.  But there is a silver lining–wine is okay.

There are many other things that happen to us as we go through life, but I have a sorority sister who always finds the silver lining in things. The one silver lining I see from being lactose intolerant (and I hardly ever ate ice cream anyway), cutting out most sugar, most breads and caffeine is that I am able to control my weight and I can still have wine.

It’s my new normal, and it’s not so bad. We do what we have to do.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, and cheers!

Does anyone know of a good decaf brand of coffee?

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”.

Be Selfish–Take Care Of Yourself

As women of a certain age, we were always taught to not be selfish.  We were told “don’t be selfish” when it came to our toys, but now I am telling you that it is okay to be selfish.  Women of a certain age have earned the right to want and do something just for themselves–we’re not going to hurt anyone.

Some things that you can do that will make only you happy or at least the happiest in your family.

  • Cook a meal that only you like–sit down and enjoy it.  How many times have you eaten what everyone else likes?  I can almost guarantee that someone will eat with you.
  • Hire someone to help with the housework–schedule the way it fits your budget and needs.
  • Get regular manicures and pedicures–again your schedule, your finances.
  • Take your time when placing your order at a restaurant–ask questions if you so desire.  You want what you want.
  • Say no to babysitting the grandkids every time they ask–you love them, but you have a life.
  • Watch a movie that you like while sitting in the comfy chair.
  • When they ask you to watch the television in the back so they can all watch something on the bigger tv tell them no and keep watching.
  • Go shopping and only buy for yourself.
  • While shopping don’t call and tell them about a sale because you know you will buy the item(s) and never get paid for it.
  • Sleep late or take a nap for no reason except you can.
  • Take a vacation day from work and don’t tell anyone–do what you want to do on that day.
  • Play the music in your car and in theirs that you like–they do this all the time.
  • Hide your good candy.  They don’t know the difference between Belgian Chocolate and milk chocolate.

These seem like simple things, but we as women of a certain age were taught to put others before us, and stop being selfish.  If taking care of yourself is being selfish, then I am all for it.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  You’re not being selfish by making yourself happy.   Take into consideration that they would want you to be happy.

Share with us any other ways that we can be “selfish” and not hurt anyone.  We are looking forward to reading them.

I Went To A Garden Party

I keep singing the lyrics “I went to a garden party”.  It was set in the beautiful Garden of Eve at the home of Stephonia W. Roberts. I can honestly say I know why she named her backyard paradise the Garden of Eve–it was breathtaking.

The sign informed all guests to enter through the gate, and it seemed that you left the outside world outside when you entered.  Nature had decorated with so many plants and trees that not only shaded but served a health purpose.

Stephonia is the ower of Mrs Jacks Body Food, she is also an author and extraordinary spoken word poetess.  Her expertise in all things natural was on full display as she walked through her garden.

The atmosphere was that of ease and coolness in the hot Texas sun which had somehow given way to a cooling breeze, but Stephonia had natural cooling towels in case anyone needed them.  The seating areas were placed throughout the garden, but most of the attendees started off by walking the garden paths and discussing the many beautiful plants.

When the hors-d’oeuvres were passed, we were informed about the natural ingredients that were prepared so deliciously.  There were mocktails that were refreshing, and also cocktails that were light to the taste.  It seemed that God had cooled off the garden just for that moment.

The Garden of Eve was a wonderful way to end the day with great conversation, wonderful food, drink, and information.  But more than anything it was great to end the day in beauty and tranquility.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Create your Garden of Eve to focus on you.

 

You can find more information about Mrs Jacks Body Food at the following sites:

Facebook and Etsy–Mrs Jacks Body Food

Alzheimer’s Caregivers–“Til Death Do Us Part”

It attacks the brain and is the most common type of dementia–this is Alzheimer’s. There is no age requirement when it comes to the early onset of Alzheimer’s. We tend to think of our parents and grandparents when we think of Alzheimer’s, but the youngest person diagnosed with it was only 27.

The stories below are some of the examples of what it means when one states in their wedding vow: “til death do us part”. Each one of these has taken a different approach.

Mike and Carol’s journey was one that Mike was determined to make with her at home. Over the course of 10 years, and his health failing both mentally and physically he had to make a decision. A decision that was the best for both of them. Mike made the decision that even with 24 hour a day caregivers Carol needed more. He made the decision to put her into a facility.

As some caregivers think back over time, they realize there may have been signs they may have missed. As Barry Petersen talks about his wife, he tells how she changed years earlier before she was diagnosed.

All of the caregivers vowed to always take care of their spouse. They came to the realization that taking care of them meant they must face the difficult decision to put their love one into a care facility, not only for their care but the care of themselves.

Take a look at Barry and Jan and their journey with Alzheimer’s. Jan has since passed away.

Dan and B were the “it” couple that I watched on her weekly lifestyle show. From their beautifully decorated home in Sag Harbor to her wonderful restaurant that I visited in Washington, DC. They seemed to be living the dream until….. As of the writing of this article, B. Smith still remains at her home in Sag Harbor with Dan.

One important take away from all three of these cases is that couples should talk about their wishes if they become afflicted by this disease. The caregiver should have instructions that will make his/her decision on care much easier, and with less guilt.

As we mature, we do seem to forget more which does not mean that we have Alzheimer’s. The chart below is a simple way to explains the difference.

alzheimer anddementia

Alzheimer’s came to my family with my paternal grandmother. It was something that seemed to strike out of nowhere, and life-altering decisions had to be made immediately. My grandfather had died years earlier, but I know that he would have been like the spouses above, he would take care of his wife as she had always taken care of him. Even though in the later years of his life he was in failing health, he would be determined–“til death do us part”. Some conversations are hard to have, but a necessity as life continues.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Taking care of someone does not mean doing it all alone there are resources.

Try these sites and others for information on being a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s Support Programs and Information

National Institute on Aging

AARP Help and Support for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

You’re Aging Yourself–Watch Your Posture

Marsha, the trainer that I work out with told me something that put me into action quick fast and in a hurry.  As she was putting us through hell, yes hell, she told me that my posture was getting bad.  She informed me that for all of the hard work, posture would show age just as fast as a body that was not in shape.

My mother was the first one that told me about my posture, and it had gotten better over the years.  While trying to figure out why it was now starting again I did some research.  Here  are some of the reasons why we begin to have bad posture:

posture

  • We sit at work all day looking down at our keyboards and monitors.  If we have the adjustable table for our computer, we still find ourselves looking down because we find it more comfortable.

smartphone posture 5

  • Our smartphones have become part of us.  We look down at them all of the time.  Even if we are really doing something productive, we are looking down.
  • Being overweight or obese affects posture.
  • Habit is another reason.

I am proud to say that last week at workout I was told my posture was looking good. Talking with several people about what could be done to halt this has helped.  Here are some the things they said.

  • The trainer–line your ears up with your shoulders–look at yourself in the mirror when exercising
  • The masseuse–start a yoga class or find one online.  Even our resident yogi at work said this was a good idea.  She even informed me that she had to get back in the habit of good posture.  Reminding herself especially while driving that she needed to sit up straight.
  • Me–stand the computer desk high and then sit while at work–this will cause me to sit up straight since I will then have to look up at the screen.
  • Yogi–be conscious of your posture.  Believe it or not you will catch yourself slumping and immediately straighten up.

I found an extremely good video *(SarahBethYoga) that I do after my devotional and stretching.  It takes only 10 minutes.  I can honestly say that it works.  Take a look.

Remember that posture affects your entire body.  Bad posture causes pain and your entire body has to compensate for it.  So stand/sit straight and remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Your body will thank you.
*Take a look at other videos by SarahBethYoga on her YouTube channel.

 

 

 

Bringing Healthcare to Thousands

Each year women of a certain age dread the slightly uncomfortable mammogram.  For that small amount of discomfort, we all breathe a sign of relief when the results come back negative, and if they come back questionable, we are grateful that we know that something needs to be done.

In all parts of Tarrant County (the United States) there are thousands of women who do not have insurance that will assist them with payment for this and other annual exams.  Many of these women do not have any symptoms, but when they are seen by a doctor it is often for something that could have been eradicated with early detection.

The Kupferie Health Board of the Texas Health Resources Foundation is sponsoring their annual Puttin’ on the Pink Fashion Show and Luncheon (March 27, 2018).  Proceeds from this fabulous event will benefit mobile health outreach to underserved women in Fort Worth and surrounding communities. Some of the screenings and procedures are:

  • Breast diagnostic procedures
  • Digital diagnostic procedures
  • Cardiovascular risk assessments
  • Colon cancer screening
  • Well-woman exams and cervical cancer screenings

The fashion show is like no other, the beautiful clothes are modeled by professional models and survivors with their stories being told.  Some of the survivors were diagnosed through the screenings and procedures they received from the mobile health outreach.

Tickets and sponsorships are still available.  Just click Puttin’ on the Pink. Through very generous donations, they will raffle off 11 fabulous prices.  To see the items that can be yours click raffle.  You do not need to be present to win, and you are helping a great cause.

This is our third year covering this event.  Last year it was our honor to interview Irene, the beautiful survivor featured in the video below, and to learn more about the mobile health outreach from someone who has used it.  To learn more about the mobile health and the event, take a look at the video.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. It’s about more than breast cancer, it’s about life–Puttin’ on the Pink.

Puttin’ on the Pink

March 27, 2018

10 am Reception/ 11 am Fashion Luncheon

Fort Worth Convention Center Ballroom

 

 

 

Red Is Your Color

by CY Cooper

Last week, Thursday, March 1st, to be exact, the 2018 Tarrant County Go Red for Women Luncheon took place at the Omni Hotel in downtown Fort Worth, Texas.  The annual event, in conjunction with the American Heart Association drew women, and some men, from all over Tarrant County to come together in their quest to end heart disease and stroke in women. Heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined, and 1 in 3 women die of cardiovascular diseases each year.

The Go Red for Women endeavor began in 2004 and every February/March, women all across the country proudly wear red, telling their stories of survival and raising awareness of heart disease and stroke as the Number 1 killer of women.

This year’s Tarrant County Go Red Luncheon not only raised much needed funds for lifesaving research and awareness, but it also featured keynote speaker, Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially enter and run the Boston Marathon.  Switzer told the packed ballroom, it doesn’t matter what age, size, gender or stage of life you may be in.  It’s never too late to make a change for the better for yourself and for others.

Before the luncheon got underway, attendees were treated to a mimosa reception, complimentary health screenings, cooking with heart demonstrations and a silent auction.  During the luncheon all were encouraged to donate to this year’s fundraising effort by opening up their hearts along with their checkbooks.  Members of the Fort Worth Fire Department were present to assist in collecting the donations.

With the tremendous success of this year’s event in their rear view mirror, organizers have begun planning for the 2019 Tarrant County Go Red Luncheon for Women, scheduled for Friday, February 15th at the Omni Hotel.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear” the color red looks good on everyone.

 

National Wear Red Day

February 2, 2018 is national wear “red” day for American Heart Month.

 

On the first Friday of February national wear “red” day is held to draw attention to the fact that the #1 killer of women is heart disease.  This year, 2018 marks the 15th year for this event.

There have been major strides made in the effort to eradicate heart disease in women, but still, 1 in 3 women will die from some form of heart disease and stroke.

The color red was chosen because it stands out.  It has even been stated that red makes a person feel powerful.

The research has shown that women who participate in the events (wearing red) during February do the following:

  • eat healthier diets
  • exercise more
  • insist on medical tests when having symptoms of stroke/heart attack

My best friend since second grade has had to change many things since suffering three heart attacks, the last one being a major one.  Her challenges have made me more aware of my health.  The symptoms of heart attacks for women are different from those for men.  They can be:

  • pain in one or both arms, stomach, back, neck or jaw–which is what my best friend had
  • dizziness
  • fullness in the chest with or without pain

Symptoms of a stroke can be:

  • sudden blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • sudden trouble speaking
  • sudden numbness or weakness especially on one side

So wear something “red” on February 2, and donate to your local American Heart Association to stomp out heart disease and stroke in women.

To learn more about heart disease, stroke and how to donate contact your local heart association, The National American Heart Association  or The Tarrant County Heart Association.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–Go Red for Women.