Yes Virginia There Is Life After Menopause

If only life was as simple as song lyrics.  You know if it were that easy then everyday would be great, but we all know that the process of life is not easy.  Each phase we go through has its challenges. Don’t jump to conclusions before you know the facts.

As women we tend to go through phases of life every 5 to 10 years or so it seems. Our bodies are constantly changing, and as we age things can change dramatically. There are studies out there that tell you about perimenopause (premenopause).  They explain what to expect once you get into the dreaded menopause.  It’s sort of  like telling a woman what to expect during pregnancy–no two are ever alike.

Then there are the studies that tell you what to expect while you are in menopause.  They even write television scripts about it. Remember Edith Bunker? They tend to forget to tell you again that no two women experience the same things in the same way.  Some people never know they have entered the dreaded menopause zone. They just know they are no longer having periods.  There are no hot flashes, no night sweets, no mood swings, no heart palpitations–they don’t even know they are changing.

My doctor who is male gave me advice when I talked to him about certain symptoms.  At least it was honest advice.  He said no one had ever died from menopause at least to his knowledge.  Life would get better.

Well I am here to tell you it does get better, but not the same.  Some women still experience brain fogginess, you know not remembering directions while driving, but you get there–don’t panic, it’s normal for some.  Reading and rereading is one that many women experience. It makes it hard when you are in a book club.

Weight comes from just thinking about food, and it comes in places that you never had it before.  Don’t fret exercise and a well-balanced diet still can fix this–it just takes more effort and time than before.

Had oily skin when you were a teenager and hated it, don’t worry after menopause dry skin is normal for many women.  Moisturizer becomes their best friend.  There may be a need to switch to all new cosmetics.

The subject of hair is another subject.  Depends on where the hair is or isn’t.  My best advice is to invest in a good magnifying mirror and a pair of tweezers.  Enough about hair that isn’t on the head, but on the face.

Some women even after menopause still have hot flashes.  I know for a fact insomnia can continue on.

There are prescription medications that you can take to help with the symptoms, there are even holistic medications that are available.  It’s up to you and your doctor to decide what course of action that you need to take.  Remember what is good for someone else may not be good for you. Don’t jump into what others do, we are all different.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear” and “yes, there is life after menopause”.  Now jump!  Just look before you leap because no two experiences on this journey of life are the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Going Red For A Healthy Heart

Go redIt’s said that we do everything bigger (and better) in Texas.  Well the American Heart Association of Tarrant County did their Go Red Luncheon bigger and better than most.  It was a virtual sea of every bright shade of red that one could imagine.  Even the men wore something red.

The beautiful Omni Hotel had the fireplace going, and the smiles of the valet’s and others were as big and bright asGo red 3 anything that Texas has seen. After stopping at the registration desk and receiving instructions on bidding on the wonderful items at the silent auction, I decided to attend the healthy cooking demonstration presented by the head chef at Texas Health Harris Hospital Southwest Fort Worth.  He was entertaining and informative.  While he talked about his dishes some attendees sipped on their mimosa’s from the reception.  He had a question and answer session, and then a delicious tasting of “heart healthy” food.

Go red 2The silent auction had everything (no I did not get anything) from jewelry to suites at the Ballpark and more. There was no need to keep running back and forth to see if you were ahead on the bidding, all you needed was your phone.

Aside from the silent auction, there was information about heart disease, the dangers of Go red 12smoking, CPR training and many other informational stations. The professionals at the stations were eager to answer any and all questions.

Go red 7Karen Borta of CBS 11 served as the Mistress of Ceremony at the Heart Healthy Luncheon.  The luncheon featured laughter, information and a powerful testimony given by Tabitha Millsop.  The keynote address was given by actress and comedienne Tracey Conway who is also a sudden cardiac arrest survivor. She led all of us in a pledge to take care of our hearts.

As the attendees waited patiently for their cars, it was quite evident that the Go Red Luncheon had given everyone something to think about which is what the staff of the American Heart Association of Tarrant County wanted. You could overhear talks of loved ones with heart disease. There was talk of exercise and watching one’s diet.  The American Heart Association of Tarrant County was blushing red.  They had Tarrant County talking.

For more information about the number one killer of women (heart disease) go to www.heart.org to find your local chapter of the American Heart Association.  They have information, plus opportunities to volunteer to assist the cause.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Pledge to keep it “heart healthy”.

A Survivor Gives Back

You know how some things just catch your attention?  They just stick in your mind.  Well the name “Women With Gifts” was one of those things, and I had to know more about it.  The motto was even intriguing “Growing Roses From A Briefcase”. Then to top it off they were sponsoring a project that was near and dear to my heart.  I survivedThe project is called “I Survived” Gospel Concert.  This is a movement to celebrate survivors of breast cancer, sexual abuse and domestic violence.  This concert will donate the proceeds to Dunbar High School in Fort Worth, Texas and the Umoja mentoring organization. I made an appointment to interview the founder of “Women With Gifts” to learn more about the organization.

I’m always telling my students and children that you never know who you are going to meet.  When I attended the press conference for the announcement of MegaFest coming back to Dallas, I introduced myself to this beautiful young lady who immediately said she knew my name.

Photography by Radiant Sparks
Photography by Radiant Sparks

Then she smiled and said that she was the person that I had an interview with later on that day.  Even in the few minutes that we talked I knew that the interview would be something special.

Mrs. LaNette Kincaid is a woman on a mission.  A mission to give back to the community, to give and to assist other women with their gifts. Let’s first start with the “I Survived” Concert.  Everyone knows someone or maybe they are that someone who has survived breast cancer, domestic violence or sexual abuse and more.  This concert is a celebration of their survival.  When I asked LaNette why gospel music, she talked of her survival through her own illness and how gospel music speaks to the soul.  There is a gospel song for every trial, all tribulations–there is a gospel song for every situation.

She has always given back to the community through coat drives, programs on breast cancer and more. She is intent on helping the community as much as she can.

Her website “Women With Gifts”–“Growing Roses From A Briefcase” not only assist women with using their gifts, but it mentors other women to use their gifts.  She realizes that sometimes women suppress their gifts, and though her mentoring she helps to inspire and motivate them so that they can use what God has given them.

Her determination to help others does not stop with the concert or the mentoring.  She invites other bloggers to post on her blog, giving them a chance for others to read their work.  She says that God gave her the inspiration to launch “Women With Gifts”, and she is determined to assist others in their endeavors.

The “I Survived” Gospel Concert will be held on March 7, 2015 at 6 PM at Dunbar High School (5700 Ramey Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76112).  You can purchase your tickets at: www.eventbrite.com/e/i-survived-gospel-concert-tickets-14746225357. 

You can also purchase the tickets at the Women With Gifts site at: http://womenwithgifts.com/.

Being a survivor and helping others is a way to give back to others.  Mrs. LaNette Kincaid is “Growing Roses From A Briefcase”.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–why not start planting your garden?

Free Women’s Health Event

For Women for Life Women’s Health Event

women's health event

Baylor All Saints is throwing it’s annual women’s health event, “For Women For Life” on Saturday, January 24, 2015 from 7 AM to 11 AM at 10 locations in and around North Texas. It is offered free to you, but you must register.

They are inviting you to enjoy breakfast, and then receive lots of free health screenings.  They want you to enjoy watching healthy cooking demonstrations, visit health booths, and learn from various panel discussions that will be led by physicians.

Some of the topics that will have question and answer sessions are:  Heart Health, Cancer Care, Orthopedics and Women’s Health.

Check the link above (For Women for Life Women’s Health Event) to see if your area is offering this event.  If not contact your local hospital to inquire.

Grab your friends and enjoy learning more about your health.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

The Texas Conference For Women Is For You

Decisions, decisions–it is so hard to choose what sessions to attend at the Texas Conference For Women in Austin, Texas on November 13, 2014.  The state of Texas does things bigger and better than most, and the Texas Conference For Women is one of the biggest in the nation with something for what seems like every woman in and around Texas (everybody).  That’s where the decision part comes in–choosing.

The keynote speakers are a who’s who in various fields of endeavor.  Soledad O’Brien, Diana Nyad and others will be gracing the stage.  There are Pulitzer Prize winners, company CEO’s and more.  The conference will have breakout sessions, round table discussions, vendors and fantastic networking opportunities.

This year the conference is celebrating its 15th anniversary with a fantastic, strong group of leaders who are experts in their chosen fields. The women attending will be able to obtain valuable paths to becoming more successful in their careers and in their personal lives.

To learn more about the Texas Conference For Women, go to: http://www.txconferenceforwomen.org/.  There is something for you.  It is a perfect girls weekend in Austin, Texas.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

TX-Conf-Nov13-sq

Pearly Whites Need to be Kept Bright

There are many different suggested ways that are said to turn back the aging clock; from creams, to pills, to injections to much more.  This week we’re going to share one solution that is easy and cost-effective, and most of all–it works.

A smile can make or break a first impression, and it is one of the first things to age on us.  To be exact, our teeth age a lot faster than most of the rest of our ody.

My mother always told me to keep my hair and my teeth up.  Once on Oprah, cosmetics queen Bobbi Brown said that teeth were one of the things that aged us first.  She was the first person that I heard suggest that we whiten our teeth to help with our appearance.  Back then you had to go to the dentist for this procedure.  Now all you need to do is go into any store where they sell toothpaste and you are on your way.

Whitening teeth is like anything else, you can overdo it.  Think back to people who have the whitest teeth.  The ones that I think of are usually people who live in third world countries with poor and/or no nutrition.  Their teeth are so white because their bodies are lacking something nutritionally.  So please do not overdo it.

There are many reasons that our pearly whites lose their luster–from the water we drink to coffee, tea, smoking and much more.  Very few of us brush every time we eat.

There are many products out there that will give you some degree of whitening.  I personally went to the dentist and had the tray made.  I take the tray out, put a small amount of whitener in it and wear the tray for about 15 to 20 minutes every three to four weeks.  I love coffee, no I mean I love coffee, but I know that it can stain teeth, so I follow this routine to keep my smile bright.

You may only need to whiten your top teeth and/or bottom teeth.  While looking in the mirror, smile–do you smile wide enough to see upper and lower teeth, if not why whiten them?  Remember, anything that you do that is not natural, and bleaching is not natural will harm you in the long run.

It is so much easier now to whiten teeth.  Any store that sells regular toothpaste, sells whitener.  Some toothpaste such as Colgate Optic White, Crest 3D White Vivid Mint and many more are easily available.  There are strips such as Crest Whitestrips and more.  You can do the at home kits.  If you have the time and money you can even do the veneers which are what most celebrities have.

Take your time and decide what’s best for you.  I will guarantee you that people will notice your new smile.  When they ask you what is different, just tell them “this is your best year.”  Notice my friend Nedra and I showing off our pearly whites above.

Which products do you use to enhance your smile–share with us.  See you next week.  Thisisyourbestyear.

Getting Ready for the Day

As women we tend to think that we have to be all to everyone.  We sometimes, well most of the time tend to forget that we must take care of ourselves.

It is so important that we start the day in a way that allows us to be at our best.  Let’s talk about routines that keep us in the right frame of mind.

I find that starting the day with prayer is one of the best things that help me.  No matter how little sleep I’ve gotten, I wake up thanking God for the new day.  After doing all the morning things like brushing teeth, washing face and putting on the coffee  (yes, I have to have my coffee), I do a series of stretches to get the body warmed up.

A daily devotional is a must for me.  I’m now reading “Through the Year with Jimmy Carter–366 Daily Meditations from the 39th President”.  I read my devotional with a cup of coffee.  Then I have something for breakfast.

Usually I will watch the local news and weather to start my day.  I only watch about 10 minutes of the morning shows just to see what is going on in the world.  They tend to not be news, but opinions, and there is no need to get upset that early in the morning so why watch.  Don’t start your day with negativity.

I believe that I need to laugh before I leave for work so I turn on something that makes me laugh which is usually a rerun of some sitcom.  After I have laughed, I’m on my way hopefully to a good day.  Start your day with a smile.

How do you start your day?

Remember “Thisisyourbestyear”, and have a good week.

Looking Good When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep (Quick Fixes for Sleepy Skin)

You partied a little too much last night or you just couldn’t sleep last night, but now it’s time to go to work.  You look in the mirror and you don’t like what you see.  It’s time for a quick fix that can get you on your way.  Make no mistake, the best way to look good is to get enough sleep, but we all know that sometimes we just can’t do it.

There are many products out there that claim to work miracles, and we will touch on them as we go, but this time we are going to discuss remedies that are free or almost free. These items will help wakeup your face.

First off please remember that applying too much makeup over sleepy skin looks like too much makeup over sleeping skin.  It is not a good look.  In this case less is better.

Both solutions can be found in the refrigerator.  The first remedy is ice, just plain ice.  Fill a medium size mixing bowl with ice, pour the ice into your bathroom sink and add cold water.  Splash your face with the cold water (if your hands are not cold, then add more ice) about five times.  Then take an ice cube and rub it under each eye to help with puffiness.  You will be surprised—this does help.

If you can’t stand the cold, then go back into the refrigerator and get that box of baking soda.  Wet your face, then pour a small amount of baking soda in your hand and apply it to your face.  While your face is wet and has the baking soda on it, gently rub your face in a circular motion—you re exfoliating dull skin. You can then rinse your face with plain water.

Each one of these remedies can be used in the case of an emergency fix. After you have done either of the suggestions above, follow your same routine for applying your makeup, but remember that today, less is more.

Ladies if you have any solutions for sleepy skin, please make comments.  It’s all about sharing—we’ve all been there.

See you next week.  Thisisyourbestyear.