Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Early Detection Can Save Your Life

Shortly after breast cancer awareness month ended, new US guidelines for mammograms were announced. People across the country joined forces throughout the month of October to remind women of the importance of breast health. We walked walks and talked about breast self exams and encouraged women to get mammograms in an effort to increase early detection and save lives. And then THEY tell us, we shouldn't really worry until we're 50. 


Last month, I found three lumps in my right breast. Because I make a regular habit of pretending like everything is just great, I considered ignoring them for a moment. But then I remembered my friend and my cousin who are breast cancer survivors. Both of them found lumps before they turned 50. My friend was in her early 40s and my cousin was in her early 30s. I remembered my aunt who is a breast cancer survivor as well.

I remembered when they shaved their heads as they endured chemotherapy. I remembered when they were too weak to walk the walks themselves. I remembered when they were scared and when I was scared for them. I remembered their courage and their defiance toward the disease. And I remembered the early detection which is what ultimately saved their lives.

Here are a few quick facts from the American Breast Cancer Foundation:
  • More than eighty percent of women who develop breast cancer have no family history of the disease...one out of eight American women will get breast cancer.  
  • When breast cancer is found in its earliest stages, your chances of surviving are at least 90 percent or better.  
  • While it is true that the majority, up to 78%, of the disease is found in women in [their 50s], there is still a significant number of cases found in women under the age of thirty. In fact, most cancer found in younger women is more advanced. 
  • Most breast cancers have been present for 8 - 10 years before a lump is found. 
I am happy to report that I have fibroid cysts, not cancer. I am very fortunate. Eliminating the option for mammograms before 50 and essentially making light of the importance of early detection is criminal as far as I am concerned.

Keep doing those self exams ladies. And keep pushing your doctors, your insurance companies and your legislators to encourage early detection and mammograms for all women.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Life Online

The internet is good for so many things. The world wide web literally brings the world into your home. It opens the door to far away lands, new perspectives and innovative ideas. It introduces you to people whose paths you may have never crossed. Ideally, the internet expands your horizons, enlightens and educates you and makes life a little more fun.

Because it's so cool, the internet can suck you in and consume your time. In fact, in some instances it may consume your life. And after hours and hours online, meeting people and chatting and sharing ideas, the internet can become a big part of your life.

The beauty of the internet is that it's faceless. Of course, people post pictures and build profiles but the internet allows you to be anybody you want to be. Often it's easier to talk online too. It's sort of like going out for a night on the town in a foreign city that you'll probably never visit again. You let your guard down. You let your inner self come out without fear of judgment or repercussion. Online it's easier to piece together what you'll say because you get to type it and delete it and type it again before you hit send.

And because of the newness and the easiness, people are just more likable online. You get to know them quicker without all of the nonsense of every day getting in the way. Before you know it, your friend count has dramatically increased.

The problem is, that is just your life online. These are your online experiences with your online "friends." And it is real life... But real life also includes face to face, tactile experiences.

People will disagree with me but you cannot live your whole life online. You just can't. And I think doing so gives you a warped sense of reality, sometimes of what's appropriate and it bolsters your expectations sometimes making them quite unrealistic.

Life online is good. But it is not the only life. And it should not be your whole life.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Belly Bomber Birthday

Normally, I would bake cupcakes or cookies for an office birthday. But when the birthday boy or girl doesn't have a sweet tooth, one must find a suitable substitute. That was the situation at work today and  I thought a White Castle Crave CaseTM might hit the spot. 

When I was a little girl, White Castle burgers were a treat. Once every few Fridays, on our way home from a night with the family at my grandpa's, my dad would announce that we were stopping to pick up some "belly bombers." I loved the cheeseburgers with no onions which goes totally against the concept of the White Castle sliders. But dad would order them and we would wait for an eternity for my special order to come up.

Today's special treat took roughly 15 minutes and, as expected, it did hit the spot. I've heard it said that you don't have to tell people that you're cool if you're really cool. And now I know it's true. All you have to do is bring a Crave Case into work for some guy's birthday.

White Castle Crave Case is a trademark of the White Castle Management Company.