I Heart My Boobies

The annual gynecological exam. That one day of the year when poking, prodding, and touching in the nude reaches an all time high of awkward.

But, it must be done.

This year my gyno threw in a little something extra. She told me I was now at the age where a mammogram is recommended.

Very sarcastic YAAAY!

I finally get to have the mammies grammied experience. If I allow my imagination to run away with the descriptions provided by my predecessor grammers, I am certain that I will be walking away from this event with football shaped pancakes.

But, it must be done.

The thought of even the slightest possibility of being diagnosed with cancer is beyond frightening.

I salute every fighter and survivor in the world. You guys are simply amazing.

The Susan G. Kormen Foundation is estimating that an average of 252,710 American women will get breast cancer this year. Although not as common, men are also susceptible to breast cancer with 470 estimated to be diagnosed this year.

I have seen the beast come out of breast cancer. My aunt fought, silently but vigilantly for years. An old school mate-my GOD- she fought with style, grace and eternal beauty! If breast cancer wrote a book, she would be listed in the chapter titled SHIT-FOR PETE’S SAKE! Believe me when I tell you, she was that amazing! They both were and they are truly missed!

A good friend of mine has recently undergone a double mastectomy. We have so much to celebrate on her win!

If given the choice I would choose that uncomfortable poking, prodding, and touching any day and every day over having to live with the diagnosis of breast cancer, or any cancer for that matter. That’s why it’s important to learn your body, know your body, and listen to your body.

More than 40,610 women and 410 men will die as a result of breast cancer this year alone.

Breast cancer does not follow a social platform and does not discriminate by race, ethnicity, religion, or age although some people may be at a higher risk to get it; especially those with, family history, obesity, and alcohol abuse. For more information on breast cancer risk factors click here.

STAY AHEAD OF THE GAME

Learn your body. You spend time with your body 24 hours/7 days per week. That’s a committed relationship. You should spend a significant amount of time learning where everything is, why it’s there and what purpose it serves.

Know your body. After you learn your body, you’ll know when something is amiss. Monthly breast exams can help with the detection of any lumps or distortions. If you are not sure of the correct way to examine your breasts, here’s some more information.

Your body speaks. Your body has different ways of telling you something is wrong. If you’re someone like me who has a very high pain tolerance and an even higher dislike for going to the doctor then you definitely need to listen, closely, when your body speaks.

We are so very good at conditioning ourselves to ignore the pains, cricks and creeks that surface from time to time that, sometimes we ignore issues that are actually serious and we cause our own delay in getting the help that we need. STOP THAT!!! 

Signs and symptoms can differ from one person to another and are not limited to those listed above so when in doubt, check it out!

So, yes, in a couple of weeks I will be pancake Penny but I heart my boobies so it must be done!!

Don’t forget to get your annual poke and prod and, if it’s your time, mash ’em up!

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In the arms of depression

Life is definitely like a box of chocolates. You never know what each second of it will reveal. It’s no surprise that there will be moments of joy, bouts of sadness and periods of loneliness. These are all normal growing pains that we are bound to by default.

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Feeling down is nothing to be alarmed about. We all experience situations that tug at the strings of our various emotional stages. We struggle, we experience loss, our ego’s take a few hits and, usually, we bounce back.

Sometimes, however, some of us lose our bounce. The continuous pounding from the fists of life come too hard too fast. We lose are footing and we slip and, while we’re down, it seems the fists keep pounding. Relentlessly.

When the sun isn’t shining on the inside there are a few things that you can try to do to boost your mood.

  1. Connect with friends and family that you enjoy spending time with.
  2. Get in touch with the beauties of the world. Visit an art gallery or botanical garden.
  3. Grab a book in your favorite genre and get lost in the pages.
  4. Music soothes the savage beast! Turn it up and dance!
  5. Turn on the comedy. Watch your favorite movie or stand up comic.
  6. Pets are very therapeutic.
  7. Treat yourself to a spa day. Massage the tension away.

There are many factors that can lead to depression. Abuse, death, illness, family history, medications and drug abuse are just a few of those factors.

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Symptoms of depression include:

  • Lack of energy. Depression has the ability to absorb all of your energy. Many people with depression report being lethargic and sleeping more often.
  • Loss of interest in things previously liked. People with depression may become withdrawn from activities that were once pleasurable for them. They may no longer want to hang out with friends and family or participate in their favorite pastime hobbies.
  • Restlessness/anxiety. Where others may sleep, there are some who just are unable to. Their minds are constantly rotating thoughts and their adrenaline is pumping ferociously, making it difficult to relax and rest.
  • Change in eating habits. For some, eating more may be a symptom of depression or way of dealing with it. For others, eating is all but forgotten.
  • Emotional roller coaster. Unstable emotions can manifest during depression as uncontrollable outbursts of crying and anger. The seesaw effect of your emotions can leave you feeling over-stimulated in an undesirable and overwhelming way.
  • Giving up. People who become severely tangled in the grip of depression often give up on themselves and the idea that things can get better. They lose their desire to live and feel that the only solution is to commit suicide.

Signs of suicide ideation include:

  • Talking about killing oneself.
  • Voicing feelings of hopelessness.
  • No longer showing interest.
  • Constant sadness.
  • Fluctuating moods.
  • Participating in activities that could lead to death.

If you or someone you know are being held captive by thoughts of suicide, the National Suicide Prevention hotline is there to help at 1.800.273.8255 or 1.800.784.2433. 

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Feelings of depression are nothing to be ashamed of. Some people think they would be looked at differently if they were to admit that things were not quite right. You are not alone!

Millions of people suffer from some form of depression all over the world. If you feel your ordinary ‘down’ feelings are being a little to persistent or if there are changes in your behavior or that of someone you know, seek professional help. Your doctor can help guide you in the right direction.

The world is unique because of you! Don’t let depression tell you otherwise!

 

No meat, please.

Hi all! So, on Thanksgiving day, I spent a few hours in the emergency room where I presented for chest and neck pain. Thankfully, it turned out to be nothing serious. My dilemma is, since that day, I have not wanted to eat a single bite of beef, chicken, or turkey. I will eat seafood with no hesitation but the thought of eating anything else makes my mouth water in a not so flattering way.

In case you’re wondering if it was something I ate on that day, the answer is no. I, actually, had not eaten anything that day except a chocolate almond milk, peanut butter and banana smoothie (delicious). The night before, however, we did go to Wendy’s. Normally, I get the grilled chicken asiago sandwich but that night I opted for the crispy chicken. I don’t know if that was the cause but I will never eat it again. I am emotionally scarred.

Since I have no way of knowing if this will be a permanent way of life for me, I am seeking ideas. If anyone has any tried and true recipes that I can take a shot at, please feel free to share. For the record, I have tried and love the spicy black bean burgers and chik’n patties and nuggets for quick fixes but that doesn’t compare to actual meals. I made a vegetable lasagna that the kids loved but trying to get my husband to eat anything with spinach is like trying to get the 41st president to eat broccoli…won’t happen, cap’n. The face he made looked like one a baby would make when fed pureed peas after giving him a taste of pureed banana.

So, yeah, any recommendations that will trick the picky palates in my home would be greatly appreciated.

 

The STD/STI Connection

I came across an article that discussed the possibility of a connection between grooming your pubic area and sexually transmitted infections (STI’s).

Doctors from the University of California are looking at the popularity of grooming oneself as a link in the transmission of STI’s.  It has been noted that the at risk survey participant groomers were younger and more sexually promiscuous than those who chose not to take a lil bit off the top.  The article further suggested that doctors who were fortunate enough to bear witness to a polished puss should actively investigate the sexual history and safe practices of said individual.

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Let me just say that I think I would be very offended if my doctor assumed that, because I shaved my cooter, I was a sexual rogue. Maybe I just don’t want her to have to leave a trail of bread crumbs to find her way out of the forest after her quest for a cervix check. Maybe I find it a bit creepy for my doctor to go down there and, possibly, be greeted by the rim of Smokey the Bear’s hat. Now, in addition to checking for any abnormalities she’ll also have that slight fear of a bear attack. Or, maybe my cooter just has personality. Maybe she likes to make her own fashion statement where somedays she may want to rock a mohawk and other days she’s cool sporting a dark ceasar and she doesn’t care about what other people think. Personally, when that time of the year rolls around, I like to make sure my girl doesn’t show up looking like an unadoptable orphan. We get nice and snazzy for Dr. Gyn!

Rant over.

On a serious note, when it comes to the male and female reproductive system, any practitioner taking charge over it should inquire and educate on safe practices at inception, whether you are Telly Savalas or Wolfman Jack. That, in my opinion, should be standard. When it comes to grooming, risks of infection may be present if cuts to the skin occur and subsequently come in contact with infectious agents and, for that reason among many others, men and women need to take the responsibility of their self care more seriously. Sexually transmitted diseaeses are not picky which is why you should be.

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Visit before play to brush up on your STI/STD knowledge. Here’s a visual to help drive home the reality of the careless sexual experience.

Just as you should be picky about your partner, you should always be judgemental about the cleanliness of the places you frequent – nail salons, barbershops, hair removal establishments etc. Some STI’s, while known primarily for being spread by sexual conduct, can also occur from skin-to-skin contact. HPV, syphilis, and herpes can be spread if a cut, scratch, or other type of broken skin of an un-infected person comes in contact with the infected cite of someone else. No broken skin? No worries! Unless your mouth, nose and eyes are involved as they are very susceptible to the infections, as well.

One note worthy exception to this is molluscum contagiosum which has been known to make itself at home on any body surface. Documented transmission cases include towel or sponge sharing (and for the record, I think sponges are nasty germ riddled objects that no one should use on their body), pool, gym equipment, and sauna use, and….SURPRISE…public bathrooms!!! Nope, not surprised at all!

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It almost seems that we should be living in our very own plastic bubbles or wearing 24 hour safety suits with the only form of entertainment being credited to virtual reality but we can’t. What we can do is institute safe practices, good judgement and regular check-ups. We can also raise awareness. Talk to your children, your friends and your family. Find ways to alert them about the causes, signs, symptoms and possible outcomes of contracting STI’s. One of the best and easiest ways to do this is to start with you.  Educate yourselves and take control of what goes on with your body.  Leading by example has a way of creating a huge following.