Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Women, Take Heed

In these waning days of September, the month dedicated to ovarian cancer awareness, I would be remiss to not mention the signs and symptoms of this silent killer:

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
Even in its early stages ovarian cancer has symptoms. Research indicates that 95 percent of women with ovarian cancer had symptoms and 90 percent of women experienced symptoms with early-stage ovarian cancer. Symptoms vary from woman to woman and many times depend on the location of the tumor and its impact on the surrounding organs. Many of the symptoms mimic other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.
The Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists and the American Cancer Society, with significant support from the Alliance formed a consensus statement on ovarian cancer. The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance has endorsed the consensus statement, which was announced in June 2007. The statement follows.
Historically ovarian cancer was called the “silent killer” because symptoms were not thought to develop until the chance of cure was poor. However, recent studies have shown this term is untrue and that the following symptoms are much more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than women in the general population. These symptoms include:
Pelvic or abdominal pain
Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)
Women with ovarian cancer report that symptoms are persistent and represent a change from normal for their bodies. The frequency and/or number of such symptoms are key factors in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Several studies show that even early stage ovarian cancer can produce these symptoms.
Women who have these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks should see their doctor, preferably a gynecologist. Prompt medical evaluation may lead to detection at the earliest possible stage of the disease. Early stage diagnosis is associated with an improved prognosis.
Please visit OCNA for more information.

Taken from www.tealtoes.org

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Welcome to Holland

byEmily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I Won't Forget

It was a beautiful day much like today. Temperature was around 70 and school had just started again after a long summer break. I had just finished an exercise video and was about to start the treadmill when I turned on the tv. Instead of the regular programming the station was showing a view of the World Trade Center which was expelling billowing, dark gray smoke.

I called Himself at work to see what the buzz was there since he was in the travel industry. They thought it was a small plane gone astray just as one did at the Empire State Building many years ago. While we were talking, a second plane went into the other Tower and I screamed, "OhmyGod! OhmyGod! OhmyGod! It was then we knew we were being attacked.

After hanging up with Himself, I tried to go on the treadmill. Was it shock? A need for normalcy or routine in my world which had just been turned upside down? I can't tell you but I remember that I couldn't stay on that machine but, instead, sat riveted to the television.

I called my sister and gave her office the lowdown. I called my parents, brother, friends and told those who hadn't heard yet to put on their tv's. What channel, they asked. Any channel.

Thinking about bioterrorism, I went to the nearest supermarket and bought twenty-two gallons of water and two gallons of bleach for purifying water. I then filled up my gas tank and told the Arab attendant to be careful. Next was a stop at my dd's home. She was a mess but I knew that her friends were on their way so I went to The Boy's school.

The Boy was in the lunch room and I explained to him and his friends what was happening as calmly as possible. They didn't seem spooked so I asked my boy if he wanted to stay in school and be brave for his friends. He said yes. As I was leaving, I stopped in at the nurse's office. I told her I didn't know what was the right thing to do. She told me that, yes, I did know. I immediately went back to the lunch room and took my son home.

Himself was not permitted to leave work until three that afternoon. We had to turn off the television despite the fact that I didn't want to. It just wasn't good for our boy to watch this over and over again.

Living close to a very busy airport we are quite used to hearing planes going overhead at any time of the day. One of the most eerie parts of that day was the silence of commuter jet traffic and the roar of military jets and the pulsing of helicopter rotors which occasionally swept by.

We had no idea what was to come next. All we knew was that we were together, God was and is alive and well and that His eye was/is on us.

Truth be told, I don't remember much else about that day. I was helping to care for a friend who was dying of cancer and had to compartmentalize everything to be able to cope. In the following months, I became anorexic (not for the first time), my son graduated from sixth grade, my dear friend died and I went into an eating disorders facility for three weeks to keep from dying myself. However, on September 11, 2002, the trauma hit me big time. I kept expecting the same thing to happen. It didn't, thankfully, but the PTSD Alien Hunter speaks of was and, I believe, is still rampant in these here parts.

On this fifth anniversay, I sit here and wonder when the next attack will occur and if it will happen in the same places. Could my son cope with watching a site in NYC smoking and burning for two months again? I don't care what your political leanings are but I believe this administration has strengthened our security greatly. Our borders are still porous and that is a problem we need to deal with. Whether or not we belong in Iraq will not be discussed on this site and I will immediately delete any posts referring to it.

One of my greatest fears is that we, as a nation, have become complacent. Yes, we have to get on with our lives. However, there are people who complain about taking off their shoes before hopping on a plane and many who no longer fly their flags like we did five years ago. The taxis in NYC are honking their horns loudly again unlike the control they showed for what I believe was months after 9/11.

One good change has remained, though. We say, "I love you," much more freely than we did five years ago. We are much more aware of how fragile and finite our lives are. This is a very good thing.