Monday, October 20, 2014

Strange Encounters

The moon was full. That has to be a factor in all this. The day started with an errand to Costco.
At Costco I could not find everything I was looking for, unbelievable but true! So I only picked up the 1 item I needed. As I am waiting in line at the check out with my 1 item, 2 women about my age behind me start dissing me.

“Who goes to Costco and buys only 1 thing?”
“I never would come into Costco for just one item!”
“How can you only find 1 thing to buy at Costco?”

I turned around and said“ But aren’t you glad you are behind me?”
This does not shut them up. I think my delivery was off, or they were itching for a fight.

As I am walking to my car with my one item a car stops in front of me and the woman about my age turns down her window. I thought she was going to ask directions.
Woman, "Do you like chips?”
Me. “Who doesn’t?”
Woman, “Do you like dip with your chips?”
Me, “But of course.”

Now here I am thinking she is going to pitch me from inside her car Pampered Chef or some multi level company. I mean why else are we 2 strangers discussing chips and dip in the Costco parking lot with her car idling? Truth be told, I love a good sales pitch and I never shy away from one, so I was already giving this woman kudos for her boldness in stopping and approaching me.

Woman, “Do you like taco seasoning?”
Me, “Yes, I do.”
Woman, “Do you use packaged taco seasoning?”
Me, “No I make my own”.

Here it is, I think the pitch is coming.

Woman, “I use one package of taco seasoning and 1 pint of sour cream. I mix it together and let it sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour and it is delicious.”
Me, “OK.”
Woman, “Only 1 pint of sour cream.”
Me, “OK. Thanks. Got it.”
Woman, “Bye.”
She drove off. I think she just wanted to share a recipe.

I can easily be on the phone with a friend for an hour. I will gab with my sister daily for 20 minutes without giving it a second thought. But what if you have retired or are an empty nester and you don’t have many people to have a good chat? Do you stir up conversation/controversy in the check out line or do you stop a stranger to share a good recipe?

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Sisterhood of Breast Cancer

There exists a sisterhood of women who have survived breast cancer. Those of us in this group know many members who have not survived. Recently I was giving a breast cancer awareness talk at a community college. One youngish woman asked in all sincerity, “But women don’t really die any longer from breast cancer so shouldn’t all this money and education be spent on more life threatening diseases?”

Luckily I was not the only person giving the presentation and my partner found her words faster to reply. This was a question in my 8 years of breast cancer outreach I never before had heard.

My speaking partner is a 32-year breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed at age 30 after giving birth to her second child. 32 years ago breast cancer treatments were just short of barbaric and she told her story and how research and treatments have come a long way from slash, cut, and poison but yet still some women die. Actually younger women have a higher mortality rate, however breast cancer is not necessarily a death sentence. Some women with metastasized breast cancer can live 5-15 years. But not all breast cancers are alike.

I told the story of a friend of mine who was diagnosed 5 years after my diagnosis. Her cancer stage was actually better than mine but it was a different kind of cancer. She did everything according to protocol set by her oncologists. After her 5-year mark it was discovered her cancer had metastasized and with-in 5 months she was dead.

In the last 5 years I have lost 3 friends to breast cancer. 2 more have been diagnosed with the disease, and 2 more have had a reoccurrence. It is a sisterhood that binds us together, one we never wanted to join. The fatality rate has been reduced through educational and social outreach, and medical advances resulting in early detection but it is still a life threatening disease with no cure!

Do you know some one in the sisterhood?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Breast Cancer Myths Debunked

 I picked 10 myths about breast cancer. They always show up and make the news but they are just myths.

1. Bras cause breast cancer.
There actually was a recent study showing that this myth is really not sustainable. Really does anyone sincerely think that you get breast cancer from wearing a bra?

2. Breast Cancer is genetic.
Less than 10% of all breast cancers are genetic.

3. Deodorants and antiperspirants cause breast cancer.
Nope there really is not a link.

4. An injury to the chest causes breast cancer.
No one wants a chest injury but it won’t cause breast cancer.

5. Small-breasted women are less likely to get breast cancer.
If only it was true.

6. Large breasted women are more likely to get breast cancer.
Size really does not mater in breast cancer.

7. The radiation in a mammogram can cause breast cancer.
No, the radiation is just a tiny amount.

8. If your mammogram is clean you are 100% breast cancer free.
Know your body. Sometimes a mammogram will not pick up everything.

9. Having an abortion raises your risk for breast cancer.

10. Breast Cancer is preventable.
I wish that was true.

There are many crazy theories and myths about breast cancer. These 10 are ones I hear all the time. Breast cancer, because there is no cure, is scary and fear drives crazy myths.
Did I debunk any myths for you?

Monday, September 29, 2014

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Here are 5 things you should know or do for the month of October:

One, Get a mammogram.
If you already had one this year, be sure to have next year’s scheduled.

Can’t afford a mammogram?  Not an excuse. Between health care reforms, or various agencies, it is affordable. What you cannot afford is to get breast cancer.

If you think a mammogram hurts or you are too busy to have one this year, I can tell you first hand cancer hurts and you can’t believe how busy you will be if you get breast cancer. If you are afraid because what if you do have breast cancer, let me tell you sticking your head in the sand is not a cure for breast cancer!

Two, Make sure all your sisters and friends, get a mammogram.
Go with them or schedule it for them.       
Don’t listen to news stories that say you don’t need one every year. If you are under 80 and over 40, get a yearly screening. If you or a loved one has a Mother who had breast cancer you need to be screened 10 years before they were diagnosed.

Three, Know that less than 10 % of all breast cancers are genetic.
If you think breast cancer cannot happen to you because there is no breast cancer in your family, you are WRONG. The two leading causes of breast cancer are: Being a woman and too many birthdays.

Four, If you think you are too Fit and too Healthy to get breast cancer, think again!
Breast cancer happens. All it takes is one cell to go rogue. Breast cancer is not a disease that is caught or lifestyle influenced.

Five, Know there is no cure for breast cancer.
I wish there was a cure. Those of us who have had the disease, we are only in remission. My company, Haralee.Com Sleepwear donates a portion of every sale to breast cancer research. During the month of October we double our contributions.

Did you learn a fact? Have you had your mammogram?