Pink reminder, get your mammogram

 

October, the world a wash in pink everywhere you look, corporations cashing in on the cancer struggle of millions of women.  I had no intention of posting anything this month, I don’t post much these days.  My mind was changed after receiving the news that another friend has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Her journey begins, so many lives affected.

The questions from my own daughters are now deeper.   Four years is a long time in the life of a child, they remember my surgery but did they really understand?  Last night my little one, now 9, asked if I could ever get “that cancer” since I had the BPM.  For me, the much more important question is how high of a risk my beautiful daughters have and how do we handle those risks as they grow.  The only answer I can find right now, control what you can.  When was your last mammogram?  If you don’t remember pick up the phone and call for an appointment today!    Talk to every women in your life and remind them to do the same.  If you like pink that’s great but keep in mind that if millions were not being made by every company making or wearing all of that pink, it would not be happening.  Instead use the pink as a reminder, get your screening!

“An ounce of prevention is worth  a pound of cure”- Benjamin Franklin

There of course is no cure for cancer but the studies are very clear, the earlier breast cancer is found the better the chance treatment will be successful.  Call for your mammogram today!

Correctness-A downward spiral

Democracy A system of government in which power is vested in the people, who rule either directly or through freely elected representatives.  

Through school I was always taught that the basic belief of democracy was the belief that  the rights of the many outweighed the rights of the few.  As kids, we would vote for everything from which game to play to where to eat, of course with the majority vote winning.  The outcome of those votes were accepted, even if not loved by all because everyone at least had input.

Recently things are far from the free world in which I grew up. The rights of the few in many corners seem to far outweigh those of the masses.  Freedom of speech squelched by small groups who feel they have the right to quiet ideas they do not like.  Political rallies shouted down by a handful interfering with the rights of the thousands who attended to hear the speakers.  Media outlets turning off microphones to guests daring to disagree.  A free and fair media replaced by big money corporations drilling in ideology from both sides relentlessly in a 24 hour news cycle.

The hatred and division are clear in all aspects of our lives,  preventing the free flow of ideas.  Social media filled with silly memes and those who must post every article they see supporting the ideas they share.   Public shaming of people who not too long ago were allowed, even encouraged to live and speak freely.   I find it fascinating that as a society we are so concerned about bullying in our schools yet on a too often regular basis otherwise intelligent adults are bullying each other.

I am sad and aggravated.  I long for a better time.

 

A loving pet

Years ago Frank and went to the animal shelter with the intentions of adopting a kitten.  Once there, they implored us to take 2 due to extreme over crowding.  We headed into the cat room and began to walk down the aisle looking from cage to cage.  One little black and white kitten jumped to the front of a cage and attempted to climb the little bars.  For those old enough to remember the movie Gremlins, she looked just like one of the little monsters with giant ears and eyes the size of silver dollars.  She picked me!  I pointed her out and went along and did choose a second cat.  They were both a little sick so we were send home with meds and told to follow-up with a Vet.

Once home, we realized the adorable black and white baby was younger than we thought not even able to feed herself.  I found myself bottle feeding her sitting on the kitchen counter.  We named her Lexi. I guess it was a test run at children.  Throughout the years we had other animals that came and went.   A dog who we had to give away after he tried to bite Meg, my mother’s cat that we took in after she passed.  She went a bit crazy when I was pregnant with Megan so she too had to leave the family.

When the girls were younger we added Holly, our beautiful black lab who wanted nothing more than to play with our now aging kitty.  Lexi would sit on a chair just high enough to smack the dog in the face, she did not share the urge to play.  Eventually Lexi moved herself to the basement no longer climbing the steps, and interestingly the dog never went down.  It was always as if they had made an arrangement on living space, often staring at each other at the stairs.

Over the years no matter the changes to our household, Lexi was a constant, @18 years old.  She moved a little slower and screamed a bit louder and maybe did not hear as much as she once did but she was our girl.

This morning we said goodbye to Lexi, finding her peaceful in a corner after she did not come to eat.  She will be missed.

 

Joy and Sadness; a Partnership

The other night the girls and I watched the Disney movie Inside Out.  We had seen it in the movies and enjoyed it, and we enjoyed it just as much the second time.   If you have not seen it the premise is a young girl forced to move due to her fathers new job and the five emotions that lead her, joy, sadness, disgust, anger, and fear.

Multiple times throughout the movie I told my oldest daughter that the “sadness” character was my favorite.  When asked why (other than how cute the character is,) I explained that throughout life you can only enjoy true joy because of real sadness.  Life is full of highs and lows, many stormy moments that in my mind are all there to remind you that when you have the happy moments, true joy, you should wrap your arms around it and cherish the moments.   How much of our lives are just a bunch of mixed moments, sadness, anger and fear leading to moments of great joy.The moment I was rushed down the hallway of a hospital for and emergency C-section because Madison’s heart rate had dropped.  So scared, tears streaming down my face.  Hours later the wonderful joy of holding my beautiful, healthy baby.  So many moments before my BPM surgery and during the healing process all leading to a sense of peace and health allowing me to focus on what is important in life.

Sadness, an emotion that surrounded so much of my life growing up has once again been able to creep into my life.  It started as a sadness of the loss of a few once important relationships.  This sadness has now turned more to one of lamenting  that you can not control others actions no matter how much you bend.  Some are not happy unless they make everyone miserable around them. Joy for some is seeing sadness in others.

Clearly you should not surround yourself with people who make you feel bad.  Of course, life is never that easy.  A decision that seems so clear and easy has ripple effects often creating a whirlwind of confusion, hurt feelings and the ever so popular, politically correct, “I don’t want to get involved.”  Sometimes you have to bite your lip and sometimes, well you just have to cut ties and move on.  I guess the most important thing is knowing which is which.

Decisions that matter and those that change everything

Bilateral Prophylactic Mastectomy, a decision made after years of anguished thought, one that changed my life.  Words to some, but a 2 year-long process that changed everything about how I think, how I make decisions and almost everything about my life.  The entire stream of thought that started this blog as I worked through my decisions to have surgery over 3 years ago.  I truly do believe that the process changed my life as well as my families.

Over time these pages became my thoughts on life, parenting and more.  I have never changed the name because no matter the thoughts shared, they have always been about “decisions” in some way.  I mean that is all life is right?  A long road paved in decisions both good and bad.

As your kids grow they become involved in activities, sports and otherwise and you grow to trust the adults, often parents who also have children involved.  You tell yourself that they are doing what is best for all of the kids as well as your child.  This is our story with soccer.  The girls have both played since 5 years old.  Issues began to show themselves last year with our older daughter’s team but to be honest at the time I was in the midst of the Town Council election race and could not refused to see it  act on the issues.

11928724_10203867858291906_7063304232702176066_nIt became clear the development of my child was not important to those in charge of the team.  She was not having fun, the team was not growing and something had to give.  In our town many demand loyalty to the “township”.  I am loyal only to those I love and those loyal to myself and those I love.  It became clear it was time for a decision,

Decisions, stay within our township and play for a team put together as an after thought,

Decisions, Play for other townships who we once competed against(a few wanted Meg because she was one of the strongest full-time goalkeepers in the area, a position she never wanted to play full-time)

Decisions, go totally outside the established township societal rules and try out for a private club team.

The long process of making this decision sounds so silly to some but when the will, thoughts and feelings of an 11-year-old girl are involved, absolutely nothing is easy.  This was a very difficult decision, she would not know anyone, she would play outside of our community.  Since she was not ever provided playing time on the field (outside of goal) she was at a clear disadvantage.  We showed up for a training and after only 45 minutes my girl was accepted to the team, a private club team.  The interesting feedback from the evening, she would be expected to play all aspects and was too young to be limited to any one aspect of the game but that they would train her.  The decision was clear and made immediately.  My girl was thrilled.

For the last 2 months we have practiced and trained all guided under the eyes of her new coach.  Scrimmages and 3 v 3 competitions to prepare for the season brought us to this past weekend.  Our first tournament to prepare for the season.  With Megan’s background and skill she is still the starting keeper for the team and started all 3 games during the first half.  In the second half of the first game she took the field  as a mid-fielder playing a mixed offensive/defensive position and pulled her weight.  It was the second game where my head spun!  Midway through the second half  I saw my girl substituted into the game as a Forward.  I figured she was there just to give someone a water break and that it would be a short shift but then something happened.  Meg had only been in the game for about 2-3 minutes when her team began moving down the field.  A beautiful pass from a teammate right to the center of the field where Meg was waiting and with one touch Megan launched the ball into the top of the net for her first goal ever.

Meg jumped so high it became clear to her teammates how special this was for her.  Hugs and high fives were exchanged.  Pride, confidence, development and teamwork.  Our decision was clearly the right one.  I have never seen my daughter practice so hard and enjoy the game so much.  She looks forward to practice and can not wait for the next game.  They will not win every game but they have heart, fight and a will to succeed.  If life were a book I would have to say that this chapter is still being written but the first few pages look like one great story!

Lunacy

Day after day we hear stories about how unfair life is and how those that “have”  owe something to those that do not. As a country we seem to be losing our perspective. Hard work, drive, education no longer seem important. Entry level workers think they should be paid equivalent to those who spent much more time on education and experience. Many feel the government should take care of them and that pay scales should be equal regardless of education or time spent.   To top it off was an article a few months ago suggesting parents who read to their children at night are providing an unfair advantage to their children.  When does it stop?

Lower the standards , don’t offend, don’t rock the boat. Make everything “fair”. We give participation awards to all of the kids and mandate playing time as to not exclude or hurt feelings.  We make excuses instead of demanding improvements, instead of working to bridge the gaps and raise the bar. Since millions have never heard the word NO, they are growing up to expect everything handed to them.

We have a presidential election not too far away where on one side we have a blow-hard spouting any and every crazy thing that comes to his head and on the other a woman so surrounded in corruption.  Is this really it?  Is this what we are to build our future on?  What is worse is the fact that as a society we are so divided that both have a loyal following.

What are we leaving our children?