I got invited to speak to a room full of girls from K-6 last night and it was awesome. The were all dressed in pink and were practicing cheers. They all got a certificate and some got one kind of ribbon for most improved and others got a spirit stick for most spirit and all got a ribbon to wear in their hair today. Those bright little faces as I gave a brief overview of breast cancer and how to work towards a healthier you. It is fun to connect to the younger group and plant a seed that hopefully will bring them closer to the importance of future issues. Nothing is better than kids laughter, untainted and so pure. That belly laugh that is so contagious that echoes in your head long after the have left your side. There are people in life that leave those same kind of lasting impressions and I can think of many in my life that I have hoped to emulate ( I want to grow up just like them). People that have a kind word, acknowledge you are there and are important, that reach out to you, and really care that you are there. Yes, Grandma was one but there are others that weren't OBLIGATED to love and nurture me, if you know what I mean. A neighbor, we called Aunt Leone that always was there and listened. She would hem my skirt I made and wanted to wear the next day to school, a letter at college each week just to let me know she cared and the many ours of cookie making and teaching to tat(Which I never did accomplish), was just one such person and I have many. So when I attended cheer camp last night, I got to think about my own cheer camp in my life and how we all need that so at this age, I am looking to regroup a bit and start to work harder to be a cheer camp for others in more ways. Give me an M, M - give me an A-A, give me an K-K, give me an E-E. What's that spell? What's that spell? Make, Make , Make it a great day! Sk
No, I don't mean keep a breast, I mean keep informed, learn, listen, read, discuss and research. Today is yet another day for a new beginning with new hope and new options and ideas. Positive, Positive, Positive! Not easy to do but something we all have to work at. we must and will stay positive and get through the day, the moment, this time and look for the brighter tomorrow. Care, love, and listen and be still and listen. What a mantra that is and of course my all time favorite, LAUGH- alot and often. Some may think that I am not serious and that is far from the truth. You are deep within my heart and mind as I look to ways and means to help. My fall back is to laugh and make you laugh. I think I could get on stage and dance the opening like Ellen Degeneres and I would love to meet and greet new people and find out what they are all about. Too many times we are just too superficial and our casual becomes the norm. I know that I could hibernate and isolate when the world is crashing down around me but yet I still need you there despite my evasiveness and quiet. I am nearing a milestone, yes- 60 years coming fast now. It is just a number but I see with that number that I am slowing down and stress more ( although I am aware of it and working to direct all that. This is what, the twilight years? I am a boomer and know that there are more medicines I take to keep me going and that there are things I can and cannot eat like I used to. I think the funniest thing is that Ron and I can go out and actually split a dinner. Really, when did that happen? I know I need to make the most bang for my buck. I eat little more of this and a whole lot less of that. Little things mean alot. I wanted a big celebration and now I don't know as not sure how many would actually show up for a 60 birthday party and I really don't eat much cake anymore and I can only do one drink and then I want a nap. I am sure by 9 that the partiers would be already heading home. I would love to have all my family around but also know that is a pipe dream just like meeting Tom Selleck. News today is depressing, what can we do to make changes, big changes and where do we go from here. I am thankful I am not 40 years ago, trying to start a life and career. I am not where I thought I would be but also glad of where I am. We may big plans and then by the time it is to go to do it, we are more content to stay home and put on pj's and watch Dancing With The Stars and live vicariously through them. I am not sure if I would end up more like Kristy Alley with good steps and lousey body or Cloris Leachman with not a lousey body for her age but so wrong on so many levels. So when I say keep abreast, know what is going on but pick and choose, You have earned the right. My bucket list has been accomplished many times over, so what do I want to be now that I am grown up. ... easy- loved, appreciated, included, and needed. Not sure how that goes on the list but there it is. Striving to make it a good day! S
Breast Cancer Awareness month is coming to an end. Remaining on my schedule is the first Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Tumor Board meeting, The CHIC (Crawford Health Improvement Coalition) on Thursday at Grove Street, Meadville Medical Center starting at 9:30 and it is a symposium on the three target areas in Crawford County including: Obesity, Cancer, and Heart Disease. Thursday night at 5, I am at Maplewood for the K-6 grade cheerleading camp to discuss breast cancer awareness and then Friday, starting at 11- I will be at the Chamber Networking Program for Women, Grow Where You Are Planted and I will have a table with information and education. A few more contests at work and a raffle on Monday for the Cd Composer Unit by Cresly. I am not sure what kind of monies we have raised but it has all been for the breast cancer benevolent fund here at YGBOI.
The weekend will find me flying solo to NC to see my grandkids and hopefully some quality time. I do have them for one week in the summer for grandma camp and most all try to get home for that extravaganza and then I try to fly to them every few months for a weekend. I try to keep the door open and miss them terribly. What I wouldn't give to have any/all of my kids closer to home so I could be a true grandma as that is where my heart really lies! Family is it all and mine are scattered across the world. Skype and cell phones, and email help but that hug, plate of cookies, or just raking leaves together is what I truly want to do. I doubt that in the years ahead when retirement comes that my life will be much different as they have their own lives and are doing their own thing. So instead, I mother my two dogs and drive my husband crazy. That is who and what I am, a caregiver. I try desperately to remain positive in everything I do or say. Do I achieve that, no not really, but know that I am trying. I do what I do best for others, and that is to care. Make it a great day! S
Saturday, October 22nd starting at 9AM at the Lew Davies Community Center at 1094 Park Avenue, in Meadville will the the Breast Cancer Awareness Breakfast. Reservations to 814-336-2965. This is a free breakfast with Chinese Auction items and Prizes. Last year, I got Mary Robb Jackson from KDKA to speak at the event and she was phenomenal and this year I was delegated to be the guest speaker. I must say that it has increased my level of stress and antacids as the bar was set so high last year and I can only hope that I an do as equal a job.
The month has been busy with lost of presentations to various groups and activities as well as inhouse fun for patients and staff with games, puzzles, word scrambles, a pink luncheon and more. Outside the grounds have pink lights, pink water fountain, pink decorations and pink survivor signs lining the drive. This is my highlight month although my job is all year long but it is important that we continue to educate and move forward. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. The chance of developing invasive breast cancer at some time in a woman's life
is a little less than 1 in 8 (12%). Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by
lung cancer. At this time there are more than 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.(This includes women still being treated and those who have completed treatment.)Survival Rates
All this means is that we need to continue to do research, strive for answers and work for a cure.
This does not mean that I am not concerned with other cancers. I do believe for every door that opens it opens doors in other areas as well and if we can find a cure the outcome will spill over to other areas.
I am down to the last 9 continuous days of PINK but the battle continues. I am hoping to see your friendly faces at the breakfast and in the mean time, Make it a great day! S
Creating a More Positive Body Image
Register now for our free teleconference, Creating a More Positive Body Image, on Thursday, Nov. 17 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m ET. Learn more.
Breast cancer treatment can change your relationship to your body and your sensual self. Anne Katz, RN, PhD, will help you explore strategies to improve your body image and self-esteem. During this teleconference, you will:
My Rebuttal: SICK OF PINK?
Why is there so much pink out there? You guessed it, it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and lots of things are happening to observe this month. Here at the Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Institute our gardens have sprung up pink, our fountains are flowing pink, and perhaps you have seen the pink lights sparkling in the front of the building as you drive by. To benefit our Breast Cancer Benevolent fund, we are selling Pink Light Bulbs for your porch and Pink Survivor signs that we hope to line the driveway with here at the institute. We started the month out with pink donuts for the staff and we have had daily contests and fun things going on. All of our monies go into the Breast Cancer Benevolent Fund here at Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Institute to benefit Breast Cancer Patients here.
Organizations like the American Cancer Society and the Susan G. Komen Foundation dedicate funding to help find cures for breast cancer, In that sense, Pink also signifies hope to me and advancing research and hopefully new answers and increasingly better outcomes. Things we do know include: that smoking, stress, alcohol, and obesity are not the best options for anyone and especially those with breast cancer. We also know that physical activity can actually reduce the chances of breast cancer. We know that white women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than are African-American women however, in women under 45 years of age; breast cancer is more common in African American women. Did you also know that a pink ribbon with a splash of blue represents men who have breast cancer? Male breast cancer accounts for 1% of all breast cancers. The American Cancer Society estimates in 2010, about 1,970 new cases of breast cancer in men. www.cancer.org.
We are learning new things including newer imaging tests, new laboratory test, new chemotherapy drugs and targeted therapies. We are looking at Bisphosphonates which are drugs that are used to help strengthen and reduce the risk of fractures in bones that have been weakened by metastatic breast cancer. We are also looking at a recent study that found women with early-stage breast cancer who were vitamin D deficient were more likely to have their cancer recur in a distant part of the body and had a poorer outlook but research is continuing on this per American Cancer Society site: www.cancer.org. Much of this progress is through funding raised by supporting a variety of Pink Initiatives.
I like seeing pink as I know that it brings awareness and education to the forefront and I like to know that monies are going towards these advances. I like knowing that we are improving things daily and that with that comes new hope. I like pink!
I often here,” I am Sick of Pink” and I do understand but I have chosen to continue to support it and use it as it is the most readily identifiable means we have to increase breast cancer awareness. Pink, in all forms, shapes, and sizes! Having come through the storm 6 years ago myself, I know there were times that I didn’t want to have to look at a box of cereal or anything else that continued to remind me that I had breast cancer. On the other hand, I know that for each and every penny that goes towards research we are improving testing, treatments, interventions, and outcomes. I don’t go out of my way to buy pink or try to avoid it. I look for what I want to do, eat, wear and buy accordingly although I do openly admit I look for the made in USA label. Some think the marketing makes people buy the pink label, I think as consumers we are smarter than that and buy what we want when we want it and if it is pink, an added benefit.
So if Pink or Pink and Blue can get us closer to the goal of eradicating Breast Cancer, I choose pink.
So when I say I am sick of pink, it is with tongue in cheek as it is part of my identification as the Breast Cancer Educator at the Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Institute and as it is the best means of identification that I have, you will see me in pink for the month of October and the rest of the year. GO PINK!
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Consumer Alert - October 9, 2011
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently become aware of a website that has the appearance of being an official government website for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan.
This new website - http: / /preexistingconditioninsuranceplan. com/ - is not maintained by any government programs and consumers are strongly urged not to submit any personal information requested by this website under the assumption that it is a government website.
CMS is taking the appropriate steps to protect consumers from being misled.
The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan made available through the Affordable Care Act makes health insurance available to people who have had a problem getting insurance due to a pre-existing condition.
The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan:
Individuals interested in the new federally backed pre-existing condition insurance program should visit: http://www.pcip.gov/ or call 866-717-5826.
As I opened the paper today, I saw that a former co-worker's husband had died at the age of 62. Quickly you look to see if anyone else your age has passed and you realize that you are looking for friends and peers and realizing that life is quickly passing you by. We are the middle generation that takes care of parents and kids and they all may be home living with you. Or in my case, they are all living all over the world and have established themselves in the world and my parents are gone. I long for the days when you had neighbors and you talked at the clothes line and you shared your special ups and downs with each other. Now days, we are all running out the door to do our next thing. I feel that we (my husband and myself) live in two worlds, here and our place in the woods. We have casual friends from both and yet, the connections we used to have are not as strong as we are always divided by the two. We actually haven't taken a true vacation with just the two of us to breathe although we did have a vacation and I love it but Grandma's camp is alot of coordination and yes, work. We wouldn't change that for the world but yet we need a step out of our routine and take a non working vacation. I leave today for Harrisburg and get back on Wednesday. I will be attending the Pa Breast Cancer Coalition so I am hoping to bring more news and information. The drive down and back alone will give me plenty of time for reflection and the foliage should be beautiful. Is our world changing too rapidly before our eyes and is that what our parents thought too? I am trying to co-ordinate Thanksgiving to get our families together and already there are too many commitments and road blocks in the way and so this year may turn into something entirely different. I called my sister to check in when I got home yesterday and she said she would call me right back. Since I hadn't heard from her and it was now bedtime I called her to make sure she was ok. She said yes, she was just busy watching a movie and had started another one. Where have those connections gone and the priority? How many times have you gone to visit someone and they left the TV on the whole time you were there. Are we so inundated with the stimulus of everything around us that we don't know how to shut down. We watch tv and surf other channels on the breaks or we have the input from the top of the screen and the bottom of the screen scrolling words along and yet did we hear anything or read anything? When do we get back to making others more important and turn off the tv's, the cell's (especially at meals), and even church- yes I have seen people texting in church. No wonder we are struggling... we don't take care of ourselves and we don't take care of others including listening which is a big thing. TURN OFF the NOISE, as it is only NOISE and lets get back to listening...even the quiet has something to give us. I may drive the whole way to Harrisburg with my phone and radio. I let you know how that works. Making it a great day!S
In the News: Male Breast Cancer Patient Receives Insurance Help
Posted By PA Breast Cancer Coalition on September 19th, 2011 at 2:06 pm | 0 comments.
A South Carolina man will receive treatment for breast cancer under Medicaid’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Program after originally being denied coverage because of his gender. In fact, the South Carolina Medicaid agency ruled that all uninsured or underinsured men diagnosed with breast cancer who meet the program eligibility requirements should now receive treatment.
The South Carolina ruling means that the state will be referring Raymond Johnson’s case to the federal Medicaid program. If the federal program denies the claim, South Carolina will likely appeal the denial. If the appeal fails, South Carolina will cover the cost of Mr. Johnson’s treatment on its own. South Carolina hopes that the U.S. Medicare and Medicaid agency will overturn the rule barring males from receiving coverage through the program, paving the way for all uninsured and underinsured men to receive coverage for breast cancer treatment nationwide. Click here to see how Pennsylvania has adopted the BCCPT program!
While breast cancer incidence among men occurs 100 times less than in women, there are still over 2,000 men diagnosed each year
To all my family and friends,
I can't speak for other breast cancer survivors but I may mirror some of their thoughts. My life is different now, it may look the same to you but inside, I am different. I need you in my life but I also have learned that sometimes just having me is enough. I need to hear my heartbeat and listen to what is inside and what I do and don't do may not be what you think is right but right now, this moment, it is right for me. I may need the hustle and bustle of family and friends around. Many of you think that it is just like it used to be and I am profoundly determined to let you know that it isn't. My opinions are stronger and more determined and I strive to focus on positive and supportive people. I will never forget but I have moved on, except for those few occasions where I am blindsighted by unthinking comments about others bad experiences with cancer and recurrences. I am more observant of my aches and pains and less willing to wait and see what happens. I am not sure how I could laugh more, but I do and I reach out to more people than ever before be it through my job or just my life. Your friendship is like gold in my treasure chest and the smallest kindness is deeply appreciated. I love to hear my grandkids laugh and long for family gatherings. To have my house filled with my kids and their families is always foremost for me. To sit and talk to my dogs and just feel their warmth next to me, gives me great comfort. To see the smile on others faces and hear their laughter even over the silliest things is a daily goal. Sometimes I just need someone to listen and don't discount what I am verbalizing. You cannot make things better for me except to listen, no one can fix the issues we all face in our lives only I can learn how to deal with it more effectively. I don't know what tomorrow will bring and being 5 years out does not mean a home run, it means I am 5 years and counting and experiencing each day. I spend more money on cards and silly things and gifts to share with others. My cat now gets tuna twice a week, yes-really. It still remains the little things that mean so much. I stood on my back porch the other day and called the deer in by my usual clicking sound and in they trotted (Yes, they are wild) but they know when they hear the sound that I have corn waiting form them. I love to look at their eyes and watch them pound the ground with their hoof to see if I am going to move or if I am a threat. One deer continued to pound the ground and then run away a little and circled back to see if it had scared me off and there I stood firm and enjoying the moment. I am still not good at saying what I need or making decisions but I know that I am blessed by a wonderful husband, great kids and their spouses and grandkids, and friends from all walks of life. So when I say I am living beyond breast cancer, I am. I have the big 60 coming up and I have already announced that I want to celebrate and I mean celebrate. Not anything about celebrate my accomplishments or failures but celebrate to seize the moment and day and make great memories. My bucket list has been done and revised numerous times and for me, I have no regrets. I have asked for forgiveness when I need to and tried to be fair and understanding with all and I am sure I have fallen short. I am a peacekeeper and I care about you and what you are and think. My suggestions to others? Do what you need, when you need it and enjoy each day! And as for me, I will make it a great day!