Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hug Someone Today

In memory and in honor of all those who died or were injured at Virginia Tech on April 16,2007

Monday, April 16, 2007

No More Mammograms

I’ve made a decision. I’m no longer going to allow myself to be screened for breast cancer by mammography. I have an appointment with my gynecologist next month and I am going to break the news to him then. Until he finds a local alternative for me, I will be relying on self-examination and, of course, his clinical examination.

This is not a decision I’ve made lightly. My mom had a mastectomy almost 28 years ago and I am considered high risk for breast cancer. In fact, I had my first mammogram before I was age 40. I’ve had about 4 or 5 mammograms total and the last two resulted in false positives. I can’t tell you the duress that caused me. And then to be told after re-testing that I have very dense breast tissue which caused shadows on the x-ray film. I’m not subjecting myself to that again!

Here are some things I’ve learned after reading extensively on the topic of mammography:

  • That there is no safe dose of radiation. Breast cancer is more easily caused by radiation than are other kinds of cancers. A mammogram delivers about 1,000 times more radiation than a chest x-ray, which may increase the risk of cardiovascular damage.
  • By the time a mammogram can detect breast cancer, it has been present in your body for 8-10 years. If a tumor is large enough to be detected by a mammogram, it's already in an advanced stage, so very few cancers are caught in the earliest and most treatable stages.
  • The compression required for mammograms can actually break down cancer tissue and rupture small blood vessels that support the cancer, causing it to spread. How is it that medical students are taught to examine breasts gently to keep any possible cancer from spreading, yet radiologists are allowed to manhandle them for a mammogram?
  • Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women between the ages of 40 and 55. These statistics have not changed since the introduction of the mammogram over 30 years ago. Studies have shown that women who have mammograms suffer about the same rates of death due to breast cancer as women who do not have mammograms.
  • Mammography has nothing to do with prevention -- it detects cancers that have already occurred (if you are lucky as there is a common occurrence of false negatives).
  • Cancer is not a disease. Cancer is just a name given to a pattern of symptoms appearing as a natural result of certain metabolic functions caused by lifestyle decisions. Cancer can't be cured with chemicals. It's no germ.
The next time your doctor says you're due for a mammogram, tell him you're interested in an alternative technique. If every women does this every time the word "mammogram" comes up, sooner or later the medical community will get the message: The day of the mammogram is almost done.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

To blog or not to blog

One thing that I’ve recently realized is that I either need to get on with this blog or forget it.

What is paralyzing me?

I read a variety of blogs every day. And I think I’ve finally figured it out. Perhaps that is my problem. I need to focus my attention on my own space. That is not to say that I should become some kind of blog hermit, rather that I should stop focusing on my own inadequacies and begin writing about my accomplishments. The purpose of establishing this place was to motivate myself to accomplish more, not to magnify my shortcomings (to myself).

I read about awe-inspiring creative art/knitting/crochet/quilting/needlepoint as well as bloggers who read an infinite number of interesting books, garden, cook and write brilliantly. Do any of these prolific overachievers have a full time job? Just saying.

I am a perfectionist and a procrastinator. This is not a good combination. If I can’t do everything perfectly well, then I don’t do anything.

I am a slow knitter, but I do it well. I can write when I put my mind to it. I have a demanding job, but they like me there and I don’t mind going in most days.

I am going to give this blog thing my attention for awhile to determine if it really will help me the way I initially thought. No one comes here except me anyway, so it’s not as though I have anything to lose. And, in my own defense, a lot has happened in the past year. I will write more about that later.

Now on to thinking about my next blog post.


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