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I would like to introduce a concept, only because I haven't seen it yet on this site (but I still haven't searched everything). If I'm incorrect, please let me know.

I had two friends affected by breast cancer, one who didn't survive. They both didn't do their monthly breast self examination. I was also told twice in successive mammograms that I had "suspicious" spots and as many of you know, if the doctor tells you anything looks suspicious, as emotional beings, your world goes into a tailspin until someone or something pulls you out. I survived those two warnings, but I vowed that no woman, if I could help it, would ever have to go through that alone again, especially if I can sound the alarm. I have been an advocate for breast cancer awareness for the past six years and only for a short period in that time have I missed sending out monthly reminders to my sisters to do their monthly breast self exam. I often post these reminders by email, but this forum is followed by so many, I am launching out again by bringing the monthly reminder posts here. Each month I will post a reminder and you do with it as your life dictates, but whatever you do, please don't ignore your body, it's the only one you get!  

The below is a repeat “broadcast” of the message I sent out in February of 2007.


Hello ladies,

Another month has passed us by and we've survived.  Take a moment, close your eyes, take a deep breath and be thankful that you've made it to this point!  Despite all the stresses of life, you didn't give up (well, not completely anyway).  You're still here, and you should be grateful for it.

This month, while we're considering our breast health, I wanted to point out two other areas of concern that are often ignored by women:  mental health and cardiac health.  

I received a funny email yesterday that let me know that the person from whom I had received the email was supposed to contact someone unstable, and now that they had contacted me, their job was done.  Of course, I had to immediately pass it on to my other "unstable" friends.

On any given day, instability can be true of any of us, all we have to do is consider all the many hats we have to wear and the many duties we have to perform, and it's enough to excuse the crack in the mask!  I think I remind you each month to take time out for yourselves, not just because it feels good, but because it is essential to maintain a modicum of sanity.

Taking time for ourselves is extremely important, especially considering how much is out there actively trying to steal what little sanity we have left.  Allow me to touch on just one "sanity vampire" this month, and then I may "visit" others in upcoming months.

I think each of us knows at least one person who, no matter how well life is going, how rosy the outlook, how brightly the sun is shining, their life is always gloomy and nothing but doom looms on their horizon.  I'm not referring to the ones who go through rough patches and have every excuse to be down, I'm talking about those who start and end every conversation with a complaint, who throw a wet blanket over your sunny outlook, and who will always have to "one-up" you with something worse that's happened to them when you try to let them know you're having a problem.  Some people can stand being around people like that; I can't!  The moment I see them coming, I run the other way, the moment they start a conversation, I shut them down, and, omigosh, I don't dare ask them how they are because that just opens up the door to a litany of everything that's wrong with life.

No one needs that as any kind of constant in her life.  It's a drain on your mental health when you're having a good day; can you imagine what it is doing to your psyche when you're having a bad day?  I can advise you to do as I did and shake those people out of your life, but some of you aren't secure with just a very small circle of people.  I've found that since I've gotten rid of those people from my life, I'm breathing easier, sleeping more soundly, and the throbbing vein on my forehead has receded. happy

My other area of focus this month stems from a conversation I had with a medical professional last night about women's cardiac health.  Yes, we know that men and women are from different planets and only God knows how we get along on a daily basis, but did you know that it's not only the way men and women express what's going on in their hearts that's different, but how our hearts tell us what's wrong that's different as well?  I began doing some research to back up the conversation, and below is just the tip of the iceberg of what I found.  I've attached the weblinks for those of you who may want to read further.

"About 95% of women who have had heart attacks report experiencing new or different symptoms...before their attacks.  If we can get women to recognize the symptoms early, we can get them treatment and prevent or delay a heart attack," said Jean McSweeney, lead researcher of the study and professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. "That's why the early symptoms are significant.  

The research defined prodromal symptoms as those that are new or changing in intensity or frequency before the heart attack, being intermittent before the heart attack and disappearing or returning to previous levels after the heart attack. Acute symptoms were defined as those appearing with the heart attack and not resolving until the women received treatment.

Reported symptoms
The most frequently reported prodromal symptoms were:
•unusual fatigue (70.7 ),
•sleep disturbances (47.8
•shortness of breath (42.1 ),
•indigestion (39
) and
•anxiety (36 ).
In some cases, the fatigue was so severe, the women reported they were not able to make a bed without resting.
Approximately 30 percent of the study participants reported chest pain before their heart attack, and those who did said it was not really a painful feeling as much as an aching, tightness or pressure in the high chest or back. Fifty-seven percent experienced chest pain during their heart attack.
•The other most common acute symptoms—those that took place with the heart attack—were:
•shortness of breath (58
•weakness (55%),
•unusual fatigue (43%),
•cold sweats (39%) and
•dizziness (39%).
Women with risk factors for heart disease who are experiencing prodromal symptoms should contact their doctor."  

Unusual symptoms in women warrant a closer look
"...An area about which little has been written—women's heart attack symptoms. It makes the important point that women experience a whole different constellation of symptoms than those classically described, which is an important area of inquiry, particularly since more women than men present with sudden cardiac death (see July 2003 women's HealthLINK). – Excerpt from "What the news means to you" by Lisa Freed, MD

 – Heartlink, December 17, 2003

[Link Removed]

I recognize that I can give you all the advice in the world, but it's still up to you to follow or not.  Again, as I always say, your health is up to you, and if you don't take care of yourself, don't expect anyone else to.

Until next month,

P.S. As always, when you have thoroughly completed your MBSE, treat yourself to something, whether it’s me-time, a pedicure, a world trip, however you reward yourself.  As long as it’s legal and moral happy, and doesn’t cause anyone else pain, go for it!

Psalmist, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


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