Families, Health and BRCA

Well, if you know me you know I’m a person who isn’t too fond of the unknown when it comes to health and safety.

A few weeks ago during a normal doctors appointment the nurse practitioner found what she classified as  “lump” under my right arm. As I left the doctor’s office the panic of my family history started setting in. I called my husband on the drive home in tears because of the word “lump” and the innuendo it created for me due to my family history. The dirty truth is for me my mother and my grandmother both had breast cancer. So for me it isn’t a matter of if it’s a matter of when it will choose to show up. Being on the south side of 40, it seems as I get older I feel there is a bit of the Darth Vader music going on in the background of this particular scenario as both my family members were close to 40 when it started for them.

While I was at the appointment I was offered gene testing. At first I mentally said yes, absolutely 100% I want to know, (I really like absolute answers with health and safety)….and then I started wondering: did I really want to know? Hmm…there were alot of paths here if the answer was yes…. and there were even some if the answer was no because it only looked at two particular gene patterns. I talked a lot with my husband and my step mom about what all this meant and where it was leading.The medical staff kept saying that Angelina Jolie was so lucky with her choice. In the cloud of my confusion all I could really could think was a.) this is a $4500 test b.) do I really want to know c.) I’m not a movie star, I’m me: a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter – just me, nobody fancy – but alas we are both women and mom’s regardless of financial class, social status or jobs d.) what if the answer was yes, then I have to make a decision about what path to take.

With a visit to the Carol Milgard Breast Center I was given my annual 3D mammogram, as well as an ultrasound. There was nothing there, which was a relief – everyone agrees it could of been a various amount of factors which caused an inflammation. Stress does odd things to the body. The medical doctor offered me to speak with my doctor also about getting an MRI done to get greater detail. Given yet another tool in the fight against an invasive cancer I moved forward with more determination than I had before. This appointment helped me decide, even when your afraid of the answer – it is better to be proactive than reactive in a situation which can go from bad to worse at the snap of a finger.

Bottom line is this, my breasts and ovaries are body parts, they don’t define me as a woman. My husband 100% supports a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body. (For that I am eternally grateful that I am married to a man who is as compassionate about woman’s issues and rights as I am). My family health history is what it is and can’t be changed. I’ve been lucky enough to give birth to beautiful twin girls who have blessed my life with clarity, compassion and unconditional love. My ovaries have served their purpose and my breasts can be replaced, so in the end I say take them if it means I get longer on the earth to watch my family and friends live, laugh and love. There’s too much left to do in life to not know the answer to if those genes exists in my body.

As I head out this morning to get the BRCA 1&2 results,  I’m thinking of all the thousands of other women who’ve gone before me to get their results. I share in their nerves and determination to have a choice over what happens to my future health. However, my heart goes out to those women who can’t have this test and may be faced without the choice of predetermination. My hope is soon this proactive test will be available to all women regardless of insurance coverage or financial cost.

 

Monday Listicle on a Typical Tuesday

You all know me right? Perpetually late, always apologizing for a packed schedule! So this week is more of the same. The closer the summer gets the more I have to find time to do all my favorite things….one of those is Monday Listicles! Stasha over at The good life…. has a great tradition, I’m just a little late!

So now that apologies are out-of-the-way, this weeks list is 10 beauty products you could not live without. You may laugh, but I always say some of these I would take to a deserted island over food and water! 🙂

index

10.Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deep Conditioner…. my hair is so thick, every other conditioner I’ve tried weighs it down. This stuff is amazing. Plus, in the end you rinse with cold water which is a bonus for not only your hair but your skin as well!

index2

9.Hope in a Jar SPF 25…amazing lotion, not oily, never fails and it keeps me from getting burned!

index3

8. Water….lots of water everyday… I’ve learned the hard way this is the only thing that keeps my skin clear and me feeling well. I’m still a tea and caffeine junkie, but the water is my other choice and it offsets all that. 🙂

images

7. I would never, and oh yes I do mean n.e.v.e.r. leave home without my Burt’s Bees. I have regular and tinted, all kinds of flavors and choices and I’m telling you hands down this is the best lip balm ever. I do not wear makeup, other than 4 things (eyeliner, mascara, powder and Burt’s Bee’s). Once you try this you’ll throw your chap stick, lip stick, lip tint or lip gloss out the car window! Even the hubs swears by it…. who thought a dude would like a beauty product?!

index4

6.Avon Glimmersticks… in all kinds of different colors, this is the only one that doesn’t irritate my contacts….good stuff!

index7

5. Mary Kay Spot Acne Solution….enough said!

index8

4. Proactive Cleansing Bar….great for summer skin stress!

index8

3/2. Lots of outdoor time and exercise….. we are an outdoor type of family, we are happiest with our bare feet in the grass or running around at a beach somewhere.

images5 images12

1. Meditation/Yoga….without it I’d have more gray hair than I already do and since I don’t color my hair, well that would be another to add to the list. I’ve learned over the last couple months that peace of mind through meditation brings space into your life and joy, which allows you to be beautiful inside and let your light shine out. And yoga is a process, I’m such a novice, but it brings me great peace and energy, which is such a wonderful thing (even if I have no clue what I’m doing!).

What are your favorite beauty things?

Namaste.

Checking In

Wow what an amazing month this has been! I didn’t even realize I hadn’t written in a while. We have met at TON of new people and are so excited about all the amazing friendships we’ve made. I can not wait to share some of the amazing blogs we’ve read over the last couple of weeks. The stories are so inspirational, the recipes look amazing and the crafts are inspiring.

We participated in an amazing P.E. program through Washington Virtual Academy (WAVA) in partnership with Pacific Lutheran University. The program involved student teachers and a visiting professor to PLU/WAVA High School teacher running a 5 week physical education program, twice a week for about an hour and a half each time. The girls learned a bunch of new ways to work out, they loved their student teachers and made some really great new friends. In the end they got the cutest rewards for all their hard work and “sweat”. Hopefully the program will continue and allow the kids to progress through, as they get older, through various stages of new lessons. What a great program!

I got to participate in my first blog hop. That was a fun way to meet new people, and Katherine from Katherines Corner was so patient with me while I got the ins and outs of html code. I just recently started learning, in very limited fashion, how to write and manipulate some of my own html code. Which has opened up a world of doors as far as adding things to Word Press. However, it also at times has added to frustration when I can’t get a code to work, or try to add something and it shows up – but the code shows up to. This blog has been a true learning experience and continual work in process for me. Hopefully I can resolve my most current issue which is, how to add a Instagram widget – so confusing….an yet so challenging. (hopefully there aren’t a bunch of computer engineers sitting around laughing at me right now – 🙂 )

I have been exercising quite a bit in the last couple of years and recently made the goal to start running again. My overall goal is to walk the Golden Gate Bridge on my 40th, but for a closer goal I had hoped to run a 5k in February 2014. Well, that plan has been botched as recently the pain in my knee got pretty intense. After trying about every home remedy I could think of, I gave up and went in for XRays. Apparently I have osteoarthritis and bone spurs in both my knees. (well that would explain the shooting pain – thinking of bone spurs in painful period!). My doctor said it comes from too much sports when I was younger, along with the impact of current exercise, and not enough concentration on building the muscles in the leg to support the impact to the joint. Interesting….so old age is starting to kick my butt. Not for long – I have a 6 week treatment plan which includes some anti-inflammatory meds, yoga, low impact exercise, as well as starting to work on building leg muscles. So, lesson learned – proper strength training is important. In the meantime, I’m also headed to see a physical therapist whom I hope can help me become stronger overall so I don’t have to keep having an argument with my knee every time I want to walk a couple of miles in the sun.

In the meantime as well we have been working on doing a little more revamping to our diet plan at home. I use diet in the sense of food consumption – not being on a diet. The way a person eats is a lifestyle choice, and while ours is a constant evolution – I’ve recently been motivated by not only LaLa’s desire to be a vegetarian, but by my own desire to cut out the crap food (what little was left). I’ve had a lot of fun trying new recipes and chatting with people about food and meal choices. One of our friends Dottie shared this amazing recipe which we tried the other day  – and LOVE IT! We used vegan chocolate chips instead of blueberries (because we’re about blueberry out with smoothies) and it was SO enjoyable! Jump over to her blog and check out the recipes! Thanks Ms. Dottie!!

Almond Pancake Recipe
5 T. Almond Meal (I buy Trader Joe’s) 2 t. Flax meal (I buy Big bag at Costco)
1 T. Sour Cream …
3 T. Water
1 egg
1/4 t. vanilla
1/4 t. baking powder
Mix all together and cook like regular pancakes. I add blueberries to the mix. this recipe is 1-2 servings. Robby eats the entire batch 4 pancakes

Well, off to the races! Another day of school and finishing up a sewing project tomorrow…pictures to come. Enjoy the day!

Namaste

Blog Hop Fun!

Happy Thursday!! Today is blog hopping day, so fun! This is my first invitation to the hop and I feel so honored that Katherine from Katherines Corner asked me to join. I can’t wait to meet new people and gain new inspiration for writing. 🙂

I couldn’t decide what my favorite thing was; I thought about cooking, kids, family, friends and all the things I love so much. Then I thought I would post about my travels which has became Zen…. being a Mommy. I am honored to have the privilege to not only write about our personal journeys through our blog, but also learn more about other families as well by writing for Ooh Belly. 🙂   So, I don’t do giveaways, but what I do is write about crazy cooking experiments, fun home school field trips and funny Monday Listicles – and Motherhood is truly my Thursday Favorite thing. 🙂

So hopping is easy-peasy! The rules are below (yes there are just a few!). Enjoy and have fun!!

KCThursBH

Its Time For Thursday Favorite Things! Thursday favorite things is where you can link your favorite post or write a post about your favorite things and share it with old and new followers. You gain visibility for your blog and make bloggy friends too!

Please share the hop with your readers and let Katherine know if you would like to co-host with her.

Remember to leave her a comment if you are a new follower so she can follow you back

Thursday favorite things is where you can link your favorite post or write a post about your favorite things You gain visibility for your blog and make bloggy friends too!

Here are the rules, yes there are rules. But just a few: Please DO NOT link and run…visit a few of the wonderful blogs that are sharing at the hop.

  • Follow Katherines Corner preferably through Email it’s on her right sidebar (or facebook twitterbloglovin,  etc. they are on her sidebar too) And My Blog too
  • Visit as many blogs in the list as you can, please      leave a comment so they know you stopped by!
  • Share the button or a linklback on      your post. Grab the hop button code from Katherines button page It’s always nice to have the hop button      on your post. It IS NOT mandatory; but a Link back to      Katherines Corner is always appreciated
  • No adult content blogs or links directly to your shops      please
  • Yes you can link giveaways ( they are everyone’s favorite thing) Add your giveaways to the Win It Page at Katherines Corner too!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

10 Chapters in My Crazy, Bumpy, Messy, Endering and Incredible Life

Well this is a rather on point Listicle this week. Perfect for getting back to writing. I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching the last two years, I think part of it is because I am approaching that mile marker of 40. When I was a kid I had set all these goals for 40, so that after 40 I could start new goals. So here’s this week’s listicle, 10 Chapters In My Life…

1.) Grandma’s Girl.  This would certainly sum up from birth to 13 when my Gram passed away. She was my rock, and quite an amazing, proper, formal and in her own way funny lady. (Emphasis on the word lady.)

2.) Traveling the Beltway. Thinking of the years of 13 through the beginning semesters of my freshman year at Ole Miss. They were fraught with family tension, parental alcoholism, struggles for independence and trying to understand trust and friendship.

3.) An Uncomfortable Personal Paradigm. Struggling to separate, defy and overcome the last 8 years, while facing my own addiction demons.

4.) Dating Dos and Don’ts. (Self Explanatory – whew, I can pick ’em!! LMAO!!)

5.) Meeting Zen. This would be my early to mid 20s when I met not only my Best Friend, who is now my sister-in-law, but at the time my soon to be partner (who 12 years later became my husband). These two people not only changed my life, but accepted me for who I am, not who they wanted me to be. Acceptance is the first step in healing. (I have the tattoo to prove it. :))

6.). Doing It Backwards: Pregnancy, Marriage and In Laws . All I have to say on this chapter is we’ve all been there, done that and have our own embarrassing, funny, sad and eye-opening stories to share!

7.) My Loves. All about our beautiful twin girls and how they taught me the meaning of true and untainted love.

8.) A Kaleidoscope of Self. A view through personal history to understand who I am and where I stand in the world. Learning gratitude and love all over again.

9.) Consenting. Laughing out loud, enjoying life and taking in the light and the dark of life equally.

10.) On The Corner of 39 and 40.  What’s next?

Whew! That was fun, you know how they have the saying “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming — WOW– What a Ride!” That’s me, I just keep changing the ride, Can’t wait to see what 40 has to hold. 🙂

What are your 10 Chapters?

Namaste.

ENOUGH!! Mixed Messages from Female Leaders

I was watching a couple of 60 minutes articles the other day, one was of Twitter creator, Jack Dorsey. On one hand I was thinking – how forward thinking of Mr. Dorsey to not have an office making himself available. Also, how ironic, it took for him to create his company to understand the importance of communicating with his family – even if it’s only 140 characters. As a male leader he seem to have a firm grip on his business and personal direction.

On the other hand I was watching Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, thinking – how confusing. She would say she leaves at 5:30 pm and she had to become comfortable with that. She would say family and picking the right partnership is an integral part in personal success, but then she would turn to say she thought women were doing themselves a disservice by not being aggressive enough in business. Then in the same interview she was having a conversation about the outside interpretation of mentorship between male and female peers on a business trip. W-h-a-t?! I’m confused, so are you comfortable with your position as a leader and a role model for women and young girls – or are you not? Why are you seeking external approval?

While I think both these people are inspiring in their personal success, I learned a valuable lesson about why we, as women, can’t seem to deliver a clear message about leadership to the current generation of daughters.  The major lesson: Male role models do not discuss or seek approval for, in any fashion, their personal lives. Women role models still seem to feel they need to “make it ok” to have a personal life.

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

Women, in a future where we have a real opportunity to make a difference, take a cue from men – it’s o.k. to have a personal life – you don’t have to have permission to be successful –  you don’t need to discuss it. It’s still as if women are apologizing for living a full life and in turn choosing to run their own companies. Really? In an age where marijuana is legalized, marrying the partner of your choice is finally coming around and the gender neutral language bill is up for consideration? We’ve come so far as a society – why do women still have to seek acceptance and drag us back into the biblical age?

I think we’ve moved past Corinthians and we don’t have to remain silent any longer, or seek our husbands permission. No, ladies, you’ve gone past that and now you’re seeking the world’s permission. Just by verbalizing that’s it’s OK to leave at 5:30pm you’re seeking permission from the world for you to not feel guilty about having a life. I don’t see male leaders doing that, do you?

Here’s another thing lady leaders, while we may not all be able to afford a staff to help take care of the illness of kids or the carpool lane – guess what? The leaders of a business already know this, and they make the necessary allowances for it without giving it a second thought. Men are problem solvers – if you have a sick kid, you go home take care of the sick kid, work from home and come back when the kid is better. This is how a male thinks – if you think he thinks anything other than problem vs. solution then you fail to understand the successful male. Take a cue, if your working in a place that makes you feel as though you have to apologize for a sick kid, while your working from home making up that time – then your on the wrong path – look for a new one.

Women leaders, if you need it – maybe this will make it better: STOP apologizing – it’s O.K. to have a personal life AND be über successful. Just please, for the betterment of women and daughters everywhere, STOP explaining and apologizing for it. If you need a little help take a cue from Nike and don’t second guess or overthink –  “Just Do It.”

Enough roaring and then apologizing for having a life. Enough shaking your fists in the air in support of women’s lib and then apologizing for leaving at 5:30. Enough saying you deserve better pay, but having to have a partner tell you to renegotiate your contract. Enough ruffling feathers to be successful and apologizing on the way up. Enough.

Young girls everywhere are watching you. They will do as you do, they will lead as you lead, they will follow as you follow. If you want them to lead, then be a leader and understand:

You.Are.Enough.

**********

I just shook my head after digesting all this information. I understand better the difference of men and women leaders. I’ve been having a lot of conversations with women who I look up to and trust their opinions about the message society has been passing out to women, mothers and daughters lately. It’s to say the least confusing if you were only to look at it superficially and not understand your own personal values.

As a parent and a woman raising daughters I have always towed the line of equal treatment for all people regardless of anything that makes them different from you – no matter what you always treat others with love and kindness, the way you would want to be treated. Always behave like a lady and say what you want – don’t speak softly and put yourself second – always speak up, without aggression, to protect yourself and others. State what you want, but don’t be rude. Be truthful and live in a way that you feel good about – so that when you look back on your life you know you’ve lived it in peace, equality and love; and the success you gained wasn’t because you apologized for it, it was because you deserved it.

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” – Buddha

100th Post: Monday Listicles – Ten Proudest Moments

Well, how appropriate that my 100th post would be a Monday Listicles. Such a great one too, although it’s difficult to wade through all the great memories and figure out which ones rank higher than the others.

Ten Proudest Moments

1.) Giving Birth to the Twizlets – I was scared to death to be at a hospital, but I made it and here they are 7.3 years latter with love, fun and their own splash of attitude.

2.) Day I Married The Hubs – We were together for 13 years and the birth of the twizlets before we got married. Neither of us was really huge on the concept of marriage, we were happy living together and being successful. My Dad and Step Mom did the same as well, until, like us they had the realization that in WA your partner, no matter how long you’ve been together, has no say in what happens to you in an emergency. Obviously today that’s changed. 🙂

3.) Our “pup” Bunker – she goes by so many names Bunk, Bunkie, Bunk the Dog –  The hubs named her after a Sand Bunker in Golf….she is a nervous bundle of overly excited and unconditional love. I couldn’t imagine any part of the last 11 years without her.

4.) Being a Mom – If you read my post Becoming a Mom Changed Me you’d know it’s not been an easy road, but I wouldn’t change one second of it.

5.) Completing three 5Ks in 2011 – they were rough, but I set the goal and I did it. I hope to do more this year or next we will see.

6.) My Cooking – I have rarely if ever followed a recipe, it’s annoying to me to be restricted by rules. Usually it works out, sometimes not so much! It always provides either a good meal or a good laugh!!

7.) HomeSchooling – I never thought I could achieve this, but I’m doing it with the support of the Hubs. Accepting my own ability to derive inspiration from my kids, and being fearless has helped.

8.) This Blog – which to be honest I never thought would amount to a hill of beans. Hopefully it brings people some joy and laughter, or at least something or someone they can relate to.

9.) Our home – it’s comfy, safe and cozy – old yes, cramped yes, but it’s our first home, where we got married and where we had our babies.

10.) My Graduate Degree – I can safely say to myself that I achieved my goal. Next?

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day: Inspiration to Go Green

Green is a popular color these days, and it’s not just reserved for St. Patrick’s Day.
Everything from cleaning products to home building materials is getting greener. People are becoming more conscious of saving energy, protecting, the environment and living sustainably. On March 17, think about making your skin green. We’re not talking about color; we’re referring to using sustainable, eco-friendly beauty products.

Green skin care involves using products made as naturally as possible.  Eco-friendly skin care products are good for both your skin and the environment. In fact, making chemical-free green beauty products can be simple to inexpensive. You can adopt eco-friendly practices for skin care that come right from your own kitchen.

The following body scrub is perfect for making your St. Patrick’s Day a Little Greener.

What you need:
Sea salt or granulated sugar
Sweet almond oil
Mint essential oil

How to make it
Fill a container with salt or sugar, and pour about half as much oil into the container. We recommend using about twice as much of the salt or sugar as the oil. Stir the mixture until it’s combined, and add as much essential oil as you wish. If you store the body scrub in a glass jar with a screw-on lid, it will last approximately seven days.

How to use it:
After cleansing your skin in the shower, apply a generous amount of the body scrub.
Using a gentle circular motion, lightly work the scrub into your skin. You can apply it to rough areas like your feet and knees or use it to softly buff away dead skin cells on your arms or torso. Your hands will end up soft and smooth after using the body scrub. After massaging it into your skin, rinse the body scrub off and pat yourself dry.

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 10.19.31 AM Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 10.44.26 AM
The sea salt or sugar will exfoliate dry patches and reveal glowing, revitalized skin. The oil will soften your skin and seal in moisture, while the minty fragrance will invigorate you.

This St. Patrick’s Day, you can get a little greener and feel a little cleaner. Save money, save the environment and give this body scrub a shot. After all, if you can eat it, you know it’s safe for your skin, and this body scrub will help make your skin brighter than any pot of gold.

*****************************************************************
Michelle Pinois a guest contributor to EcoMom and has provided this article using her knowledge from Skana Spa where she works. Skana is located in central NY at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino. When Michelle isn’t working she enjoys spending her time relaxing, catching up on her favorite TV shows or baking a yummy desert she found on Pinterest!

New Sibling Jealousy

I’ve started a new writing venture with the fabulous individuals at Ohh Belly. With lots of topics to cover, jump over there for a little conversation on bringing a new baby into the family.

Ooh Belly | Because every family matters!

You’ve gotten the thrilling news you’re expecting, you have lots of time to prepare and as enthusiasm builds with the pending arrival of a new family member, you notice not everyone is quite as warmhearted.  You may rationalize that this will work itself out as time goes on. After the baby is born, your family will be one happy cohesive unit singing songs and joyfully skipping through life. However, be cautioned Mommies, it’s imperative to dial in to what your son or daughter is saying, or not saying, about the impending arrival of your bundle of joy.

It is common place in today’s fast paced society to not appreciate or honor feelings individuals have. Especially as women, or young girls, the message is often to just deal personally with those feelings and don’t act upon them – put them away in a small box as if they never existed.  This…

View original post 568 more words