A beautiful word or thought that is not accompanied by corresponding acts is like a bright flower that bears no fruit. It would not produce any effect. ~The Buddha

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day

So I'm not quite sure where I stand on Valentines Day.  At times I've fallen on the side of it being a "Hallmark" holiday.  At other times I take objection to recognizing the gift of love in your life only once a year.  Even if we don't say, "I love you," I think we do things for each other all year that show our love for each other.  Well, at least I hope that is the case.  I'm sure there are people out there who definitely need that day to express themselves.  I don't happen to be one of them, but for the last 5 years, having a daughter in elementary school, I have gotten into the spirit of the Happy Heart Day.  

There's something magical about watching a child prepare Valentines for friends, and then pour over the Valentines she receives from  them.  Last year, and this year, I even went as far as organizing the Valentines Day party for her classroom because as her teacher told me, "he's a guy and doesn't do that sort of thing."  Okay.  This year my bubble was almost burst because a few other mom's told me their 4th graders thought they were "too old" for Valentines.  Seriously?  What is a Valentines Day party without Valentines?  Fortunately, my faith was restored because with the exception of one boy who said he 'forgot' his, my daughter had a Valentine from every other child in the class.  

Over the weekend we were inundated with commercials and television shows scripted around Valentines Day.  I opted to watch "Nights in Rodanthe" on the Lifetime Movie Channel.  The best line in the movie was at the end, when Diane Lane's character is talking to her daughter, and says, "there's another kind of love, Amanda. One that gives you the courage to be better than you are, not less than you are. One that makes you feel that anything is possible. I want you to know that you could have that. I want you to hold out for it."  Somewhere along the lines I could have used similar advice.  My mother meant well, but she gave some rather poor advice when it came to relationships.  I will hold onto these words of wisdom from the movie and share them with my own daughter early and often.  Hopefully, she will listen, and hold out for that really special Valentine.  In any event if she too grows up and finds herself ambivalent about Valentines Day, it will not be because I jaded her during her formative years.  My conscience will be clear...

Monday, February 7, 2011


I had nothing riding on the game and didn't really follow either of these teams all season, but the only way I could sit down and watch the game was if I sat down and banged out a blog.  It was a a close game, and I couldn't relax.  I was in constant motion, and was even missing the commercials.  While I did sit down to write, the last five minutes I was on my feet.  Just your average case of Superbowl fever.  

I'm no armchair quarterback, and when a flag is thrown I can't call out the penalty before the announcer, but yes, I like football.  I can't remember liking it as a child, and I'm fairly certain I only attended high school games for the social scene, but somewhere along the lines, I learned to understand the game, and then I was hooked.  Officially, I'm a Patriots fan but since they didn't make it to the big dance, I threw my support for SB45 to the Packers.  It was a good game!    

My daughter is a football fan too.  When mom is watching football on Sunday, what's a girl to do?  She, at least, has the fundamentals, and she likes the Patriots.  I have no doubt my enthusiasm for the team has had an impression.  Although she has her own opinions too, and routes for Atlanta when they are playing, because she was born in Georgia.  Of course!

I didn't see any commercials that 'wowed' me but I am pretty taken with the e-Trade baby.

Packers?  Pittsburgh? Where you the least bit interested? 

As a side note, Tom Brady was voted the NFL MVP...indeed!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Annual Exam

Quick disclaimer!  I'm not a medical expert nor do I claim to be, but I do like to pass on information especially when I think it's important.  A few years back, I was quick to share the news that a deficiency in Vitamin D was linked to several cancers.  Frankly, I can't name them all because I stopped listening after my doctor said, "breast cancer" and named her source as The New England Journal of Medicine.  Although, I do remember she mentioned prostate cancer too.  I was quick to jump on the bandwagon, and had a Vitamin D panel done to make sure I wasn't deficient.  I wasn't, but I do take 1,000 iu of D3 on a daily basis.

I think it's important to be your own health advocate and if your doctor hasn't suggested a Vitamin D panel, ask for one.  And while you are having blood drawn anyway, ask for the CA 125 test.  It's an inflammatory marker and this year I'm asking for this one.  I know I'll be having blood work done (cholesterol, etc.) so while they are at it, I want this included on the lab slip.  Why, you ask?  Because  "CA 125 is a protein that is found in greater concentration in tumor cells than in any other cells in the body, and is measured from a blood sample.  Increases in this protein can be seen in ovarian cancer, "the silent killer," as well as malignancies of the uterine tubes, endometrium, lung, breast, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract." 

Of course, as with any test, there are false positives and "a number of benign conditions can cause elevations of the CA 125 level, including pregnancy, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, pancreatitis, normal menstruation, pelvic inflammatory disease, and liver disease.  Benign tumors or cysts of the ovaries can cause an abnormal test result."  For me, dealing with a false positive would not be such a bad thing.   

I'm no stranger to asking a doctor for what I want or need for my own sanity.  A little over 12 years ago, my aunt on my mother's side found out she had Factor 5 leiden, an inherited clotting disorder.  I asked my doctor if I could have the test, and she said I didn't need it because I wasn't at risk.  I wasn't smoking, wasn't using an oral birth control, and I had no surgeries planned.  The following year, after another aunt died, as a result of a cardiac embolism, I insisted on the test.  Turns out, the results were positive.  I have found it's useful information to provide in the course of a pregnancy, and further when I travel, I know it's important for me to drink water and get up and walk around if possible (like when I'm flying).  I also know I shouldn't cross my legs.  Slowly she uncrosses her legs as she's typing now.  Asking for the test made me feel empowered, and I was glad I did.  
As a woman in her mid-forties, risks for certain cancers rise, and if this inflammatory marker can detect one of the many "silent killers," the cancer that isn't detected early enough, or before it's to late, than I'm asking.  Will you?
P.S. I would like to give credit to MedicineNet.com for helping me in my research.