Breast Cancer Screening: How to reduce your chances of missing the diagnosis

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Is it hot in here? Or is it just me…… The Menopausal Diaries

Menopause. It basically just sucks. Except for finally being able to stop family planning or wondering if that missed period is a “happy accident” or just from stress, there is not too much that is pleasant about having to go through a physical, emotional, and hormonal (abrupt) change on nature’s clock. One thing I often hear is “I just figured this was normal and I have to deal with it, is that not true?” There’s a few things that can help before you see your doc, and a few things you should definitely see your doctor for.

Hot flashes/ Night sweats:  One of my favorite scenes in any episode of Sex and the City is when Samantha Jones, who is going through menopause after having breast cancer, rips laura-aziz-78175.jpgher wig off at a fancy luncheon and goes, “To hell with it.” Menopause is hot. It can be 40 degrees outside, and the body just doesn’t get the memo, and you’re sweating and your face is red. Basically not a pleasant feeling. The first thing we recommend (and I promise, it can work), is changing diet and increasing exercise. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods (yes. All the good stuff) and drinking more water can reduce hot flashes and night sweats. Also, exercising helps to reset the thermoregulatory system, especially cardio. If these aren’t cutting it, trying a low dose antidepressant can also send signals to the brain to control the body’s temperature better.

Weight gain:  After menopause, because of the drop in hormones, the body changes. Try as you may, a little extra stuffing appears in the dreaded midsection. Although I think the first step is embracing the shape, and learning to love whatever body you live in, I also recognize this is super hard to watch happen. Good old fashioned diet and exercise can help curb some of these changes. Avoiding carbs (bread, sugar, fruit, rice) and increasing cardio can control the amount of weight gain. There are other options, such as liposuction or newer machines that can freeze the fat away to help kick start the process.

Painful sex: So you don’t have to worry about getting pregnant, but it’s so uncomfortable what’s the point?? After estrogen levels take a little nose dive, the vaginal walls become less lubricated, making sex more painful. One of my favorite pieces of advice for post-menopausal women is olive oil. Incorporate this into foreplay with your significant other and it can help reduce friction and stimulate natural lubrication. Disclaimer: Olive oil

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Have sex. Make pasta. Perfect date night! And it’s all thanks to olive oil.

should NOT be used with condoms as it reduces their efficacy. If you are using condoms to protect yourself against STDs (because yes, STDs do not discriminate and anybody of any age can get them!! Use condoms if you are not monogamous or you are with a new partner!), you should use only water based lubricants, not oil based. Vaginal rejuvenation is also a feasible option, and although it is not covered by insurance, it can help increase blood flow to the vaginal tissue, making sex less painful.

Hormone replacement therapy something a lot of women have questions about. It can be a great therapy for those that do not find relief from any of these other options, however it is associated with its own risks and this should be a discussion with your physician about a risk/ benefit analysis. There are different modes of treatment (pills, gels, patches, rings) and it is possible to find one that works best for you.

A final note. There are a LOOOOOT of internet/ drugstore/ over the counter magic pills that prey on women looking for some relief. The majority of these seemingly harmless “vitamins” have NOT been tested by the FDA, and there is no regulation to determine safe doses or risks associated with them. I counsel my women that these meds are in the “take at your own risk” category.

Some things you always want to discuss with a physician. Any bleeding post menopause, increases in bloating, GI symptoms, constipation/ diarrhea, bleeding after sex, pelvic pain or cramping. Menopause isn’t fun, it is a shock to the system, and it is definitely a change. But with some of these tips and tricks, hopefully the transition can be a bit less abrupt and we can slide into the golden years feeling good.

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15 Unconventional Reasons To Have Kids, Or At Least Borrow Someone Else’s

I have a lot a friends of varying ages and career paths. Some have children and some don’t. Some will one day, and some won’t. This post is for those who only see kids as time sucking, money grubbing, competitors for your life goals. They are so much more than that. Here we go…

  1. With kids, you can fart whenever you want to and easily blame it on them. This only works until your child is old enough to defend themselves and ring out a clear, “whoever smelled it dealt iiiittt.” Diaper kids are by far the best ones to take a fall for your bubble guts.caroline-hernandez-177784 small.jpg
  2. If you break down and give them fast food, they must repay you by sharing fries, guilt free of course.
  3. Child nap-time is a great excuse for a daytime adult nap. Adult naps can otherwise be occasionally met with scrutiny. You can’t, however, challenge the necessity of a daytime nap when you are rearing young lives.tim-bish-171738.jpg
  4. Kids movies are actually pretty funny, but it’s hard to watch them by yourself without feeling some kind of way. There is nothing like a pint-sized excuse to check out Sing, Trolls, Storks, Dory, Cars, Moana, Underpants, Kung Fu Panda Sagas, you pick your poison. And don’t even talk about the original Disney Classics.
  5. Me-time is so much sweeter. Going to a coffee shop is just a regular occurrence without kids. With them, it is a luxurious vacation full of ambient adult chatter and the smell of Joe. christian-gertenbach-192350 small.jpg
  6. You can go to kid amusement places without feeling at all creepy. Water parks, arcades and amusement parks are all fair game and devoid of side-eyes.
  7. You can eat cotton candy, funnel cake and other youth-like pleasurable treats without feeling guilty. After all, you didn’t buy it for you, but you DID buy it. Share child!patricia-prudente-308821 small.jpg
  8. Your house can be messy and you have a very solid excuse. To an extent, that is. At some point it’s just nasty. #nojudgement #callbeforeyoucome
  9. You have excellent motivation to participate in arts and crafts that you actually enjoyed as a child. Let’s be honest, Cricut is nothing but a rebirth of the arts and crafts of yesteryear. Crochet, paper mache, sew, and make costumes to your hearts content. especially if your kids NEED you to make something.Memory Lane
  10. You can buy sugary cereal on occasion and have cereal desert when you want. Who doesn’t like a bowl of Honey Nut Cherrios, Frosted Flakes or Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Not to mention Pop Tarts and Fruit snacks? If you can’t appreciate at least a slight twinkle of desire to taste one of these treats, you are dead inside. I know that is dramatic. It’s just that, (emotional pause), I loved those cereals and only got to have them on rare occasions as a kid. Now, when my kids get the occasional treat of the smallest box of over priced cereal with sugar and bright colors for no reason, I too can indulge for a moment. I know I’m not the only one because the Trix Rabbit spent his entire career trying to keep adult hands off of his cerealic goodness. You all will not shame me.
  11. You get an inadvertent work-out constantly. There is nothing like carrying at 20 plus pound toddler around all day, or swinging a carrier or stroller into a car or bus to get some arm guns and a pseudo-kettle bell workout.thiago-cerqueira-191866 small
  12. Kids will help you value your own life more. A friend said that her husband stopped jumping off of the edge of danger constantly when little lives were in play. No more drinking your liver crazy or finding the most perilous excursions while on vacation. Hell, we don’t even leave the house anymore! Just kidding.
  13. Chaos with kids leads to the revelation of life hacks that you may not have ever known. For example: Did you know that if you leave a leftover bottle of wine that is not completely consumed on your kitchen counter for days, it will attract fruit flies and they will drink those old libations and die? I went to pour out and throw away an old bottle of white wine, but to my surprise there were at least 10 dead fruit flies and one regular house fly floating in the liquid. Who knew that my cleaning failures, which are vastly more common with kids, would result in a summer fruit fly extermination? Love it!mi-pham-223464 small
  14. You get to participate in fun activities like play in sprinklers and throw water balloons on a hot summer day, light sparklers and throw snaps on Independence day, throw snowballs and ride sleds down hills in winter (yes, I too have a pair of snow pants), go to the beach and build sand castles, and skip rocks on the lake shore. This point feels like it is turning into a commercial for Pure Michigan.
  15. Your pain tolerance increases due to the number of times you step on some sharp little toy that you didn’t see and it pierces a nerve that speaks to your soul. Eventually you just shake it off, pick it up, and keep on moving.frank-mckenna-228328 small

By far the best part of having kids. and you don’t actually have to have kids to enjoy this, is telling them how amazing they are and all of the wonderful things that they can do. I was watching Oprah Winfrey’s Master Class with Steve Harvey and he talked about how a teacher tried to humiliate him for saying that he wanted to be on TV when when grew up, especially since he had a very profound stutter. His dad told him to not be deterred and to remind himself every day about his dreams. Look at him now, on TV 7 days a week. My momma watches every show too.

Anyone can try to crush a person’s dreams. Poor Taylor Swift recently wrote a whole song about her vendettas. Only someone who loves you will see your potential and nurture your confidence to build your own future. I’m honored to have that privilege. My kids know that when I say, “What are you?” they say, “Amazing!” I pray that they never forget it. #ilikedyoubetterwhenyouwerehappytaylor

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Photo by Thiago Cerqueira on Unsplash
Photo by Mi PHAM on Unsplash
Photo by Tim Bish on Unsplash
Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash
Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash