Archive for February, 2014

The Problem of Worry
February 26, 2014

Worry, some of us seem to do it all the time, while others are the masters of their worries. I fall somewhere in between usually. When I get into a worry patch, I really have to get a firm grip on myself and try to snap out of it! Since l believe in the power of language I take away some of the power of worry by using the word concern.

Here are some of my worries:

An early meeting or flight, I worry if my alarm will go off.

Driving off, I worry if I left something turned on.

Leaving the house with the dryer or dishwasher running I worry will the house catch fire or be flooded.

Tossing all night worried over various things and then of course worrying about not getting enough sleep because I was worrying and not sleeping!

I worry about the weather impacting my plans.

I worry that the noise I hear while not sleeping is from vandals outside my home.

I worry about my work performance.

I worry about my financials.

I worry about my family.

I worry about my friends.

I worry about my health.

I worry that I am becoming obsessed with worry!

My worries are trivial and heart felt. Most of my worries happen when I should be sleeping. I have to turn off my mind. I have to push back the worry thoughts. I tell myself I can worry only during bright daylight hours. Sometimes it works.

Sometimes worry wins and I am exhausted in the morning. Sometimes I have to drive back home and check the appliances. Sometimes a sincere worry is justified but kept in perspective. The problem with worry is there is always something to worry about.

Are there people who never worry? Do they have an inner peace or are they fooling everyone and themselves?

What worries keep you up at night or during the day? Obviously my cat is not worried!

Louie is never worried!

Louie is never worried!

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My Doctor Follows Me and is a Fan
February 19, 2014

Just a mere 10 years ago I would have to call my doctor’s office to schedule an appointment. If I had a question or concern I would leave a message and wait for her call back. Now everything is handled on line. I make my appointments, I email my concerns and I sign up for the Practice’s newsletter.

 For health care professionals it is somewhat of a dream come true. Even if most patients don’t read the whole newsletter the practice can alert their patients when flu shots are available, introduce a new practitioner, and other health related events.

 Events are also a new phenomenon in the doctor/patient relationship.  Free workshops for new parents, nursing mothers, diabetics, and high blood pressure patients are normal practice.

 8 years ago my Oncologist’s group invited their patients to a seminar highlighting what was presented at the National breast cancer conference. The first year about 150 showed up. Last week about 350 people showed up to hear the news! This is just one oncology practice!Image

 I asked my oncologist why he thought their event is growing and such a big success. His answers are:

Free Food

Free Parking

Cute or funny graphics dispersed in the power point slides

A clear synopsis of the data that is easily understandable

Cancer people crave knowledge from a reliable source

My company had an informational table at last week’s event. We were there with various support group organizations, cancer foundations, exercise groups and other specialty clothing companies. I listened to the conference and I agree with my Oncologist 100%. What’s new in the world of breast cancer? I can tell you now with authority. Social media has helped reach a group that 20 years ago used hushed tones.

Here are a few points from the Conference:

Daughters should get their baseline mammogram 10 years before their Mother/Aunt/Grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer

Start at age 40 to get a yearly mammogram

Breast Cancer prevention not only through lifestyle choices but also available through drug therapies for high-risk women

Have a risk assessment for breast cancer or breast cancer recurrence

 My doctor actually follows my company. She and my oncologist are wonderful supporters of Haralee.Com, and distribute my brochure to many of their patients.

Have you attended a health event sponsored by your health care providers?

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Coping with Snow and By Eating Home Made Marshmallows
February 12, 2014

Portland Oregon usually does not get snow. In fact I do not own a snow shovel nor do any of my neighbors. We just wait until it melts. The city shuts down and the news advises everyone to stay indoors.

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When the storm hit Thursday afternoon, I hunkered down preparing if it should turn to ice by finding flashlights, charging phones and making marshmallows that we enjoyed with hot cocoa.

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Saturday we were still enjoying marshmallows and cocoa and the winter wonderland that gripped us. During this time my husband takes out his big 4-wheel drive and uses any excuse to test the road conditions. Need some milk? He’s your man. Saturday he put chains on his rig so  there was no hill he couldn’t climb.

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Since I can’t bike in the snow I needed to get some exercise so we went on walks. I got out my 20 year old Sorrells. I bought these boots when we went to the Olympics in Lillehammer 20 years ago. Since I don’t wear them often they are in great shape. Trudging through the snow in snowy conditions while the Olympics are going on was nostalgic for me.

 

Home made Marshmallows:

Soak for 5 minutes:

2 T unflavored Gelatin

½ Cup Water

 

Cook until threads:

2 Cups Sugar

¾ Cup Water

 

Whirl all in a blender with a pinch of salt and flavor (vanilla or peppermint) and cool

 

Beat until white and fluffy and pour into an 8×8 or 9×9 pan that has

powder sugar on the bottom, let set.

 

Cut into squares and enjoy!

 

 

 

Are my Hot Flashes Gone ???
February 7, 2014

27 million women in the USA have hot flashes and night sweats. Could it be 26,999,999? My hot flashes are waning. I am alerting the media! I still get night sweats but the hot flashes, knock on wood, have not bothered me since summer.

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I am cold this winter and I don’t live in a really cold part of the country. I am wearing turtlenecks. I am wearing layers. I am wearing warm socks. I am wearing my down coat when it is not raining. In a nutshell I have become my former self. It has been 12 years since I spent a winter in heavy layers. I never thought I would see this day again!

 

Menopause gripped me like a giant bear hug with drenching night sweats and drippy hot flashes. For 12 years I have been wearing waterproof makeup because of my hot flashes. For 12 years I have worn sleeveless tops and open toe shoes year round. For 12 years I have not put on a scarf. For 12 years I rarely have worn tights.

 

Things have changed. I noticed last week the weather was in the high 30’s and I dressed in tights, wool slacks that are lined, leather shoes, turtleneck top with a sweater over it. I then put on a big down coat, a scarf, hat and gloves and headed to my car. I promptly turned my heater on high and was surprised that I wasn’t sweating!

 

There was a time not long ago that I would look at my arms and they had goose bumps but I was not registering cold. Now when watching TV I use a cozy blanket. I turn the heat up, and turn on the fireplace. I forgot how cozy the fireplace is!

 

Not to jinx myself so my hot flashes return, I still have night sweats. Yes they are not as frequent or as severe as they once were, but I still get them. I am OK with a few night sweats because I see the end game. A day when I experience no night sweats can only be a mere 2-3 years away, or so I hope!

20 Years since I was at the Lillehammer Olympics
February 2, 2014

It doesn’t seem possible that 20 years have passed since I was in Norway as a spectator at the winter Olympics. Being a spectator on your own dime, not sponsored by a company, is fairly rare at the winter Olympics. When we got off the plane, train, and bus in Lillehammer, I realized just being a spectator is almost an Olympian event. Endurance, stamina, and the ability to withstand really cold weather are part of the Games I wish were included in a spectator-training course.

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On many of the ski events your tickets are for standing space. Let me tell you it can get really cold standing on snow! We finally found the rubber pad vendor, and then we found the thermos vendor for hot beverages. Our biggest coup d’état was when we found some Norwegians willing to share their warming fires made in the snow.

 

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In 1994 we did not have to worry about terrorist attacks. It never crossed our minds pre 9-11. It was an experience of a lifetime and I am glad my husband and I did it. As the Sochi Olympics start I will be glued to the TV. I will be watching the athletes but I will be looking at the spectators too.

 

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1994 was the year of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. Tonya is from Portland, Oregon the same as me. When people asked where I was from I was a bit embarrassed to say I was from Portland because the response was always, ‘”Same as Tonya?” 

 

 

 

A party atmosphere during the Olympic occurs on the bus, at the bus stops, at the events, in the hotels and in the Olympic village. I hope that atmosphere is present for the Sochi Games and politics are set aside.

 

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One of my favorite memories of the Lillehammer Olympics was when we decided to ski one of the mountains opened to the public. It was thrilling to come down the slope with 20,000 people watching. The athletes some how on TV and in person look great as they come to a swooshing stop at the end of the run. Me, well I gave it a try, it was a moment, but let’s just say I will never be an Olympian!