Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reflections of 2010!

This year I tried to wait to write my reflections of the year for the very last moment as I believe that there is still time for something else to happen. However, I know that I need to get it done NOW!!! When I welcomed 2010, I had no idea what was in store, I had my dreams,wishes, hopes and prayers on the line but as always, I kept myself open to allow things to happen and boy did they.

Where should I begin? 2010 has proven to be a year of empowerment. It was the year that my professional life took on a completely different turn. I was appointed to serve in a position that allows me to make a huge difference in healthcare. A dream position only I didn't even dream or think about it. However, once the opportunity was presented, I accepted it without blinking. It was the answer to my other dreams, the ones I actually had.

By May not only was I appointed to a five year term, I had the nerve to proclaim that we're going to do an Off Broadway Show based on the audio book series, The Day That Changed My Life Cancer an uncertain journey. I know, sounds ridiculous doesn't it border line insane. I'm sure that's what my family thought as well. However, I knew we could do it. I spoke to my husband about it and he thought it was a big stretch, but knowing me, he knew I would have to do it first and see how impossible or difficult it would be for me to be convinced not to go through with it. So he went along with me just for peace sakes.

Next up my daughter, a singer/songwriter. I told her that I needed a theme song for the play. Of course there was no script but the concept was there and that's all I needed. Being my daughter, she fell for it and in no time contacted a Grammy winning producer whom she is currently working with and the song was on it's way to being written and produced.

My other daughter, who bless her heart did not see me coming, was in for the awakening of her life - one that I recently invaded. Word on the home front was that she was interested in becoming a screenwriter and had recently taken a course and that was it for me. I found my playwright. We had a meeting, I threw out my ideas, discussed the premise and other details and by the end of our meeting, she agreed to write the play.

Next up, my brother in-law. A professional at marketing & promotions on a large scale - we're talking major in entertainment/corporate. He directed the photo shoot for the poster, worked on ideas for the web site and other areas to make it happen.

My adopted daughter worked as the assistant from placing the ads for the auditions, working on the auditions, creating flyers, doing the foot work, making calls and filling in where needed. By the time we hit the stage for opening night, it was all hands on deck. Whether it was making the audience gift bags, loading the van, setting up and working behind the scenes, everyone, all of my children and their friends were on board.

After literally pulling together the in house resources we were on board to see it through from auditions, meetings, rehearsals, photo sessions, auditions, finding a venue, auditions, costumes, props, stage manager, tickets, on air interviews, blogging, show programs,poster, make up artist, video-documentary and more. All this to say, it was in no way easy. From May to October, we pulled it off and to rave reviews -- from strangers!

During this exciting period, I traveled for meetings and conferences as a speaker and consultant. I was also the keynote speaker for a High School graduation. I worked more than I ever did and enjoyed every moment of it even through the most challenging situations. The challenges were really motivators for me. They kept me on my toes, never thinking it cannot be done but instead we're on a roll here - no time to stop. Perhaps we slowed down a bit then roll over or around it. In the end, it always worked in our favor.

The end of 2010 and my husband directed an Off Broadway Play in New York City in the Lincoln Center area, produced by me, my daughters playwright and theme song composer - my entire family can say that they had an experience they never imagined to be a part in - I sure didn't. I can tell you that there were those who wondered if anyone would be interested in seeing a play about cancer, well let me share with you, we had an audience of survivors, folks who heard about the play and flew in to see it, repeaters to see the other nights performances, etc. In fact, we have people asking for us to return so others can see.

I had planned to complete my book this year but unless I can write a book in the next 24 hours, it will have to go on the list for the upcoming year. So as usual, I have my dreams, wishes, hopes and prayers for the things I would love to accomplish in 2011. Who knows what else is in store for me? I have no idea but you guessed it, I can't wait to find out.

Reflections of 2009
Reflections of 2008

Monday, December 20, 2010

Coping with Illness & Loss During the Holidays...

♪♪Tis the season to be jolly♪♪ you know -- the songs, the smiling faces, the decorations, the gifts, the atmosphere is all in a festive mood yet not everyone is sharing in the joy of the season. There are families who are having a tough time sharing in the festive season.

This may be the first time that everyone is gathered to spend the day as they always do except that there is something different this time, someone is obviously missing. The loss may be from a divorce, separation, military deployment, illness or death. Whatever the reason, it can affect the mood of those who are facing the holidays without their loved one.
In the case where your loved one is in the hospital, nursing home or rehabilitation facility, perhaps a visit will cheer everyone up. It will definitely make your loved one feel better knowing that he/she is not forgotten.

Remembering the good times is key. Memories may deliver a mixture of emotions. One moment there may be tears as you wish that your loved one could be with you all, while the next moment may be filled with laughter as you recall the happy times. Laughter is the best medicine, I know, laughter has helped us through some very tough times during the holidays. It sure takes adjusting especially in the cases where there is a permanent loss.
There is a saying 'Time heals all wounds' which it does. However, it takes time - some longer than others. The best way to cope is to acknowledge your feelings then allow yourself to embrace the transition of understanding that while life will never be the same, your life must go on.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Christmas Sales.....

All the media and businesses are a buzz with the special themed sales. Nothing new here except that it just seems to be a bit more intense this year. What's really going on? Are we out of a recession and no one sent an alert or a memo to those still unemployed or barely making ends meet - population.

The lines of people waiting for special deals often begin in the wee hours of the morning or in some cases, days in advance. Of course, some people may think that this is ridiculous while those on line believe that they are at an advantage of getting the items they need at a price that they could either afford or will never be able to get if not purchased at that price even if it means sacrificing their payments on other important bills.

Many people turn to their credit cards to splurge well beyond their means. They want to be a part of the celebration season exchanging gifts. No one wants to look as though they are a Scrooge, cheap skate or just too broke to participate. Well, if you are unemployed or working for a minimum wage or in a part time position, then you should not stress yourself.

So be honest with yourself. No need to go out shopping and impressing others. At this point, there is no need to keep up with the Joneses. The Joneses can no longer afford it either, many of them have also suffered quite a bit financially. Tell your family and friends that you wont be able to purchase gifts, perhaps you can bake a pie, cookies or something made with love. They will understand and if they don't - they're being inconsiderate and that's not your problem. If you get caught up and shop then you will most certainly be sorry later on. If you avoid spending money or using your credit cards (if you have any) you will be surprisingly richer and happy when the season is over. Don't stress yourself.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How Are You Doing?

Your Health & Wellness is in your hands. Knowing your family health history is very important. It serves as a guide into understanding your own health and wellness. Many people are unaware of their family's health history due to the private manner in which it was kept. Others are unaware because they may not have access to a parent who may have died and they are not in touch with that side of the family while there are those who do not know their parent/s - due to adoption, orphanage, foster care, absent parent. Whatever, the case, it's time to know How You Are Doing.

First you should schedule and attend an annual physical with your doctor. If you do not have one, find one. Ask for a complete physical. If you have any concerns, discuss it with your doctor, ask questions (write them down if you have to). Your doctor will answer your questions and if he/she is too busy, ask if you can send them an email or call at a later time.

The doctors role is to see about your health and your role is to see about your health - you both share the same goals. You should feel free to discuss any unusual symptoms that you are experiencing. Having headaches lately, tell your doctor. Loss of appetite, do not dismiss it as though you may be stressed, yes you may but it can also be something more serious that your doctor can determine through further tests, referrals to the appropriate specialists and may even have a simple alternative such as discontinuing your current medication as it applies.

Although you may not have a family history of certain diseases/illnesses, your lifestyle may contribute to the disease/illness that you develop. An example: if you are overweight and obese, you have a greater risk of having diabetes. Of course, there are thin people with diabetes. However, the important thing here is to focus on your health and not worry or become distracted by others way of life. There are smokers who have smoked since they were 10-13 years old and are still living way into their 70's. On the other hand, there are smokers who have smoked since they were 18 years old and did not live to see their 40th or 50th birthday. Your body is unique and responds differently. What you need to do is know it and know it well.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Awareness Campaigns - How Effective Are They?

Have you ever wondered how effective are the health awareness campaigns? Is it something that actually gets you motivated to get checked? Are you even aware of your family's health history? Well, there is actually an awareness campaign for just about every disease and millions of dollars are raised.

Stand Up to Cancer - joint effort of various television network hosts, stars/celebrities and aired simultaneously on the local and cable channels.

Think Pink - October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The upcoming Off Broadway play The Day That Changed My Life explores the journeys of those whose lives have been touched by cancer. The play promises to bring the audience along an intimate view of how cancer affects not only the patient but the family as well as many others who are not often considered. You will have an appreciation and an awareness that will invoke a change in how you handle your health. The show dates are on October 15, 16 and 22, 2010.
Tickets are available - get yours now! You don't want to miss this journey.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Great News Alert! Early Detection for Alzheimer's -- Now What Does That Mean?

The news is all a buzz about the historical breakthrough in detecting Alzheimer's disease with an accuracy of 100%. Isn't that great?!!!! Of course this is exciting news. Many of us who have those brief escapes from our memory begin to wonder if we are candidates for the disease.

The treatment of Alzheimer disease is rather grim as there is no cure for the disease. However, news like this is certainly promising. Now, that this test has such a high accuracy with detecting the result, I am sure that many people will want to be tested, I for one will be making an appointment - I'm curious, I just need to know.

Once I find out my result, I will need to know what can be done to avoid the disease or how close are they to finding a cure or at least staving off the disease as long as possible. Will my insurance cover those tests? If not how much will it cost? Will it become a standard test? Perhaps not until they can successfully treat the disease.

Before we break out the bubbly, put on our fancy dress/suits and head out to celebrate for a night on the town, let's hear what CNN's health expert Dr. Gupta has to say:

Well, that does it. Hopefully, the researchers will have a cure by the time you finish reading this blog, or at least by the end of this year.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Day That Changed My Life - The Journey

Do you or anyone you know have cancer?

The Day That Changed My Life explores the journey of those whose lives have been touched by cancer. Cancer is often looked at as one disease when in fact, there are many forms of cancer. You may hear that someone has lung cancer, breast cancer, kidney cancer, etc., which makes it easy to understand they type of cancer as it connects directly to the organ which is the source of the disease. However, there are many other forms of cancer such as multiple myeloma, luekemia, non hodgkins lymphoma and other cancers that are not as easily understood. Unless you have had cancer or know someone closely who has cancer, it can be quite difficult to understand the various human responses to the disease.

In The Day That Change My Life you will have an intimate insight of those who shared their journey with cancer - some who made it and those who did not. Follow the cast as they take the journey to the stage:

The Day That Changed My Life - The Journey

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hospital Closings -- What on Earth?!!!

Have you ever heard someone say, get a career that will always be in demand. Doctors, nurses,teachers even state jobs will always be secure, after all we will always need a doctor, etc. It made a lot of sense. However, hospital and other health care facility closings are common place now.

When a hospital closes, what happens to the patients? where do the doctors go? what about the nurses and other staff members? Not to mention -- the community. How will it affect the community? Where will they go? Will the other hospitals be able to provide quality service to the influx of new patients? Emergency - how effective will it be if one is sick and needs immediate care?

The Voices of the People

Another Hospital - the voice of the Employees

Hospitals are essential to the lives of those within the community. The response time is critical and can be the determining factor in life and death.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Enjoying a Happy, Healthy, Safe - 4th of July!

Who needs a party pooper? Well, if being the party pooper means that I will encourage you to make healthy choices and safe decisions - so be it. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Fourth of July weekend is the second most dangerous with Thanksgiving being number one. These are among the major holidays where most people drive to be with family or friends. Driving has become more dangerous as there are not only the drunk drivers or reckless teenagers to consider, but now there are the cell phone conversations or worse - sending and reviewing text messages while driving.

Beautiful isn't it. The sight of fireworks can be such an incredible experience. While most people attend various sites that offer professional shows, some neighborhoods have their own private, let's light them up display. Here's the thing, handling fireworks may cause you to lose your eye, fingers, hands, knee caps, legs - get the picture? It's dangerous. In fact, the U.S.Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that about 70 percent of the fireworks-related injuries reported in 2009 happened around the Fourth of July holiday. Furthermore, it shows that approximately 2,000 more Americans were injured in 2009 by fireworks than in 2008. Parents take note as the report also shows that 54 percent of those injured were under the age of 20. Why not leave the fireworks to the experts?

Throwing some shrimp on the barbe? Safety comes first. Be careful lighting the grill Be sure to read and follow the instructions carefully. While watching the local news this morning, I saw a young woman speaking of her accident while laying in the hospital bed. She shared that the hot coal fell on her foot and while she tried to knock the coal off her foot, it crumbled into her sneaker. By the time she was able to get her sneaker off, her skin was completely gone. As a result, skin was removed from her upper thigh, hip area to cover her foot. Now that's just an example of many other dangers that can occur while handling the grill. Use tongs to remove any piece of food that may have fallen directly on to the coals. Keep children, pets and drunks away from the grill.

While we're on the topic of cooking on the grill, I would like to encourage you to add some healthy choices to the menu. Fruits, vegetables, water, fruit juices (100%), salads can really be a welcome treat for all besides it's healthy! If you must cook steak, chicken, burgers and hot dogs (all yummy treats) cook them thoroughly so that there is no chance of food poisoning.

Watch out for kids (teenagers) and even adults drinking and ruining the party and their liver. Drinking may also cause your relatives or guests to become sick or they may exhibit irresponsible behavior. Keep in mind that your guests may be driving and they can cause harm to themselves and worse yet others.

Heading to the beach for some sun ad fun? Well, sunblock should be applied and stay in the shade avoiding sun exposure for long periods of time. Sunburns are brutal. Drink lots of water (hydration is key).

Looking at the water and excited about going in for a swim - well, be careful. Strong currents may pull you and whisk you away that even the most experienced swimmers may not escape. Somehow sharks are lurking closer and closer to the shore so please be careful. If you have been drinking do not, I repeat do not go in the water. Follow the instructions of the life guards and stay within the boundaries set by the beach/coast guard. Be considerate to the life guards, while they are on duty to assist you in the event of an emergency, they are also people who deserve to live and not be a part of your reckless actions.

Finally, enjoy your Independence Day! Be safe so that you may live to share the fun stories of your celebration of July 4th.

Monday, June 28, 2010

FYI - Drink Lots of Water but Be Cautious!

Who would have ever thought that one can bottle water and sell it? It's like selling shells on the beach, sort of as you can pick up your own shells but somehow the shiny polished ones are more appealing. However, it makes so much sense. Nothing beats a nice cold drink of water on a hot day or after a good work out, it is so refreshing.

Bottled water is sold and consumed by billions of people all over the world. In fact, the International Bottled Water Association states that in 2009, over 8 billion gallons of bottled water was consumed worldwide. Now that's a big order and many major beverage companies are tapping into the water bottling industry.

In the United States, we have the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)who oversees the industry; setting standards and requirements to ensure that the water is safe for consumption, the manufacturers are using the proper materials to make the bottles and that the information printed on the labels are accurate.

With all that said, we have a role to play once the water is in our hands. Family size bottles where everyone pours it into a cup are generally safe. If you have opened up a bottle of water, drank some and placed it in your gym bag then in the trunk of your car - use the rest to water your plants. Avoid drinking water from the individual bottles that has already been opened and lingering around for days on end. Keep in mind that there may some contaminants in the water which may make a healthy person very sick. For those whose immune system has been compromised, exercise extra precaution as you may suffer severely or worse yet you may die.

Here are some interesting reports on plastic bottles:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ahhhhhhhhh Water!

The great benefits of water is priceless. Not only is it the most important factor in enjoying a long, energized, healthy life but read on there's more:

*Water is great for keeping your hygiene in check - showers and baths are essential.

*Your body needs water to survive as every system in your body depends on water to function.

*It really helps to cool off in a nice pool or a good hosing when the temperatures rise.

*Your clothes cannot be cleaned effectively without it.

*Your fruits and vegetables, trees, plants, pets, animals all need water.

*Your hands - wash those hands often - keep them clean!

*It's hot outside and a drink of water can be oh so refreshing

*The car wash couldn't be in business without it

*Building a house? Mixing concrete - yes you need water there too.

The list can go on and on......... However, I will leave the rest for you to add, if you can think of anything else not listed here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Stroke Awareness Month

Dick Clark

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Thank goodness there are specific awareness months to highlight the various diseases as its purpose is to alert us to make a change. However, our health does not wait time for an awareness month to come along before something may occur. There are internal processes going on as we go about our daily lives. All it takes is for a blood clot to block or plug a blood vessel or artery in the brain or a blood vessel in the brain breaks and bleeds into the brain. Strokes are open to all - males, females to the very young and old. A major stroke may be fatal. In some cases, one can become paralyzed, losing the ability to speak or walk. A stroke patient may be placed in the care of a rehabilitation facility and have follow up therapy.

Beau Biden


Symptoms of a stroke may occur suddenly and includes the following:

• severe headache with no known cause
• trouble seeing in one or both eyes
• numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
• trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
• confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech

It is important to get to the hospital as soon as now!!!!


Are you at risk?

• a high cholesterol level
• smoking
• diabetes
• a heart disease
• high blood pressure


You may be able to prevent or reduce your chances of having a stroke by the following:

• know your cholesterol level get checked
• quit smoking
• eat healthy
• exercise
• keep a track of your blood pressure level

Schedule an appointment with your doctor. Ask questions? Discuss your concerns and get a thorough check up. It's all about your health and wellness - be informed.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Day That Changed My Life Cancer (Parents Edition)

No one can imagine what it feels like to hear that your child has been diagnosed with cancer.

This Parents Edition takes you through the new journey of countless emotions, questions, and concerns. It explores the emotions, creating and building a supportive team, treatment options, nutrition, the journey of other children relating to the topics, and more.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Revlon Run Walk - Cancer in Women

Oh what a beautiful morning!!! The sun rose to the occasion of the day. It was the day that thousands gathered at Times Square to be a part of the Revlon Run Walk for the fight against women's cancer. Celebrities included the handsome Jesse L Martin, the beautiful Jessica's Alba and Biel, gorgeous Halle Berry, and the most loved Dr. Oz. The crowd danced and sang along with the talented Trey Songz and a wonderful group of young people - a Gospel Choir from Harlem.

The crowd was showered to a treat of confetti that served as a celebration of the start.

The challenge is for the runners to make their way through the countless numbers of participants who are walking. There were strollers being pushed, dogs on leashes with their owners, some people walked briskly, some carried signs and some walked at a relaxed pace.

All in all, the participants were happy to be a part of the event. Many wore signs to show their connection to the event whether it was in support of a loved one, in memory of a loved one or just being a survivor.

The 5K was over in no time as there were volunteers stationed at several points to offer water and cheers. The pride in completing 3.1 miles was seen on many smiling faces of the participants. We cheered as we approached the finish line.

Our team was ecstatic! We walked in memory of our loved ones who died and in support of Nkiru Okanome who died that same afternoon from breast cancer. We were devastated by the news but thankfully our participation will help to save many other women's lives.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Your Health & Wellness - the team approach

What role do you play when you visit your doctor? Do you realize that you are an important member of the team? After all this is all about your health and wellness. As the most important member of the team, you are the one who can be most effective in describing your health concerns. It is your specific details that guides the health care team to determine what may be the cause of your symptoms.

You are in charge of your health! Therefore when you visit your doctor, you should engage in the discussion of your care. You will be able to tell them about your symptoms making sure not to hold anything back - no matter how insignificant you may think it is. Do not dismiss anything as it may be the key to help the health care professional team with the tests they need to run or what plan of action they take.

If your visit to the doctor is a scheduled appointment as an annual check up then you should discuss weight, diet, blood pressure, cholesterol level, reviewing family health history in case you need to have further testing, your job (stress) or lack of job (stress) among other concerns.

In the case of those in treatment for an illness/disease, engaging in your treatment plan is necessary. It's all about knowing what treatment is best for you:
* When will treatment begin/end
* How will you be treated
* Who will be a part of the team and will they be available for follow up
* Will there be any further tests to confirm the state of the disease

Keep a journal/take notes. Write down the discomforts you may have. Be sure to note the day and time. Include what you may have been doing before the symptoms of discomfort occurred. Did you eat? What did you eat? Did you have your medication or any other prescriptions? Keeping notes may help avoid unnecessary delays/tests. The health care professional team only knows what you tell them and who knows, something you share may help move the process efficiently.

It's all about you - your health and wellness depends on you.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Is In the Air - Up Next Summer!!

It's that time - the leaves return, the flowers are blooming, the birds chirping, the flies are flying, the bees will soon be buzzing and the ants will be back on track. While everything in nature prepares to take their natural course, we prepare to take on our own track of getting in shape.

There are so many ways to enjoy the outdoors while working out. It is a refreshing way to become one with mother nature. Taking in the fresh air, listening to the birds chirp, looking at the trees or flowers blooming - a beautiful sight. Now it's a perfect opportunity to ride your bicycle, roller blade, play basketball, soccer, soft ball, jump rope, hula hoop or swim.

Some may decide it's time to get to the gym while others may decide to take to the park/track field, or jog in their neighborhood. Whatever you decide, be sure to take it easy. The body should never be taken for granted. It's so easy to forget that the body needs to warm up before beginning any form of physical activity. Stretching is essential. My husband and I would go for runs at the park, signing up for various organized races through the New York Road Runners Club among other work out alternatives. Whenever we return to the track to begin our spring workout routine, we usually walk a lap or two before run our laps. At the end of our run we would also walk a lap and then stretch a bit more.

Move at your own pace - progress begins with a move. Get out and enjoy. Hydrate, hydrate. Take advantage of spring and when summer arrives, it will all be worth it in the end.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What To Do???

So you are not a lover of fish or you may have an allergic reaction to eating fish but you really want to maintain a healthy balanced life. You've heard that Omega 3 is exceptionally good for you with outstanding benefits and it's found in fish. It lowers blood pressure although slightly but albeit lowers is a good thing, it also lowers triglycerides; slows the build up of plaque that hardens the arteries; reduces the risk of stroke in people with cardiovascular disease; a noticeable reduction in heart attacks, stroke and dangerous abnormal heart rhythms, most importantly - death.

The good news - all is not lost, you heard medical experts and researchers say that you can still enjoy the benefits by taking the fish oil supplements. You run out and purchase the products, may have read or glimpse at the label and have taken them with the confidence that you are well on your way to a healthy life.

Every now and then the news reports on health topics that they feel should keep the consumer aware of the products that may be dangerous or not forthright with their claims on the labels. Have I ever had fish oil pills? Yes, I have. In fact, I have those Nature Made products and I was shocked and appalled to see the following:

Did You Take Your Vitamins reminds you that everything may not be necessary for you.

Let us continue to do our best by eating fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, drinking water, whole wheat products, exercise -- all with a balance and pray that it works!

Monday, March 1, 2010

National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer. If the cancer is found in the rectum, it is called rectal cancer. However, cancer that is found in either of these areas are also called colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer occurs when there are tiny growths/polyps of abnormal cells that lines the wall of the colon or rectum. The colon and rectum are both found in the large intestine. The symptoms may include bloody stool, abdominal pain, bleeding of the rectum or feeling tired due to anemia. Sadly in most cases, there are no symptoms.

Here's the deal - colorectal cancer advances with age. In fact, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths within the United States. However, with screening and early detection - lives are saved. The recommended age for screening begins at 50 but if you have a family history with colorectal cancer you may want to discuss with your physician.

There are several forms of screening. You really need to engage in a discussion with your physician. Find out which test will work best for you. Many have heard of the ever intrusive and some call it the dreadful colonoscopy. Dare I say, it may be considered dreadful only because it is inserted in the anal cavity and there is a bit of pre-colonoscopy preparations that must be completed. However, it accomplishes a great deal in detecting any abnormalities within the colon/rectal area and you wont have to take the test for another 10 years.

Another option would be the flexible sigmoidoscopy which a thin flexible tube known as a sigmoidoscope that is inserted into the rectum. The sigmoidoscope has a small video camera at the tip of the tube and it records the sights of the colon up to 2 feet of the large intestine. A plus for this procedure would be the ability to take tissue samples for further tests through this method and it is recommended for screening every 5 years. On the other hand, the sigmoidoscopy cannot pick up areas further along in the colon.

The fecal occult blood test is non invasive and is given annually. There is no intrusive procedures all you have to do is to smear your stool on to the cloth, pad or card which is chemically treated. The goal is to look at the results for a change in the color. If it turns blue that indicates that there is blood in the stool. Now blood in the stool can be an alarm for concern. However, it may not be cancer related therefore further tests may be ordered.

A CT scan X-rays the internal organs to make detailed pictures; a dye may be used to highlight the areas of concern. The good old reliable enema is also an option - the double contrast barium enema uses air to expand the colon which aids for better images along with the barium.

Colon cancer is one that may be prevented with a healthy well balanced diet which includes foods rich in high fiber, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Exercise is key to maintaining a healthy weight . Avoid processed meats, red meats, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Nothing is ever certain but the old saying 'an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure' really fits well right here. March is the colorectal cancer awareness month perhaps it is time to march on over to your doctors office and discuss your options.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Fat Debate

Let's get this out on the table being skinny does not mean one is healthy and neither is being fat, overweight or obese. Lately there has been a resurgence on the topic of being overweight and the health implications. Over the years, studies have linked various diseases to being overweight or obese. Yet somehow, another study comes out to contradict the reports on being overweight or obese suggesting that it is okay to be fat and healthy. These mixed messages can really confuse or create the perfect pass for those who are struggling to accept their excess weight.

In fact, many celebrities who proudly announced that they are fat and fabulous have at some point worked on losing weight. Oprah, Carnie Wilson, Ricki Lake and Star Jones initially declared how proud and confident they were of being big. Queen Latifah enjoyed her body, Comedian Monique wrote a book Skinny Women Are Evil,hosted a show for fat models and starred in movies that confidently portrayed her character.

Furthermore, super model Tyra Banks wore a bathing suit and told her live audience as well as the television viewers how proud she was of every cellulite, dimple, curve on her body and ended with a smack to the hip and telling those who did not like it to kiss her fat @$$. Meanwhile, Tyra hosted America's Top Model show where she criticized the thin models who gained a pound or two. Well shortly after these declarations, these same proud to be "thick, women with curves" celebrities all worked on losing weight. They explained that they felt it was important to improve on their health and wellness - losing the weight included surgical intervention, signing up as a weight loss program spokesperson, dieting, etc.

There are many sites that celebrates big women, model agencies developed to accommodate the increasing demands for representation of the growing population. They stand up against discrimination and protest on seats being too small on trains,buses, airplanes and restaurants. Obviously, this is more about the embarrassment of it all. Getting to the point of the topic, being fat, overweight or obese takes a toll on the body. No matter how confident you feel about your looks, the internal system is not as confident. As fat settles in, one can develop diabetes,stroke, heart disease and even cancer.

Most importantly, one who is overweight knows it when they find that walking up the stairs can be an incredible task. Not only are they out of breath, they also experience problems with their knees, swollen ankles among other weight related stress on the body. Your body sends you the signals to warn you that all is not right on the inside.

Keeping one's weight within the guidelines for health control can be quite a challenge - one that is worth it.

Begin with Small Steps