Did you know that October is national ‘breast cancer awareness’ month?
On the first day of every month I remind all my friends via social media to check their breasts. I have friends who have had breast cancer, I also have friends who have lost loved ones to this disease.
- You do not need to have a family history to develop breast cancer, in fact 70% of breast cancers found have no previous family history of the disease.
Check your breasts.
- More than half of breast cancers are discovered by the woman examining herself NOT by mammograms nor scans.
Check your breasts.
- In recent years, survival rates have increased to 89% due to advances in treatment and early detection which leads to better treatment outcomes.
Check your breasts.
- Nine out of ten lumps found are NOT cancer, but should be checked out every time.
Are you hearing me…. now check your breasts!
- There is some evidence that the relationship between obesity and breast cancer may be affected by the stage of life in which a woman gains weight and becomes obese. Weight gain during adult life has been consistently associated with an increased risk of breast cancer after menopause.They think that this is because once the ovaries have stopped functioning your fat tissue becomes the most important source of oestrogen. Because obese women have more fat tissue, they have higher levels of oestrogen which can potentially lead to more rapid growth of oestrogen-responsive breast tumors.
I love breasts! I know that sounds a little odd but I do. I am not sure if it is the artist in me, the woman or the midwife, but I have always felt that there is little more comforting and reassuring than a soft pair of boobs. You show me a sobbing child, hell, show me a weepy adult, hug them into a soft bosom and they feel better. Breasts are a source of love, power, comfort, pleasure, pain and for about seven years in this house, food!
I particularly love my breasts and more importantly I love life. In all seriousness ladies. Our health is the most important thing we have. We all have family and friends who love us very much and we need to keep ourselves healthy to ensure that we are around to enjoy life with them for as long as possible. We want to see our children have children, our grandchildren grow, our partners get old. Life is all too short and we need to relish every precious moment in health. Now, go and check your boobs!
Today is R U OK day so it begs the question, why do we need a special day to remind us to pay attention to our friends and family and ask what is going on in their lives?
This morning on breakfast TV the reason we need this day was made very clear, statistics show that every single day in Australia six people commit suicide. SIX families are devastated and that is really not okay.
Having been someone who has in the past suffered with depression I can attest to the blackness that consumes you. Indeed the Dementors in the Harry Potter books were influenced by J K Rowling’s personal experience of depression. She describes this emotional state as the ‘the absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from just feeling sad.’ Different from feeling sad. When I read this I understood why the Dementors filled me with such fear.
In a world where we seemingly communicate more than ever, where technology has gone crazy and we can be contacted at any time of the day or night, where our lives are displayed for the world to comment on, Facebook, Twitter, email, text, the list goes on and on, I have to wonder how many people are behind the technology, tapping at a keyboard, staring at a screen and are still as lonely and sad as it is possible to be?
My daughter and I have a rule, if we go out for coffee or lunch we are not allowed to sit and check our Facebook page, our phones are strictly out of bounds and we talk instead. I confess to being a complete technology addict but I am inclined to agree that when you spend half of your ‘get together’ with a friend staring at the top of their head or the backside of their mobile phone it is not conducive to really communicating.
Today is a day for asking the question ‘are you okay’ and stopping and listening, really listening to the answer.
So have you actually spoken to someone you love today and asked them, ‘are you okay’?
As my weight crept upwards there were many times when we were going out that I would get dressed up, do my hair, fix my face, check the mirror and think ‘not bad’. Great boobs, check, of course I did I was over weight! Fabulous skin, check and gorgeous hair, check! Nothing wrong with my self esteem right? I was the life and soul of many a party, brimming with self confidence, or so it seemed. There is a reason why all of our children have chosen to pursue degrees in performing arts (English/actors/musicians) they have inherited my ‘the show must go on’ gene.
I was really good at telling myself that I looked good for a lady of a certain age. I could overlook the fact that my knees ached at the end of each day, that my back hurt and when the weather heated up my thighs would rub, I could overlook those things because I ‘scrubbed up’ well for a mature woman and, after all it could be worse couldn’t it….?
I think it’s called denial.
I would leave the house feeling fairly happy with my efforts and then, something would happen to dampen my mood. I’d catch my reflection or I’d have the misfortune to be seated next to some teeny tiny, gorgeous little thing who made me feel like a giant and to make it worse she’d be delightful to talk to. Later I’d see ‘the photos’ and I grew to dread the “you’ve been tagged on Facebook” notifications.
Eventually it was too exhausting to try and I started to avoid going out. I knew it was time to stop the excuses and time for change…. This was my light-bulb moment, which I will blog about at another time.
Equally our brain messes with us when we get slimmer….
When you get to your healthy weight range it takes a long time for your brain to think like a slim person. It’s true. Times many I would take larger sizes into the changing room to be quite flummoxed that they were too big. My daughter spent a lot of time returning to the rails to get smaller sizes with an ‘I told you so’ expression firmly on her face. It took a long time before I could stop taking three different sizes into the changing room ‘just in case’ and I was frequently surprised and pleased that I could get into the smaller one. Sometimes I lamented that I wanted one more kilo off because I wanted to look like ‘so and so’ and my sister would quite literally slap me and exclaim ‘but your butt is smaller than hers, seriously woman, get a grip’. It takes a long time for the brain to catch up with the shrinking body.
The brain is a very funny thing isn’t it, but I tell you something for nothing, having a brain that still on occasion thinks that I am fat and a body that is in fact slim is a whole lot easier than the other way around.