Month: January 2017

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

If you didn’t know, January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month (CCAM). It is a time for us to remind women how important it is to get their annual well woman check-ups and a time for us to remember the women who have gone through cervical cancer or who we have lost due to cervical cancer. I could go into all the details of cervical cancer, HPV, and prevention, but instead I’ll suggest you read up on it yourself at www.cervivor.org.

This post is going to remain short. Tomorrow, January 31, is the final day of CCAM. Many women I know from Cervivor have been busting their butts on social media, through local community events, and on blogs to advocate so more women are better educated about cervical cancer and HPV. We “Cervivors” are saddened when yet another woman is diagnosed and has to go through what we’ve gone through (and may still be going through). We strive to inform and communicate with our friends, family and total strangers in hopes that we can prevent even just one more case of cervical cancer.

What I ask is that, no matter who you are or if cervical cancer has affected you on a personal level or not, on January 31 you go to work or school or the grocery store (or wherever your day takes you) wearing something teal and white, even something small.

Some may wonder what wearing particular colors for just one day can do… It offers support to women diagnosed with cervical cancer. It offers understanding to women who are Cervivors. And it can offer a reminder to women who may be at risk to make an important appointment and to listen to their bodies.

Wear it proud. Show it off. And remind the women in your life to keep up on their well woman exams so we can reduce the number of women being diagnosed each day. And remember, cervical cancer doesn’t care about how old you are.

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When Do People Stop Caring?

This week I read a social media post from a fairly prominent legal correspondent and author that concerned a recent New York Times article about a family taken off an airplane because of their child’s peanut/nut allergies. The airline claimed they didn’t want to take responsibility for the family because they couldn’t assure that other passengers wouldn’t be eating nut products on the plane. The family stated they were prepared, but because peanut/nut allergies can be fatal, the airline didn’t want to risk it. (The original article: https://goo.gl/3hIGbF.)

Ann Coulter chose to post the article to her Twitter and Facebook pages with the following…

“If your food allergy is so serious that you need to inconvenience 250 other people on the flight, you should drive.”

Her post was appalling and disheartening. As a mother of a child with a serious food allergies, I cannot understand how human beings can so easily stop caring about the well-being of others. This family was not inconveniencing anyone at all, if she actually read the article. They wanted to fly to their destination like everyone else on board that plane, with their epi-pens and antihistamines at the ready (if necessary). (And by the way, their destination was an island, so I think driving was out of the question.) So, what, by her definition, is the inconvenience?

Would it be an inconvenience to ask passengers to not eat any peanuts or nut products during the flight? Would it be an inconvenience to ask passengers to consider the life of another human being over their snack choices? This family did not ask for that, as far as the article is concerned, but would it be so unacceptable to ask the passengers of a flight to enjoy some pretzels or chips instead of a pack of peanuts (or other nut products), just for a flight in order to protect the life of a fellow human being?

Even more enraging were some of the comments left. Many were due to lack of understanding of food allergies from people who surely have never had to deal with them. But there were a few that were disgusting, such as a gentleman who claimed that: “you were not supposed to survive natural selection if you are allergic to the world around you.”  For anyone that agrees with such an ignorant thought, you best consider the idea of “natural selection.” Stay away from antibiotics, vaccines, and any other medical treatments and see how well your existence in this world fairs.

What angers me the most about everything I saw after Ann Coulter’s heartless post is that it seems there are too many people in this world who’d rather eat whatever, whenever they want instead of considering the lives around them. They’d rather eat a bag of peanuts on a plane and risk the life of a child, a child like mine who did not choose to be born with an allergy, than partake in another snack for a short portion of time in their lives. What a dismal world we’ve come to live in when grown men and women can so easily ignore the lives of others around them.

To My Daughter on Her 8th Birthday

Eight years ago I waited anxiously for your arrival, nervous and scared of becoming a new mother. The moment I saw you I was enamored by the amount of love one person can have for another. Everything about you was perfect, and still is. Watching you slowly grow into an intelligent, brave, compassionate young lady has been the most amazing part of my life.

Just over two years ago I feared I wouldn’t get to see more of your birthdays. When I was told I had cancer I immediately thought the worst, and you were the first thing that popped into my mind. How could I leave my beautiful little girl? But as I moved through surgeries and treatments to kill the cancer that had invaded my body, you became my strength. And you didn’t even know it. You didn’t know what cancer was, only that I was in pain or didn’t feel well. You didn’t know I was scared, but you knew to snuggle me or give me kisses.

You were my reason for living and fighting to kick cancer to the curb. I thought daily about the possibility of not getting to see you celebrate another birthday. I cried at the notion of not seeing the woman you are bound to become. Every fear I had was rooted in my love for you.

You still don’t know just how sick mommy was two years ago and I pray you never have to see me that way again. I know you can’t quite understand it yet, but someday I will explain it to you. I’ll explain how a virus caused cancer to invade my body. I’ll explain how it was the reason I couldn’t give you the brother or sister you wanted. And most of all, I’ll tell you how you helped make me better without even knowing you did. My reason for fighting was you, and it always will be.

In a few years I’ll read this to you, when I know you can understand it. I’ll tell you how every birthday I help you celebrate is more special to me than I ever considered before. Thank you for being the light at the end of a tunnel I feared would engulf me. Thank you for showing me how much love can push us forward.