Write Your Own Prescription, Health is Wealth Moment by Guest Blogger, S.L. Efua Joe




Light The Night 2017; No One Fights Alone 

Many times we are all asked to donate to a cause. Especially in these last few months where disaster has seemed to take over. About 5 years ago I was presented with a decision to walk for Light the Night and I haven’t stopped since.

My co worker and friend Jen was diagnosed with cancer. This is someone who turned from merely a co worker to close friend and although I had moved from the city I had always known, our friendship didn’t end with distance. I had never really known too many people with cancer but I knew that being there to support her family was on the top of my agenda.  Even though I was almost 2 hours away, I had to do my part. Seeing Jen change physically was a lot. It kept me humble. Her sons are around the same age as my 2 oldest kids. Thinking of what they had endured made me appreciate life more.  I thought about Eric, Jen’s husband and how hard it was to help but at times feel helpless. Any time I saw Jen she smiled. I know she had dark days but she kept moving. It is with her strength that she has survived and kicked cancer’s ass. Simply donating to Light the Night wasn’t and still isn’t enough. When she formed the Lymphomanics years ago I knew I had to be apart and we as a team have been strong ever since.

Light the Night is more than just an organization that wants to raise money to bring awareness but it’s on a mission to find a cure. Jen had at her diagnosis, family and friends supporting her but what about the many others who do not!  I have personally heard some amazing stories of survivors I wouldn’t have even known existed had I not gotten involved.

So again we organized.  We came together and with various others we lit the night. It was an amazing experience. Seeing people from all walks of life set aside their differences. All of us having either been in support or others who had cancer, were a survivor, or were there in memory of someone who had unfortunately lost their fight.

I was glad to see that a lot had changed from last year. One was that the crowd was much bigger. The second is that the amount of sponsors had increased. Lastly the stage was bigger.  The stage being bigger meant we are raising more money and that means that until we have a cure more families are being supported. Seeing the many lanterns lit was truly breath taking as we walked. 

The walk isn’t something too grueling. I believe we cover about 2 miles. However it’s the stories, the energy, and the sense of leaving for just a moment our own lives and coming together that is overwhelmingly beautiful. From the kids to the adults everyone has a great time. 

This year I want to shout out our team member Holly whose husband, Chadd who is kicking cancer’s ass this year. They welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Ellanora who to date is the youngest and newest member of the Lymphomanics.

Every year they end the walk with fireworks. It’s always a special treat to see. It reminds us that we completed the walk, we worked together and no one fights alone.

So the next time someone comes and asks you for a donation, consider helping. It’s not just about the money but it is about helping one another in this thing called life. Until next year!! Love you Jen and the Lymphomanics!!! 

Mid Week Recap: June 7, 2017

Since the days have been a little crazy and I haven’t blogged in a few days I figured why not today?  So if you read my last recap than you know that I am preparing my house and myself for my hysterectomy.  I figured since I have now had my gall bladder and appendix removed and outside of child-birth would be done with surgeries, but I am not. As I handle the logistics like meal prepping, laundry and cleaning (as if that will ever be done) my mind is all over the place.

Another issue that has come up is that I had to get a mammogram.  I have never done it before until yesterday’s appointment.  Let me dispel all of the horror stories and say that it isn’t life changing in the fact that you hurt so bad you can’t think.  It is uncomfortable. It feels what ladies feel at the first few days of your menstrual when you are sore.  It was painless and didn’t take long.  I was pretty optimistic that things would go well until I got the results 30 or so minutes later and now I have to go back next week and have the procedure redone.  Now before I allowed my mind to take me there with a grandmother and mother who have had their dance with breast cancer, the technician warned me since it was my first time I most likely would be called back.  The reason is simple, there are no images to compare if there really is something wrong.  So next week I will be back.  Until there is a reason to worry I won’t.

One of the things I can’t stress enough is for ladies, please do monthly self breast exams. They are yours-touch them and make sure all is well.  Breast cancer is devastating but what’s more devastating is having a line of defense to feel when something isn’t right but not use it.  Be vigilant about your reproductive health as well.  There aren’t a lot of do overs in the reproductive world.  You need to care about yourself enough to check yourself.

Image result for breast exam gif

So in the next week things are going to get crazy.  My kids will be starting camp and finishing their last week of school.  I will have had the surgery and my husband will be the one that the kids run to the most until I heal.  I am okay with it.  I have talked to many women that have all suggested a few things and one of the top things that all of them have stated was to be good to myself during this process.  It’s a bit nerve-racking when I think and wonder if I will have to do hormone therapy and how that will affect me and my family mostly.  I will be talking to the doctor about that in-depth.

Emotionally one of the things that I have felt was like wait I really can’t have anymore kids.  It went away but it was a bit overwhelming.  It wasn’t something I felt when I got my tubes tied after my 3rd child.  I had no sadness in me until I found out about this hysterectomy.  I can’t explain it but I know that other women have gone through it. It was like I was at a funeral.  You know me and funerals never get along.  So after about 15 minutes of this semi despair feeling I was okay. I got myself together.  I was able to move on.

On a happier and lighter note, my son, my bubs graduates from preschool today. If you know me know nothing else I make all celebrations big.  Now don’t get me twisted I am not inviting the masses or throwing a party.  I do things like decorate his room, and just make him feel overall special.  He has picked where he wants to go out to eat, just a day of showing him how super proud of him we are.  He moved from one school to this amazing school and since he has been super happy.  Seeing how unhappy he was before and now is such a relief.  Listen let me say on a side note when you have good kids and they start getting into trouble, do your research.  Find out what is going on.  I noticed with my son he would tell us things and we would ask things and it wasn’t adding up. However what I should have done months ago was moved him.  I felt it inside of me and didn’t act.  I was more concerned with having all 3 kids in different schools.  It’s a lot trust me but his happiness is worth it.  He is smiling everyday at drop off and pick up. He has friends who parents are more geared to how we raise our kids.  That matters trust me.

My job as a parent is to correct him when he needs it and celebrate him always.  We are going to do that.  He is super ready for kindergarten but I am not sure if kindergarten is ready for him!! This beam of light is going to be something amazing and not just because he is my child, but because he is determined to be great! Super congrats MJ!!

Image result for preschool graduation

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month!

To all of my ladies, mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, friends, ALL of my ladies please pay close attention.  It doesn’t matter if you are sexually active or not. I hear so many women say well I’m not “gettin any” so I don’t need to see by OBGYN. Wait, what?  If you have a uterus this disease can affect your life.

It is estimated that 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016 alone and nearly 64 percent of those women will die from the disease.  Those are staggering numbers to me to suggest that more than half of the women diagnosed will lose their lives.  Ovarian Cancer is a reason to be concerned.  Many women have no idea they have it until often times it’s too late.  How can you change that?  You need to get regular pelvic exams aka your yearly exam.  Do NOT skip this.  Often times women think if they don’t “feel” bad then they are okay.  This is bad business to play Russian Roulette with your life.  Here are some signs of Ovarian Cancer: bloating, pelvic abdominal pain, eating and feeling full quickly, urinary symptoms such as urgency or frequency.  The best way to find out if you or someone you love has the disease is to have a pelvic exam, trans-vaginal ultrasound and have the CA-125 blood work completed.

Many women who experience Ovarian Cancer will tell you that often times finding out early has saved their lives.  Some women have also had to have full or partial hysterectomies.  Ladies our reproductive health is important.  As women we are nurtures but if we don’t take care of ourselves we won’t be here to take care of others.  The Get Real with Teal campaign which is apart of the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation is all about getting women the resources they need to cope with the disease or to aid in women being more proactive in their reproductive health altogether.  If you know of a woman in your life or if you are that woman and you can’t recall the date of your last pap smear, do me a favor and call your OBGYN today to make an appointment and go.  Do NOT put this off until next week, next month, or even next year.

I know first hand what it’s like to have a loved one deal with cancer.  Last year my own mom was touched by it and it emotionally it was a lot. She had to have 2 separate procedures and it seemed as if she was hit back to back and she was.  I’m glad for her being proactive in getting tested.  Had she not I hate to think of what her future would have been.  For my men you have a great responsibility to encourage the women in your life to get tested.  You can help them to be on top of their reproductive health by just being a strong presence.  This disease is major in women’s health.  As cures are still being sought and more and more women are losing their battle, never forget to care about yourself.  You are your own greatest wealth.  I just recently had mine done and because of the history in my family I have made sure to get the blood test as well as the pelvic exam and I am happy to report that all is well.  When my daughters get in their reproductive years I will encourge and take them to do the same.  Ovarian cancer has nothing to do with sex it has to do with making sure you have are healthy.

I will be doing more features of women who have battled ovarian cancer all month long. We need to hear their stories of bravery and I will feature them all month long. So let’s make those calls ladies.

Also all month long you will see more women with teal showing their support.  I have started with my ToiTime Instagram to raise awareness.  I will feature it all month long in various ways to get more women actively talking about their reproductive health.  Please join me by using the following as a sign that you stand united with all of the women who are in this fight against ovarian cancer!

Image result for ovarian cancer gif