Friday, October 24, 2014

Very Aware of Breast Cancer, Not Keen on Pink

...Because I have breast cancer.   I've become a poster girl for the early detection of breast cancer, as a matter of fact. Take that stuff seriously, ladies!  I found my own lump by self-examination, which I've been doing for years.  Even then, I was skeptical, and waited before I saw my doctor.  I had a clean mammogram in May, I thought.  I'm Stage 2 right now, in October, five months later. That's how fast my cancer grew!  It's scary to think where I would be if I waited until next May to find out, but fortunately, I don't need to go there.  I'm diagnosed and taking care of it.  As you read this, I'm probably in an operating room, having my tumor and a few extra lymph nodes removed.  Chemo and radiation are also in my future. 

It's easy to ignore all the hoopla about breast cancer.  Everywhere you look, everything is pink, and people are hollering at you about it.  Almost every commercial that you see is about it.  The White House is lit up in pink, and many other major landmarks, except perhaps Mount Rushmore, go pink for the month.  And the men have to get involved, too, because cancer doesn't discriminate.  Soccer teams wear pink shoes on the field. The NFL has their teams dress all in pink(okay, I'm making that up). I'm not a big fan of pink, because it's a girly color, and I'm not all that girly.  I'm pretty anti-girly, actually, and prefer purple.  But even people who like pink are begging for mercy by the middle of October.  By the end of the month, you become so saturated with hearing about breast cancer that you start to tune it out. 

And that would be a mistake. 

Any woman, any time, can get breast cancer.

No matter how one feels about the color pink, the message it conveys needs to sink in.  Schedule a mammogram today.  Even if you're not old enough to need a mammogram, self-examinations can save your life. Every woman should be an expert on her own body, and doing self-exams are part of that.

I know that some women are skittish about feeling around their boobs, but get over it.  As they say, embrace the Ta-Tas!  It's not about titillation; it's about your health.   Go to the American Cancer Society's website and learn about early detection of breast cancer. There's a link on there about self-examinations and how to do them, complete with pictures. 

A little minor embarrassment each month can be a life saver. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Different Ways of Parenting

My parents are a model for good parenting, I would say. My brother and I were fed, clothed, educated, and kept relatively healthy. We were given rules to follow and expectations to meet. Since I made it to adulthood without resorting to a life of crime, my parents can place me in the 'win' column.

Now I am a parent myself, and you would think that I would borrow the very parenting strategies that brought me into adulthood. But the Times, they have changed. And I am not my parents. I do things my own way, and it seems to be working so far.

1. I am just fine with cosleeping.  My parents did not allow us in their room. It was off limits,  my parents' sanctuary. I always wondered what the heck they did in there, but the rule never changed. Everyone slept in their own beds, and that was that.  Nowadays, I am okay with my son climbing into bed with us to sleep.  Most times I don't even wake up. I know that eventually he will sleep the night through in his own bed, but he is still young enough that he wants to be with his parents, even in his dreams.  In six years, he'll be a surly teenager, and will avoid us like the plague. 

2. I can stand a little dirt. My mom is a little obsessive compulsive about cleaning. She once made one of my friends move her car because she did not want oil stains on her nice clean driveway!  I don't mind a little dirt here and there. I understand that boys are messy, and I don't feel compelled to spend my days chasing after Zane with a broom. Unless I step on a Lego with bare feet; then all bets are off.

3. I am more aware. My parents let us play outside for hours, unsupervised. We were dropped off at practices. We walked to places by ourselves. Shenanigans occurred, and my parents had not a clue.. I know exactly what my kid is doing, at least for now. All those adventurous but probably not kosher things I did as a kid? My boy will need to be twice as devious to get away with those around me. Deviousness is a fairly decent life skill to have, right?

4. I pick my battles. It was always my dad's way, no matter what. There was no discussion, negotiation, or bargaining. It was said once, and if it was not complied with immediately, there were consequences.  That's what you get when your dad is in the military and used to giving orders.  I am more relaxed. I'm okay with discussions and some negotiations. I've let Zane talk me into changing a rule or two, if his arguments were reasonable.  His clue that the bargaining has concluded is a 1, 2, 3 count. Zane hops right to it before I say the number 2. I have no idea what I would do if I got to the number 3. We've never gotten there.

5. I am way more sarcastic. My parents are very serious people. Very Germanic, very stoic, very deadpan. I can count on my left hand the number of times I heard my mom laugh, and she was never, ever sarcastic. My dad liked to tell horrible jokes and ask you to pull his finger, but was never sarcastic.  In contrast, I get pretty snarky, and I expect my son to keep up. When he doesn't understand what I am saying, or my tone confuses him, I will explain, but most of the time the boy is right there with me. He's learning the subtle nuances of language usage that he will need as an adult, and I will probably regret this when my son is a surly teenager.

How about you? How are you different as a parent from your mom and dad?

Go check out all the other writers in Mamakat's World Famous Writer's Workshop!  You can also sign up for her email, and writing inspiration will be mailed to you directly.  I used this prompt: 5.) List 5 ways you are different as a parent than your parents were.

Microstories: Over

Our love was always precarious; dancing with elephants, you once laughed. Their ponderous footsteps shattered the very foundations of who we were, and...

Somewhere in the dust and falling plaster, the pachyderms fled, leaving you and me in this empty, demolished room.