Breast Health

ODE TO MAMMOGRAMS: The Good Ol’ Lean & Squish

I made a routine trip to the doctor today and it reminded me of a not-so-routine-trip a few years ago.

See, I had scheduled a mammogram after finding a lump and was very apprehensive about the appointment. For the record, this is a common thing for me because my boobs are like 2 fun-sized bags of Reese’s Pieces. I’ve been berated for years now by one nurse who claims this odd condition is a result of my coffee addiction. I’m a dedicated junkie though so NO, I won’t be dropping that habit any time soon. Plus, this particular nurse has a wonderful Jamaican accent so I sort of like to hear her bitch at me anyway.

This lump felt different though and a 10-foot-deep pit of dread had settled in my stomach. I walked in for my mammogram that day CONVINCED bad news awaited. In my mind, bagpipes were playing as I disrobed and not the fun, drunk kind you hear on St. Patrick’s Day. My favorite nurse was there and she gave me the usual lecture, but even SHE seemed a bit reserved. The doctor decided he should get a better look with the (deep breath here) sonogram, just to be safe. Continue reading →

13 Reasons Why

SHOULD We Discuss Suicide With Our Kids? (The “13 Reasons Why” Effect)

Everyone keeps telling me that I have to watch 13 Reasons Why. It’s a book about a teen-suicide that was turned into a Netflix series and it’s now taking over the internet. The chatter has come in waves, with people first touting the importance of the series and it’s focus on teen-suicide. That was followed by outrage from those who felt it actually glorified suicide. Now social media is discussing the importance of watching 13 Reasons Why with your kids, so you can answer any questions they have about it.

While I agree that this is all very important, I also wonder if we’re not putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. We don’t open discussions about drugs with our kids by showing them gruesome pictures of overdosed addicts. No, we usually just start by saying “DON’T DO DRUGS.”

Yes, that’s an oversimplification but I think opening a discussion about suicide should start with the feelings that could lead to it, like depression and anxiety. I say this not only as a parent, but as a grown-up kid who suffered from both. Continue reading →


MENOPAUSE: Is THIS Why I’ve Gone Batsh*t Crazy?

My daughter had a Puberty Class at school last week and as you can imagine, she was horrified. They discussed how men and women WHO LOVE EACH OTHER make babies, what to expect from menstruation, and learned all about the dreaded hormones that will turn sweet, young women into surly monsters.

At least, I think that’s what they talked about.

Emma was so grossed out by the whole thing that she didn’t even want to discuss it. It’s not like we haven’t gone over that nasty business before. I have openly talked about these matters with her for years, hoping to keep that particular line of communication open. I want Emma and her sister to know that they have a safe place to voice their concerns through the crazy, hormonal years ahead.

Parents today make sure their kids are mentally prepared for puberty but do nothing to prepare THEMSELVES for the changes they’ll be going through. After all, we go through tumultuous hormone-shifts of our own, but no one tells US how to handle them. There is no class with uncomfortable film-strips to explain hot-flashes or anxiety attacks. No teacher sits us down to analyze the rapid weight gain, depression, and hair loss that awaits us or when to expect it.

Nope, we fumble through it all on our own, wondering why we feel so NUTS and if that nightly glass of wine could be classified as “self-medication.” We don’t even talk about it with each other because…well, I don’t really know why. Maybe we’re afraid of seeming weak or pathetic. Or maybe it doesn’t even occur to us that our bodies and brains are changing due to natural shifts in our hormones. Instead, we just feel crazy and keep it to ourselves, which makes us even more depressed.

Maybe we don’t even think our hormones ARE responsible, because only old ladies go through menopause, right?

That all depends on your definition of OLD. Peri menopause usually starts when women are in their 40’s and can last several years. That’s right, YEARS so why hasn’t Judy Blume written a book for us? Where is the My Body, My Self for the over-40 crowd and why haven’t we gotten even one awkward classroom chat about THE CHANGE?

It’s time to fix that. I’m going to schedule our first meeting, but since the word MENOPAUSE makes us feel old, I’ll call it our 2nd Puberty Class. We’ll meet at a bar instead of a school and diagrams won’t be provided so we’ll have to draw our own dirty pictures of the female anatomy. Also, instead of a film-strip, I suggest drunken karaoke followed up by interpretive dance in the parking lot while we wait for our Uber rides. It might not mentally prepare us for anything, but it’s far better than feeling batshit crazy all alone.


BLOG: Happy Mother’s Day! Here’s Your Annual Anxiety Attack

I ask for the same thing every year for Mother’s Day:

Shopping money & time to go out & spend it.

This was a special treat back when my kids were small and had to be held, entertained and wiped frequently. A little time alone to shop was like a spa treatment. Actually, EVEN BETTER if I found something on sale that fit nicely. I remember one particular late night trip to Super Target that felt like HEAVEN. The store was cool and well lit, so I got a Starbucks and even tried on clothes. It was so far beyond my usual scope of experience at that point, it almost felt illicit. Continue reading →