Mad as Hell at The New Breast Health Recommendations

One of the most offensive things is being told something that you are sure contradicts common sense.  This is similar to doctors vehemently stating that chocolate does not cause breakouts – while countless women can stand behind the fact that if they eat chocolate they will most certainly have a breakout. 

So basically, the authority figure – the doctor in this case – is making you second guess what you have seen to be true.  They are telling you that what you sense is wrong.  This is an awkward position to be in.

 This is akin to the awkward and unfortunate position that women in this country were put in this week regarding breast and cervical cancer screening

Nov 20 New York Times Article- Screening Debate Reveals Culture Clash in Medicine

“On Monday, the United States Preventive Services Task Force, a federally appointed advisory panel, recommended that most women delay the start of routine mammograms until they are 50, rather than 40, as the group suggested in 2002. It also recommended that women receive the test every two years rather than annually, and that physicians not train women to perform breast self-examination.

The task force, whose recommendations are not binding on insurers or physicians, concluded after surveying the latest research that the risks caused by over-diagnosis, anxiety, false-positive test results and excess biopsies outweighed the benefits of screening for women in their 40s. It found that one cancer death is prevented for every 1,904 women ages 40 to 49 who are screened for 10 years, compared with one death for every 1,339 women from 50 to 74, and one death for every 377 women from 60 to 69.

On Friday, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists plans to announce a similar revision to its screening guidelines for cervical cancer… more 

I understand that the task force surveyed research, and looked at the over diagnosis rates etc, but does a woman’s piece of mind and gut instinct matter anymore?  Are we to now start ignoring our gut instincts about our health, and begin listening to advice that completely undermines the sentiment that we need to be our own advocate??  I think not.

DS Download:  I’m shocked at these reports that came out this week, and though I don’t have statistics and numbers to back up my gut instinct, I feel that these reports have the potential to severely set back the advancements that have been made in women’s health – as a woman that makes me mad as hell. 

How could it possibly be a bad thing for women to continue doing self breast examinations?  So a woman goes to her doctor’s office a couple of times and the lumps/bumps she found in her breast, or under her arm turn out to be nothing – but what if they are something?  Why in the world should that woman be made to second guess herself – of course she should continue to check her own breasts. 

The most upsetting part of these new recomendations is that insurance companies will MOST CERTAINLY use this information to reject claims associated with covering certain procedures that will now be deemed as excessive.  For this very reason it is my assessment that the panel behind these new recommendations is severely reckless – sure their recommendations aren’t binding to insurers or physicians – but in this day and age of seeking cost cutting measures at the expense of saving lives, this report only assists the powers that be in continuing to cut corners.

I think we should all be reminded that following your gut instincts can save your life.  Breast cancer is a matter of life and death, and at the first sign that something might be wrong we should run – not walk – to find a course of action…but, if we’re not vigilant over our breasts, with self exams, and regular tests, who’s to say that we’ll find the first sign?  And how dare we be directed to not at the very least be hyper vigilant about this cancer that has claimed the lives of countless women that we know – mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, and friends. 

For some reason, at this very moment I’m thinking of the survivors of 9/11 that shared the very common story of being told to stay at their desks and be calm – that help was coming, and that things, though scary, were under control.  Though the people conveying that message were most certainly well meaning (I don’t know if I can say the same for this task force), people that ultimately followed the direction to stay at their desks – ignoring the feeling in their gut that something was wrong, and the temptation to run as fast as they could for the exit – lost their lives.

As women, we should continue to follow our gut and be hyper vigilant about breast and cervical health regardless of the callous recommendations of the task force.


Mystique and the Mustached Man

First, I must disclose that when it comes to talking about mustached men I am a bit biased; my first true love was a mustached man.  I made his eyes light up, and he even named his boat after me – that mustached man is my Dad. 

Lately there’s been a lot of scuttle butt about mustaches…there’s everything from the kitsch of the American Mustache Institute to the formidable hullabaloo over Mariah Carey’s game-changing mustached performance in Precious.  It’s clear that from kitsch to mustache as game-changer, the mustache is a force to be reckoned with.  But why is that?  Why does that patch of hair above the lip give a man (and sometimes a woman, in MC’s case) a certain mystique?  

As I watched my father working in the yard last weekend, and thought about all of the other mustached men in my life (grandfathers, uncles, friends) I came upon the thought that maybe it’s because the mustached man is a chosen man – the man can’t choose the mustache.  Try as he (or she) may, it’s obvious when a man can’t pull off a stache.  There are some men that can wear the hell out of a mustache, think Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall, Tom Selek in Three Men and A Baby, and WHO can forget Billy D Williams in Mahogany (fiyah!).  Yes, many may try to grow the stache, but only a few can wear it and make it look amazing.


DS Download:  When I think about the mustached men in my family I think of the independent minded, witty and sometimes disagreeable, free-spirited, garage-loving, no direction following, family loving, yard-work-doing, car-wash loving, loyal, and ultimately tender-hearted men behind those mustaches. 



(first pic, me and my old man (check out the stache!), second pic my maternal grandfather (left) not only does he have a mean stache but he’s also rockin the cowboy hat, and my mom (notice the fabulous farrah that she’s giving!)

One of the things I remember most was the coup that occurred when one of my uncles  shaved his mustache in the early 90’s; the specter of his bare face brought shock and awe to the family.  Ultimately he grew his mustache back and we were a happier family because of it…the mustache as healer. 

The chosen few that are given the power to handsomely rock a stache should wear it like a badge of honor, recognizing the inherent power in it.  Ultimately, to reject one’s mustache is to reject ones natural place in the universe.  The man that can wear a mustache is more handsome and distinguished because of it. 


(dad and mom, young and in love – perhaps the mustache helped seal the deal???)

Am I saying that a bare-faced man can’t have or be all of the things that a mustached man can be – of course not, but if you can maneuver this lifetime while boldly displaying a patch of hair above your lip, then why not be a bad-ass and go for it???

team stache

Here’s to the mustache, and the bold and handsome men behind them!

Is There Proper Etiquette To Follow When Deleting a Facebook Friend?

I pondered this question as I dealt with my own surprise deletion a couple of weeks ago.  The fact that a person that I had considered to be a real life friend banished me from their Facebook page was a gag.  A gag along the lines of learning that your brother can do the single ladies dance routine in pumps and a black one piece and not miss a beat – that kind of gag! 

And no, I don’t have a brother – but if he could do the routine I would gag, and then promptly put my pumps and leotard on and learn the dance, but I digress.

As far as this person deciding to delete me – it is what it is, it’s just the way in which I found out.  Mind you, I had sensed that this person was mad at me, so I contacted them to clear the air (you know I’m a communicator), to try and talk about what was wrong.  I was assured that everything was ok.  So imagine my shock to find out I was persona non grata in the way that I did…let me set the scene…

I was told by a mutual friend to go to my now, X Facebook friend’s page.  I decided to use the search option to quickly find their name – funny, but their name didn’t appear in the drop down.  I thought for sure there had been a glitch OR maybe they’d decided to retire their Facebook page??  There was one last thing I could do to be sure – so I went to our mutual friend’s page, found their name on the friend list – and there, next to their picture I saw the jarring words …mocking me, flicking on and off like a neon sign at a cheap hotel “add as a friend.”  Yep, I had been deleted.

The nerve of this person — to delete me in such a passive aggressive manner, to send such a powerful message in the click of a button…to do the EXACT same thing that I have done to three other people :-). 

I guess this is just a case of the chickens coming home to roost, so it’s ok.  But to be fair, of the three people that I have deleted – for the two that mattered, I did my best to reach out to them in advance and talk it out, so at least I tried.  The third I truly owed nothing to.  For one of those deletions, I had to eat crow, and promptly add the person back…we chuckle about that to this day!  I’ll never forget that call – “yo, did you just delete me from your Facebook page??, and BBM??”, me on the other end “yes I did SIR!.” 

Moving forward, I just think there should be some type of notice that the rejected person receives when they’ve been deleted.  Perhaps a standard email that goes to the rejected person, with boxes for the rejecter to check off explaining the cut, something like:

Your Facebook friendship with <insert name here> has been terminated, please find a reason below:

__ Your updates are annoying and to frequent.

__ Ever since you’ve become my friend I’ve started getting your party invites, I’m never coming to a happy hour in San Jose, ever.

__ I accidentally accepted you, thinking that I knew you because we had friends in common but I have no clue who you are, it’s awkward.

__ We just got out of a relationship so I have no desire to receive your status updates or wince when I see your name on my Facebook IM list.

__  I accepted you out of peer pressure – we flippin work together – but I just found out that I really don’t care for you and I don’t give a hell, I want you off my page…but seriously, no hard feelings, let’s still speak in the hall way

__ You hurt my feelings, and this is the only way to hurt yours.

DS Download:  I’m convinced that there are ONLY two polar opposite emotions that would drive you to delete someone – one is pain, and the other is ambivalence. 

So, is there proper etiquette to follow?  Yes – if you’re considering deleting someone who is your real life friend, make an effort to reach out to them first. 

Facebook is such a great digital microcosm of real life.  We hurt, we get hurt, but thankfully with time, we all move on.