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GENETIC COUNSELING

CDC BLOG

Who needs genetic counseling:

  • Those with a personal history or family history suggestive of a hereditary cancer syndrome.
  • Had a previous genetic test 3-5+ years ago, but you may want to consider additional testing.
  • Multiple family members with the same type of or related cancers.
  • Rare cancers
  • Ashkenazi Jewish history.

Benefits of genetic counseling:

  • Genetic screening can help calculate the likelihood of a fetus being born with a certain disorder.
  • Provides peace of mind or information for better understanding and decision-making.
  • Appropriate testing will be given.
  • Decision making will be made based on scientific information.

Heredity risk for uterine cancer is about 5 percent. Surgery is the primary treatment for endometrial (uterine) cancer. 

Genetic testing may be appropriate for ovarian cancer:

  • You’ve had or been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
  • You’ve had at least two types of other cancers.
  • You’re related to someone with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.
  • You have Lynch syndrome. Women with this inherited condition have a 9% to 12% chance of getting ovarian cancer in their lifetime.
  • You have at least one relative who’s had cancer and meets the criteria for this type of genetic testing.
  • You had a negative genetic test more than 3 years ago. Testing technology is always improving.

Two main genetic factors increase the risk of cervical cancer:

Other gynecologic cancers:

Genetic test results aren’t always clear-cut. If your test result is negative, you might not be scanned for the mutation. But you could still have another type of genetic change that hasn’t been linked to ovarian cancer yet. A “variant of uncertain significance” result means the lab found a mutation that may or may not be linked to ovarian cancer.

A negative test doesn’t have to be the end of your genetic testing. As with an uncertain result, check with your doctor or genetic counselor to see if there are other options.

Find a Genetics Specialist

There are various ways to access genetic counseling services, including in person, by phone, and by video conference.

Find a genetic counselorexternal icon using the National Society of Genetic Counselors directory.

I welcome your feedback, questions, and comments. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read this blog.

IF ONLY I….

                       Do you sometimes say to yourself:

If only I had not worked so much…If only I had been a better parent or better child…If only I had tried more things or taken risks…If only I had spent more time with loved ones…If only I had pursued my dreams…If only I had taken better care of myself…If only I had done more to help others…

As we travel through life how many times have we bypassed opportunities, were not in a kind or generous mood, or abused our health? Leave “if only’s” behind and keep moving forward.

Ethos3
  • Do not be afraid to open doors, at least peek inside or perhaps walk through them.
  • Look at each moment as an opportunity to do or say something nice or helpful.
  • Your body is the only one you will have, so cherish and nurture it. What you do today may well determine your health for tomorrow.
  • People come into your life for a reason, whether family or friends. Learn from them, love them, and let them love and teach you.
  • There are always risks to any decision or action, take the risk and learn from it.

The hardest thing and the right thing are often the same. (Isaac Slade)

Move forward with love, and forgiveness, and you will learn and grow. YOU WILL LEAVE “IF ONLY” BEHIND.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I welcome your comments.

TWO BRIGHT LIGHTS

THIS IS A TRIBUTE TO TWO INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE JOURNEYED ONWARD…

ARLEIGH CASTLE WAS MY ROLE MODEL AND LIKE A MOTHER TO ME, WHO I “ADOPTED” AS MY AUNT ARLEIGH. SHE WAS THEATRICAL, FUN, SPIRITUAL, AND ALWAYS THERE TO HELP ANYONE. SHE WAS IN SUMMER STOCK, SOME TELEVISION COMMERCIALS, AND WORKED FOR CAPITOL RECORDS. AUNT ARLEIGH PASSED AWAY PEACEFULLY IN HER MID-90’S.

JIM TONJUM WAS OUR SON-IN-LAW, WHO WAS LIKE A SON TO US. HE JOINED ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AT A YOUNG AGE AND DEVOTED HIS LIFE TO HELPING OTHERS. HE LOVED BOXING AND WAS OFTEN SEEN AT THE GYM HELPING TROUBLED YOUTH FIND THEIR WAYS TO PEACE AND HEALING. JIM DIED UNEXPECTEDLY IN HIS HOME WHILE EXERCISING. HE WAS 58.

HEALING AFTER LOSS BY MARTHA HICKMAN IS A BOOK I HIGHLY RECOMMEND. IT IS A SERIES OF DAILY SHORT DEVOTIONALS.

AS MY TEARS FLOW OUT, LOVE FLOWS IN.

“I SEE,” SAID THE BLIND MAN…

There are a few versions of this phrase:

  • …and picked up his hammer and saw.
  • and waved his wooden leg.
  • to his deaf wife.

The phrase is known as Wellerism, named after Sam Weller in Charles Dickens ’ “ The Pickwick Papers. ” A Wellerism is a sentence or saying written to poke fun at pre-established clichés and proverbs. The mind behind Wellerism is to show that they’re wrong in certain situations, and enough can be made in this paradoxical tone. https://gnurtpro.com/i-see-said-the-blind-man-1646203357

Why am I sharing this phrase? The reason is that since my diagnosis of Adult Macular Degeneration (AMD), six years ago, it has become progressively worse to the point that reading, writing, and such activities are quite challenging. Large fonts (18-24)are now required. I see a retina specialist, take AREDS eye vitamins and wear sunglasses outside and even in the house if the sun is shining brightly through the windows. Otherwise, there is no preventive treatment for the dry form which is what I have.

On the right side of this photo is what my eyes could become if the AMD advances much further. I pray that it does not happen.

Lakeshore Eye Care

I share this only to explain why I have been less active with writing blogs, reading books, and leaving reviews. It has been challenging to read the blogs and emails I receive daily. However, I have learned about adaptive tools on my computer, Kindle, and iPhone to make these activities less challenging.

Just as when I received the diagnosis of cancer and had a 50% chance to live five more years, I chose to live each moment with as much love as I could AND bring awareness to women about gynecological cancers. When my eyes became dramatically worse in a two-month period of time, I chose to continue the same lifestyle of love and awareness. Being bitter and angry does not promote healing or contentment.

I pray that the AMD does not progress any further, but if it does, I pray for the strength to “adjust my sails” like a ship in a storm. It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go. Jim Robin (https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/sails-quotes).

My new phrase and motto are: I see, said Karen, as she picked up her book and read.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. Your comments are always welcome and give me joy.

APRIL: AUTISM MONTH

AUTISM :

  • It affects 1-270 people around the world.
  • A complex brain disorder.
  • Affects social, behavior, and communication.

My book, Learning About Autism: One Mother’s Journey of Discovery and Love, is available on Amazon, Barnes, and Noble, and signed copies are available from the author. This book tells the story of Carol Tucker, who started the first charter school for autism in the state of Florida. She dedicated her life to helping children and adults with autism and other learning disorders.

AN EXCERPT:

Carol began her quest for Justin which continues to this day

She recognized Justin’s autism before his physicians or social workers. She saw that there was more to that young child than other professionals did. Carol was always seeking the newest information about conditions, behaviors, treatments, and therapies for both boys.

Teaching is in her blood. Her aptitude to teach, interact, and help any handicapped child or adult is remarkable. Her assertiveness and self-confidence led to Justin’s admission to the Morning Star Catholic School. She fought for improved classrooms and developed behavior plans and teaching methods.

Carol’s many gifts came together with the planning, development, and survival of the Princeton House Charter School (PHCS). Her leadership skills proved invaluable with the start and continued growth of this school as one of its founders and Director. Being a leader requires integrity, honesty, communication, and empathy. Carol used those attributes when in contact with various government agencies, public and private officials, and those parents with special needs children.

REVIEWS:

  • This book is both a resource and an eyeopener. Challenging, heartwarming, and true.
  • This is a great book that I recommend for those looking for advice and those who want to be inspired and understand.
  • The love and care this book represents are so amazing! Carol and her family have done amazing things for the special needs children they have come across in their lifetime. 

Carol Tucker, had requested that ALL PROCEEDS GO TO GYNECOLOGICAL CANCER RESEARCH. Unfortunately, Ms. Tucker passed away from ovarian cancer in October 2022.

Thank you for your support and interest in autism.

AGE-ING OR SAGE-ING?

WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?

From the time we take our first breath we are in the process of aging. How long we age and what we do during those years determines how content we are with our lives.

SAGING INTERNATIONAL defines sage-ing as “…a way of living the second half of our lives that is joyful, fulfilling, and meaningful…involves personal and spiritual growth, making deeper connections with our friends and family, developing new passions, and giving back through service to others. https://www.sage-ing.org/

My grandmother lived her 92 years as a sage. She never stopped pursuing knowledge about spirituality, history, and cultural customs to better understand the world she lived in. She shared what she learned with small groups at her church and in the community.

I believe it was Mark Twain who said that we are only as old as we think we are if we did not know how old we are. And Satchel Page said, “How old would you be if you did not know how old you are?”

A Chinese doctor I went to for many years always asked, “How young are you?” no how old.

The theologian, A. R Bernard, wrote “Life is God’s gift to us. What we do with it is our gift to God.” http://www.quotes.com

Take a few moments to ponder these quotes about old age:

"Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years."   (Ausonius)

"Old age: the crown of life, our play's last act." (Marcus Tullius Cicero)

"Live your life, and forget your age." (Norman Vincent Peale)

AND, TO END WITH SOME HUMOR:

Thank you for reading this blog. It shows you are a wise person.

The Month of March

  • The third month of the Roman calendar.
  • Beginning of spring in the southern hemisphere.
  • Has 31 days.
  • Has the Full Worm Moon.
  • The daffodil is the month’s flower (new birth, love, and joy)
  • Aquamarine is its birthstone.

What can we learn from this month?

  • Forgiveness releases the soul.
  • We always have the opportunity to change.
  • We can overcome any challenge.
  • Fear can be overcome.
  • There is always hope.
  • Believe in yourself
  • And, know God is with you.

Important dates in March: 2022:

  • March 1: Mardi Gras: final feasting day before start of Lent.
  • March 2: Ash Wednesday. Beginning of Lent
  • March 7: Pure Monday in Greek Orthodox Church beginning of Lent.
  • March 8: International Women’s Day
  • March 13: Ides of March
  • March 17: St.Patrick’s Day
  • March 20: Spring equinox (northern hemisphere)
  • March 29-31: stormy days
  • March 30: Doctor’s Appreciation Day.

“March brings breezes loud and shrill, stirs the dancing daffodil.”

― Sara Coleridge.

Seeds of Life

Each human is different in every imaginable way. Our looks, intellect, size, abilities, and so forth. We have evolved and adapted which we continue to do to this day.

In a way, we are like a plant, that has grown from the union of two “seeds.” A human comes from an even smaller “seed,” the union of the sperm and the egg. (the sperm and egg are not seeds by definition but are used here only metaphorically). We are each a miracle, blessed with our unique bodies, personalities, and abilities. 

The mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds with a radius of 1 millimeter. According to Kundan Pandey, “They activate biochemical processes of the body and encourage healing….the seeds help to keep us healthy and fit.” (Buzzle

There are five references to this seed in the Bible: Matthew 17:20, Luke 17:5-6, Matthew 13:31-32, Mark 4:30-32, and Luke 13:18-19. (https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Mustard-Seed) From such a small seed, comes a large and strong tree from which there are many healthy products.

Just like the mustard seeds we can and do affect the lives of everyone with whom we come in contact.

Adobe Stock
iStock

In my book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, I write about the purpose of the soul…the real me. In my opinion, the soul becomes a part of the joining of the sperm and the egg.

Some important questions for each of us to consider:

  • Do I affect people in positive and loving ways?
  • Am I living each day to its fullest?
  • Do I give back as much as I receive?
  • Do I have a faith that gives me strength and peace; that can move mountains?

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. (Robert Louis Stevenson)

Jagged Feathers – @jansikes3 #NewRelease #RomanticSuspense #WhiteRuneSeries

I am honored and excited to share about author-friend, Jan Sikes’ most recent publication. Here is my review: An amazing story of love, Native American culture, a U.S. war hero, murder, the cartel, and a kidnapping. If those words did not get your attention and spark interest, I do not know what will. Ms. Sikes’ book is well-written and keeps the reader’s interest. This is a book that deserves 5 stars, if not more.

Thank you, Karen, for inviting me to your blog site today to talk about my new book, JAGGED FEATHERS! I appreciate your generosity.

When Vann Noble found Nakina Bird on the street in Cedar Springs, Texas, she was very ill. And she vehemently objected to a hospital or doctor. So, Vann took her to his cabin and nursed her back to health.

She hated being a burden, but felt helpless to do anything but try and get well. So, when she did finally recover, she wanted desperately to do something to repay Vann for his generosity and kindness.

EXCERPT:

(Nakina is talking) How about I cook breakfast this morning?”

“You’ll get no argument from me.” 

“Are you okay, Vann?” She searched his face. “I mean really okay?”

“Okay as I can be for now.” He met her gaze. “We need to focus on our next step toward getting your dilemma resolved.”

“I thought about that a lot last night. We can talk about it later.” She pushed open the door. “Breakfast will be ready in half an hour.”

Vann touched her shoulder. “Hey, thanks.”

Champion trotted alongside her on the way back to the cabin. Something was off with Vann today. She hadn’t missed the way he’d stumbled and grabbed for the chair. Maybe his injury had flared up. Guilt gnawed at her gut. The nights of sleeping on the sofa might’ve taken their toll. She had to find a solution that he’d agree to.

She busied herself mixing flour, eggs, baking powder, and oil together to make pancake batter. As an afterthought, she added a sprinkling of cinnamon. Unable to find a griddle, she settled for a cast-iron skillet and soon had the cakes bubbling.

By the time Vann limped through the door, she had mounds of hotcakes, eggs, and bacon sitting on a platter.

He let out a whistle. “Damn! You made a breakfast fit for a king.”

Nakina chuckled. “It felt good to do something normal for a change.” She set the platter in the middle of the table along with plates and silverware.

***

Do you make pancakes from scratch? I love to make them fresh rather than using a mix. Here’s my recipe.

1 egg slightly beaten

1/4 c oil

3/4 c milk (Almond Milk works great)

1 c Flour (I prefer to use Whole Wheat)

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

That’s it. Easy Peasy. Mix the wet ingredients together first, then add the dry. Don’t mix too much. It’s okay if they’re a little lumpy. Heat the griddle and drop by the spoonful onto the hot griddle. Flip when each pancake bubbles on top.

Have fun!!

BOOK TRAILER LINK: https://youtu.be/CwGRyRVMyLE

BLURB:

Vann Noble did his duty. He served his country and returned a shell of a man, wounded inside and out. With a missing limb and battling PTSD, he seeks healing in an isolated cabin outside a small Texas town with a stray dog that sees beyond his master’s scars. If only the white rune’s magic can bring a happily ever after to a man as broken as Vann.  

On the run from hired killers and struggling to make sense of her unexplained deadly mission, Nakina Bird seeks refuge in Vann’s cabin. She has secrets. Secrets that can get them all killed.

A ticking clock and long odds of living or dying, create jarring risks.

Will these two not only survive, but find an unexpected love along the way? Or, will evil forces win and destroy them both?

UNIVERSAL PURCHASE LINK:

https://linktr.ee/Rijanjks

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

WEBSITE: http://www.jansikes.com

BLOG:   http://www.jansikesblog.com

TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/jansikes3

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks

PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/jks0851/

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

BOOKBUB:   https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jan-sikes

LINKEDIN:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/jansikes/

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

WORLD CANCER DAY

What is cancer? Why does the word cause such fear? Why have a day of recognition for it?

A LITTLE HISTORY:

Cancer was named after the crab because the finger-like spreading projections from a cancer called to mind the shape of a crab. The Latin word for crab is cancer.

Galen (130-200 AD)used the term oncos (Greek for swelling) to describe tumors. Oncos is the root word for oncology.

During World War II, those soldiers exposed to mustard gas developed toxic bone marrow suppression. Chemical nitrogen mustard was found to work against a cancer of the lymph nodes called lymphoma. This laid foundation for several new drugs that could be used against cancers.

The later part of the 20th century also saw the development of targeted therapies like Herceptin.

https://www.news-medical.net/health/Cancer-History.aspx

IS CANCER CURABLE?

Cancer is viewed as an enemy and the fear is that there is no cure. Physicians use the term remission to describe when there is no evidence of disease for 5 years.

In March of this year, I will celebrate my 5th year and be considered to be in remission. I was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008. It has recurred twice. I’ve had chemotherapy and radiation treatments in addition to two surgeries.

As each of us cancer warriors completes our final round of chemotherapy, we ring a bell. The staff stands around applauding our victory.

Let the bells ring around the world today for all the cancer survivors. 16.9 million cancer survivors are alive in the US today out of a population of 332,915,073. Heart disease was the leading cause of death https://www.statista.com/statistics/1254560/leading-causes-of-death-in-the-us-average-number-daily/

Some inspiring words of wisdom :

“Difficult roads can lead to beautiful destinations.”
— Kia Wynn, oral cancer survivor

“There’s always hope beyond what you see.”
— Cora Connor, kidney cancer caregiver

“It’s possible not just to survive, but to thrive and to live a healthy, wonderful life again.”
 Erika Evans, leukemia survivor

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.”
— Leslie Medley-Russell, ovarian cancer survivor

In celebrating World Cancer Day, receive a signed copy of my book Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir for just $5.00. Send me a message with your information to kareningalls1941@gmail.com. (All proceeds go to gynecologic cancer research)

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