May 17, 2013 § Leave a Comment
In light of National Women’s Health Week (May 12-18th 2013), I was inspired to share my account of a battle for good health and wealth of life.
“You have malignant melanoma”. The oncologist told my father that he would only have months to live. My father struggled through chemotherapy, one of the only options the doctors gave us. At the time, we thought that this was our only hope, our only option. We put all of our faith in what the professionals told us, and did not seek any unconventional aid. My grandmother and I watched as my father withered away in hospice. Soon, it would be just my grandmother and I. James “Rhio” O’Connor was faced with a similar faith. Diagnosed with the fatal cancer malignant mesothelioma (www.survivingmesothelioma.com), he was given a mere year to live. Mesothelioma is most commonly and indisputably caused by exposure to asbestos, in which cancerous cells arise in the mesothelium, the protective lining that covers many internal organs. The most common symptoms of mesothelioma are chest pain and difficulty breathing. Diagnosing mesothelioma is often difficult since symptoms are similar to other conditions. There is currently no FDA approved immunohistochemistry assay, and no universal protocol for screening people who have been exposed to asbestos (often leading to misdiagnosis). Prognosis remains disappointing. Treatments include: surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, heated intraoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy, multimodality therapy, and alternative medicine. However, surgery was not an option for Rhio due to the position of the tumor located near his spine. The damage chemotherapy would do to his body drastically outweighed the improvement in his lifespan.
Rhio survived a bewildering seven and a half years longer than expected by thinking out of the box and not accepting the status quo for treatments. “Take a cruise with your wife, and start hospice care upon your return”. This was the faith that professionals had determined for him. He was only given months, but he CHOSE years. Although it was hard for him to breath, he took one hopeful, deep breath and charged into the battle against his cancer. Through extensive research, spending hours in the library and seeking copious medical advice, he was able to create his one personal therapeutic protocol. There are so many diverse treatments…how can one professional say that one exact treatment will be the right one, or even the only one, for you? Rhio believed that therapies should be personalized, based on the needs and reactions of the individual. His ability to exercise informed consent was revolutionary, and his optimistic spirit should be an inspiration to all who suffer or are affected by “terminal” illnesses. The insurmountable will that Rhio possessed should be a beacon to others to think outside of the box; do not accept the plans that others have in store for you. Rather, educate yourself and mold your own. “Even here, in a place I never imagine I would be, I am determined to survive.” Possess the will to live.
Individuals read of James Rhio O’Connor’s story across the world and are inspired to share their own survivor stories, to make a difference for those they care about, and to encourage others to think outside of the box and take their lives into their own hands. In response to the never-ending question of how he was able to manage his “Mr. Meso” as he called it, he wrote an inspirational book entitled “”They Said Months, I Chose Years: A Mesothelioma Survivor’s Story”. Nearly a hundred medical articles are cited to help Rhio support the concept that nutrition can help manage a chronic disease, and why we should seek outside of the conventional medicinal box. Be a soldier in the war against cancer.
I was recently diagnosed with pre-cancerous cervical cells. Having read Rhio’s rousing account of his battle, I thoroughly researched the various options I had in trampling this before it developed into cervical cancer. I have had two Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedures (LEEP) performed. While I know that my risk of complications with giving birth rises with every procedure, I know that if I do not take action now than I am choosing to let cancer decide my faith. Rhio convinced me to improve my diet, and with every new day I am feeling even fresher…more alive. Had I not been inspired to take control of my own future, I might have succumbed to the notion that I had only one option, or frankly no options. I remain hopeful and knowledgeable about my condition and feel fully capable of going into battle. I am a soldier.
My father would not see me graduate from high school, go to college, be able to walk me down the aisle, or see me commission into the U.S. Air Force. If I would have thought out of the box as Rhio had, would my father be able to see me graduate from the Georgia Institute of Technology? Would he still be alive?
April 19, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Why do women underestimate their beauty? I recently stumbled upon this truly inspiring Dove commercial aimed defining what beauty really is in order to create a worldwide conversation about it and encourage debate.
To be honest, I had never even heard about this campaign but after finding the Dove Real Beauty Sketches, I began to read all about it. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty began in 2004 after a global study found that a mere 2% of women around the world considered themselves beautiful. Since 2004, Dove has implemented new instruments of communications that encourage women to join this discussion and to challenge the stereotypes that society has about beauty.
In the Dove Real Beauty Sketches, six women were asked to describe their appearance to forensic artist Gil Zamora who created composite sketches based off of their descriptions. Before this, the women were asked to spend time with strangers without knowing why they were doing so. After they were sketched the first time, the strangers were asked to describe the woman that had been sketched earlier. The differences in the sketches were truly amazing. They showed that women don’t consider themselves beautiful based off of what people use to tell them or based off of this fake perception of what beauty really is from society in general.
Watching this video gave me the chills. By the end of the commercial I was almost in tears because of the powerful message that it conveyed. It is time that we stop thinking about what is wrong with us and time to start embracing the natural beauty that we were born with.
Watch it, think about it, and remember, YOU ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN YOU THINK.
- Jennifer C.
April 15, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Recently I came across an article called Shocking! Indian Engineers Introduce Electric ‘Anti-Rape’ Underwear. Intrigued I, of course, read the article. It described three engineers who were fed up with sexual violence against women. They wanted to create a way for women to fend against sexual offences.
They created SHE, or the Society Harnessing Equipment. SHE is undergarment that has been wired with pressure sensors and has an electric board that will send a shock of up to 82 volts to offenders. SHE is also equipped with a GPS system that will send an alert to parents and/or the police.
When I first read the article, I thought that the idea was great and that SHE could really help cut down on sexual violence against women. However the more I think about it the more skeptical I get. I want to believe that the underwear would solve all problems, but I couldn’t help but think about a couple of things. For one what if the woman wanted to have sexual relations with a man. Will the underwear be able to tell the difference between an offender and a non-offender? Also will it only activate with direct contact? What if someone is giving the woman wearing SHE a hug, would it still shock them?
I personally think that the idea is great. Nonetheless I feel that I need a little proof that it will work and that it won’t harm innocents.
What do you think? Read the article to find more info on the SHE and decide what you think on the new invention.
- Erika K.
April 12, 2013 § Leave a Comment
In late March 2013, the U.S. Navy’s first female submariners earned their “dolphins.” The oldest of Navy’s warfare pins, Dolphins has been a longstanding tradition to honor officers who have qualified as an officer of the deck and an engineering officer of the watch. This entails having a high peer ranking, admirable leadership qualities, and passing a tough board. It took a rigorous year of training followed by a year at sea with a strategic deterrent patrol, but these amazing women were able to break the glass ceiling. These three women started with the cadre of 17 officers who began the sub force’s integration late last year. Lt. j.g. Jennifer Noonan and Lt. j.g. Amber Cowan, are crew members with the ballistic-missile sub Maine’s blue crew and received their insignia at a ceremony in Bangor, Wash., the Maine’s home port. “It is a monumental mark of the confidence my command and crew has in me,” said Cowan, whose dolphins were pinned on by her husband, Lt. Adam Cowan, a naval flight officer. “And earning that respect and acceptance is a feeling that I will hold with me for my entire life”. This is just the first step of many towards gender equality in our nation’s military.
- Brandi S.
March 26, 2013 § Leave a Comment
It’s been hard not to see the atrocious media coverage of the Stuebenville rape case and all of the victim-blaming, rape culture-perpetuating comments that have been made around the case. However, there have been some really incredible responses that have challenged all of the nastiness and Melissa Harris Perry’s letter to the survivor, Jane Doe, is one of them. If I could sign this letter with her I would.
Update: The embed code isn’t working this morning so head on over and check it out
March 14, 2013 § Leave a Comment
She’s our kind of grrrrl. She can recite Pi to the 100th digit, balance a stack of books, and solve a Rubik’s cube all at the same time. Just sayin, she’s pretty awesome.
March 14, 2013 § Leave a Comment
On March 3, 2013, thousands of women rallied together to march down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C in an effort to advance women’s suffrage in the U.S. It was held the day before President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration to “protest against the present political organization of society, from which women are excluded.” Organized by Alice Paul and led by Inez Millholland, the parade included 26 floats, ten bands, and more than 8000 marchers. During the parade, the marchers were harassed by crowds of men who made it almost impossible to pass through them. As many as 200 were treated for injuries at local hospitals. Despite these setbacks, the marchers were able to finish the parade at the Treasury Building.
Exactly 100 years later, thousands of women from the Delta Sigma Theta sorority came together to commemorate the historic occasion. These women gathered on March 3rd, 2013 to retrace the steps of 22 founding members of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority who participated in the march in 1913. They were considered the only African American women’s group to take part in the parade in 1913. The event was the complete opposite of the 1913 parade because of just how long women have come since not having the right to vote. For one, they were allowed to march freely without having people–especially men–against equal rights for women.
Looking back on it, its amazing just how far women have come in these 100 years. From getting the right to vote, to being allowed in combat, being able to have a voice in congress, and stepping closer and closer to equal pay, women have crossed many boundaries in the past century. With all of these feats, it certainly doesn’t stop here. We still have a long way to go in our fight towards equality and there is nothing stopping us from achieving that.
- Jennifer C.