Jan 31, 2011

Closer to a Cure for Cancer?

I had recently become privy to the fact that the FDA has approved a therapeutic vaccine as part of the treatment plan for prostate cancer. Apparently, it works by using the body's natural disease-fighting mechanism and sort of turns it against the cancer. This is great news and, while still in clinical trials for the most part, some experts are already starting new trials to see if they can get the same successes with other forms of cancer.

I saw on Dr. Oz one day that these trials were spreading out to other states and Ohio is one of them. Couple this with the fact that lung and colon cancers were among those chosen for the new trials. As I mentioned in a previous post, my sister's boyfriend is battling stage 2 colon cancer and one of my friends is undergoing chemo for stage 4 brain and lung cancers. Needless to say, I got the info to them so that they can at least discuss it with their oncologists. I'll double-check to make sure they check into it.

I did get some good news earlier tonight about my friend. I actually made it out of the house (which I've barely done all year!) and visited them to help his wife with her homework (she's in college too). He mentioned that they got the brain cancer when they operated and that the chemo is steadily shrinking the tumors in his lungs. Very good news! They invited me to go with them tomorrow to his next treatment. If I don't wind up going with my dad tomorrow, I'll go with them.

On another note, his wife made another doll (she's my friend that I made those awesome dolls with). This one's over 2 feet tall (the originals were more like 16 inches) and she asked if I was still cool to paint the faces. Am I? Of course! I bought an artist's paint set back around my birthday and still haven't touched them...and I really need to get back to having a hobby, even if I don't have time to design any clothes.

At any rate...I had to pass on the news about the vaccines. I've heard the success rates are good, though I haven't researched that myself yet. And, if we keep making advances in this field, we bring ourselves that much closer to eradicating cancers of various forms. Can you imagine a world without cancer? What a beautiful world that would be!

Jan 28, 2011

Me, A Collegiate Scholar?

In the last few days, I've gotten an email and two letters inviting me to join the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. I'm flattered, no doubt, but I'm actually quite surprised...I didn't think I was doing THAT well, especially considering the Algebra thing last term. I even, jokingly, told my boyfriend that if I qualified as a National Collegiate Scholar, not having a perfect 4.0 GPA or doing volunteer work, etc., than the nation was in bad shape. LOL

I checked out their Facebook page and read the stuff they sent. Apparently, they offer access to a job website, scholarship opportunities, professional networking opportunities and even programs to study abroad (which I obviously can't do, having kids, but it's a nice thought). The pamphlet said that, to qualify to join, a student must be in their 1st or 2nd year, have at least a 3.4 GPA and be in their school's top 20% for their degree program.

Honestly, I had no idea I was doing that well and was starting to question why I hadn't made Dean's List at this school, like I did at a previous one, if I was scoring so high, when I realized that the first contact actually came via my school.

However, the catch is that there's a membership fee required to join and there's a deadline. I'll have to wait till my disbursement comes to be able to accept, which hopefully, will come in time. I'm actually kind of excited about this, albeit, still surprised. I guess studying really does get you somewhere, even if others don't always understand why a student stays so busy doing it.

Which reminds me...I need to read a couple chapters to prep for for next week....

Jan 27, 2011

WOW...I Didn't Know That...

UPDATE: It has come to my attention that Omega 3 can create issues with bipolar medications, though it may be a natural treatment on its own for it...under the advice of a medical professional! If you're on any medications, always be sure to confer with your doctor before taking any supplements, herbs, etc.!!!!

I'm a huge Dr. Oz's no secret. From watching his show, I've become privy to things like Celiac's disease, surprising health risks and helpful diet/exercise tips. I was just watching yesterday's episode (recorded on my DVR) and got schooled on Omega fatty acids.

I knew there was a difference between the 3's and the 6's and that one was better for you than the other but I always kept forgetting which was which. Not anymore! Hands down...Omega 3 is what you want and Omega 6 is what you want to cut down on. The expert for that segment, Dr. Hyman, stated that our hunter-gatherer ancestors got the correct ratio (1:1 or 1:2...Omega 3:Omega 6, respectively) but that in modern times, we're getting more like 1:27! No wonder we're so out of balance (symptoms of deficiency include brittle nails, dry scalp and chronic fatigue).

Salmon was said to be a prime source of Omega 3, but only if it's wild caught because farm raised salmon eat corn and various feeds that load it with Omega 6. I love salmon, so it's good to know that I should go straight to the butcher for the good stuff. I wouldn't mind paying a buck or two extra since I won't need much...sad to say that I'm the only one in the house who enjoys seafood, so it isn't purchased often.

It was suggested to take an Omega 3 supplement (600mg being the recommended dose) and to watch for the type of Omega 3 that is in processed foods. According to Drs. Oz and Hyman, unless it says explictly "DHA" (EPA and ARA are fine too, but DHA is best), it's likely just hype. Again...good to know.

Other great tidbits I picked up was on face cream and vitamin supplements. Did you know that face creams with antioxidants lose their benefits once exposed to the sun? Or that taking a Calcium/Magnesium supplement with any other vitamin or supplement (or drinking calcium-fortified orange juice with them) can keep your body from absorbing them? It's best to take them alone a couple of hours later. Some of you may have been privy already, but it's more or less new to me. I'd heard bits about it but it never sank into memory. I'll remember the antioxidant one when I start manufacturing my organic skincare line...use only at night and use one with sunscreen in it during the day! I'm learning helpful new things for my future business everyday...things I'd only touched on when making my face masks as a teenager all those years ago!

In any case, I'll cut it short. Just thought I'd pass that on, as we're all on the hunt for ways to stay healthy and look younger.

Till next time...Be well!

Jan 22, 2011

Some Things to Consider When Blogging Professionally

OK, I know I've been blogging a lot lately but, true to my nature, I go with my inspiration. This is an optional homework assignment from my first lesson at IMU, but it raises some relevant points that I'd like to address about professional blogging.

A lot of people worry about SEO with their blogs and the use of keywords/phrases to bring about some search engine results, increase page rank, etc. In my opinion, this is a bit counter-productive because it takes the focus away from your audience and the content-relevance that involves them in the "conversation" you've initiated with them...content really is king! The point of a company blog is to engage your target audience with information that they would find useful, working any keywords in naturally. The traffic and even conversions follow from there.

Adding in images or videos is a good way to appeal to readers who are more visually stimulated. It emphasizes the written text and boosts your blog, as long as you don't engage in image overkill (it IS possible!). In a similar tone, adding things like polls, relevant interactive widgets and responding to comments (even addressing negative ones) will work in your favor by offering a communication exchange and highlighting your brand in a positive way.

Lastly, keeping an organized and easily navigable blog will keep potential subscribers from running the other way. Obviously, you want readers to stay, read, engage and refer. It seems a no-brainer to make your blog easy to use, but many overlook this or try too hard by cluttering images, ads and content. It helps to have an objective third-party review your site for you and to use their feedback in a constructive manner. After all, if it improves your blog and retains readers, it was well worth the effort, right?

Before I sign off...I'm aware that I haven't been so good about using some of my own advice on this blog. Being a personal blog, I've neglected some aspects that would improve it. I certainly wouldn't have overlooked these things if it were a client's blog. So, I've decided that I will start working in some changes of my own that you will, hopefully, benefit from. Among these are to consolidate my content; I want to maintain some range of interests (business, green and 'mom' stuff), but I want to do away with pointless posts and fillers. I also want to go through and actually make use of the tags for each post (starting now) and, eventually, add in an HTML header with links to my other sites (as I build them). I may even try to add some more interactive features and will certainly try to check in more often than I've been known to do.

With any luck, this will improve the blog and make it more useful to you and more enjoyable for all of us!

Marketing Certifications

The other day I had set up a LinkedIn account, the first social media profile I've had since canceling my long-time MySpace and Facebook ones. I received an invite from the CTO of the company I am doing email management for, so I figured, "Why not?". I'd been meaning to get one anyway, really, and accepting her invite is a good a reason as any.

Today, I was going through the groups and came across one that has a website, Inbound Marketing, that offers free retraining and certification in Marketing. Sounded good to me, since I'm always looking to learn what I can faster than school will get to it...because, you know, I'm not impatient at all :P Besides, it can only be good for my career to get as much usable knowledge as possible, so I can use it already!

I've got to finish reading my chapters for this coming week's assignments, so I can start the first lesson or two and get back to my French lessons tomorrow. I just wanted to pass that little nugget along...

Hope you're all having a great weekend!

Jan 20, 2011

Newsflash! (a mood lightening post from earlier)

DISCLAIMER: I know I don't post about celebrities, really ever, but...

I was happening along the Net, in between finding articles to base a school assignment on, when I found it...

Kat Von D is engaged to Jesse James!

I know...they came out as a couple during the opening of her gallery (which was on her show this past season) but this came as a surprise to me. Cute as he is, the guy has a history of cheating on his wives (at least I believe I heard he did the same to his first one...I could be wrong there). Sandra Bullock is one of my favorite actresses, is very much a lady and hearing of their divorce upset me both as a fan and a feminist.

I like Kat Von D. She's a dedicated tattoo artist and business woman who is unashamed of showing her big heart. Much respect to the gal! I like her products too...she did a great job with her Sinner and Saint perfumes (I have both). I haven't tried the make up yet, but would like to get a tattoo from her one day.

But I digress. I dig them both. All I'm saying is that I hope he treats his new lady with more respect than he's been known to do in the past. I wish them a happy life together.

Time to Get Cracking!


It seems I've been too easy on my niece. Since she's lived with me, I've provided an allowance (which pays for her phone), my sister and I set her up to go to Homecoming recently and I've gotten by on simple discussions and setting of the 4 big rules of the house, because, you know, I'm such a hardass.

In return, she has slacked off in school (convinced that barely making it on a C- is going to get her successfully through nursing school too), saying "well, I can't be a perfect student...I'm not a nerd like you were" (she already knows I rather like being a nerd). Her mom wasn't/isn't a nerd but still made A's, so I think she may be stereotyping a bit there...all I ask is that she at least strives for B's. She gives attitude without provocation, cusses out her mom and is deliberately mean to my sons because she claims they should be held, at 2 and 7 years old, to the same expectations as she is at 16. Riiiight. There's no developmental differences between any of those ages at all....mmmhmmm. I think she's gotten worse because her mom recently moved back to where she wants to move back to and she's stuck in my custody until she's 19 (graduated) or moves back in with her mom (which is at my discretion and won't happen until my sister cuts the flighty, self-absorbed bit). Don't get me wrong, I love my sister and she's made many great turns lately but she still has farther to go to prove to me she can be responsible again.

I've switched my approach with her and have started a tougher discipline campaign, effective yesterday. Due to this week's antics, she will be without her phone all next month (I can never find it to take it, so it'll just sit with no time on it) and the many hours she normally spends texting in a day will be spent studying harder. That phone is the one thing she takes seriously, so we'll see how she likes having that privilege removed. She wants to play the brat after that and I'll cut off the TV, Internet access and any after-school time with friends too. If she thinks she's bored now, she'll really be bored after acting up again. I've been easy on her during her adjustment to our situation so there's no excuse for her ridiculous "I'm so mistreated" protest campaigns.

I remember being 16 (it's only been 14 years ago) and was actually not living with my parents by then and had first gone to college as a Psych major. I thought I knew it all too, but I knew how to treat others with respect and that makes a big gotta give to get! I'm aware that teens are naturally defiant and try to give some leeway for self-expression but I'm not about to let a previously undisciplined child take over my home. It's simply not going to happen. Her adjustment time is's time for Auntie to get tough. The poor girl has no idea how tough I can get...I can go from permissive to drill instructor without batting an eyelash...but, one way or another, she'll learn the score.

Jan 18, 2011

What A Year This Has Been So Far!

I meant to post for New Year's to "pop the cork" with you guys, but even as things have slowed down a bit (finally, right?), they've also gotten a little crazy (so, what else is new?). Here's a run-down of the good, bad and ugly that 2011 has rung in so far.

The Good:

Things are looking good on the work front. In addition to my current work, I've started on as an email marketing manager for a bio-diesel company, which is exposing me to a form of marketing I've only read about before...awesome! I'm also in the middle of an interview for an online marketing manager for a finance website...again, exposure to something new, at least in practice. I'll know more there by the end of the week. It will cut into some of what's left of my free time, but the timing's flexible, the mentoring's there if/when needed and the experience would be helpful since I'll eventually do the same with my own website.

I've started some chi-enhancing supplements and they're really working! That or I'm manic, maybe both, but they seem to be helping! I found them at may have seen Dr. Mao on the Dr. Oz show (I thought he looked familiar!). I also got a Qi Gong/Tai Chi DVD from Amazon, but I haven't found the time to open it yet. One way or another, I'm getting back into shape this year!

The Bad:

School started and I'm getting a B in Management. I'm down to 89.?%. I know, I boyfriend's laughing too but after the ass-whooping I took in Intermediate Algebra (failing by a mere fraction of a percent!), my GPA could use some babying, LOL

I had an appointment yesterday to see if my endometriosis is causing my mid-section woes...that looks good, but they did find a fibroid (not big enough to warrant a surgery to remove but we're keeping an eye on it). If it isn't one thing, it's something else, isn't it? The good news is that my OBGYN is taking me seriously where the nurse at the local office did not. I asked her to check my gall baldder and she kind of huffed, said "It's GERD, here's some Nexium" and walked off. My doctor (an hour's drive from here) set me up with a family doctor up there and scheduled a gall bladder ultrasound for Friday morning! Maybe they'll even re-do the Crohn's Disease test since the other place still hasn't given me my results (months later).

The Ugly:

OK, it wasn't bad enough that my sister's boyfriend has Stage 2 colon cancer (she moved back up where he lives from here a week or so ago). I had gotten back in touch with a good friend, only to find that her husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain and lung cancer after Thanksgiving! He had brain surgery and is going to start chemo before they operate on his lungs. What adds to it is that he'd been having horrible headaches for years now and was told, after some scans, that they were "cluster headaches, here's some pills". Now, his oncologist (an hour the other way from my doctor) is saying that he had to have had it for some time and wants my friend to get copies of those scans so he can see if there was any negligence on the part of local doctors.

I hate to say it, but healthcare in my area is like that...doctors do the bare minimum and many people have died because of it. There are lawsuits galore and everyone is going elsewhere for their treatments. It doesn't help that the county I live in is number 1 in the state for prescription drug abuse (in some cases, doctors are actually running the "pill mills") and is actually in the top 10 (or something like that) for drugs in the entire country! This tiny little town...really! I really hope that my friends get past their cancers and they and their families can move on from these experiences!