My Story with Breast Cancer

Reposted from October 7, 2014.

It’s that time of year again. Young or old, be sure to do routine self-exams of your breasts, make that annual appointment with your doctor, and get your routine mammograms. I was one of the lucky ones who’s breast cancer was caught early via a mammogram. A breast-cancer-wallpapers2routine screening mammogram found something which required a followup diagnostic mammogram. Thereafter I had a double stereotactic biopsy on my right breast.

I had to wait 10 days from the day of the biopsies for the test results. On July 21, 2010 at 10:20 AM, I received the call from my doctor telling me I’d been diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC). In less than 2 weeks, I had blood work, a mammogram on my healthy breast, an MRI on both, a CT Scan, a bone scan, and a lymph node survey. After the bone scan my surgical oncologist wanted me to get a PET scan. He said there were lesions on my bones. Yikes! Thankfully, the PET scan showed no evidence of cancer. Breast cancer can be deadly when it spreads to your bones, brain, lungs, or liver.

After all of that was said and done, I saw a medical oncologist to discuss surgery because I was opting out of it. I didn’t want to live with a mutilated body. Not having surgery meant certain death and I accepted that at the time. In the end, I did opt to have surgery after all.

Bilateral Mastectomy

On August 30, 2010, I had a bilateral mastectomy to remove both breasts and two lymph nodes. As it turned out, no lymph nodes were involved. If there had been involvement, it would have been easier for the cancer to spread to more distant sites in the body via the lymphatic system. My staging was determined to be Stage I. So I was one of the lucky ones.

Chemo, You Ask? The Oncotype DX Test

There’s a test to see if one would benefit from chemotherapy. It’s called the Oncotype DX test. If you are being treated for breast cancer, talk to your doctor about this test. They test the breast tissue from your surgery. Luckily I didn’t need chemo or radiation. All I have needed is this little pill every morning for 10 years, a hormone blocker since my cancer was hormone receptor positive. That means that my cancer needs estrogen in order to grow. But since I was positive for hormone receptors, the hormone blocker would starve any cancer that might be left. Looking back now, I do think it would have given me peace of mind if I had undergone treatment. I worry about a recurrence.

Genetic Testing

If you can, especially if it runs in your family, get a genetic test to see if you have a mutation of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes which raises your risk for cancer. If tested positive, there are ways of being proactive to avoid developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and other cancers.  I had the test and tested negative.

Be Mindful of your Breast Health

If you’ve run across irregular changes in your breasts, be sure to go for the followups that are recommended by your doctor. Even if your doctor has not made any such recommendations, trust me, you want to get checked out 6 months later. In December of 2009 I went through the screening mammogram, diagnostic mammogram, and stereotactic biopsy, in the right breast. There was benign tissue the size of a pea that was removed. Six months later in June, I had a followup mammogram which led to the cancer diagnosis, in my right breast. So I can’t stress enough how important it is to pay attention to your breast health. I’m not saying something like that always leads to cancer. It’s just better to play it safe.

As far as you guys are concerned, although rare, men can develop breast cancer. So if your doctor suggests a mammogram, it would be wise for you to follow his advice.

Be well.

 Note: since August 30, 2016, I’ve been cancer free for 6 years! Yay!


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The Shrinking World

Edited May 9, 2016

Is social media shrinking the world as we know it? Out here in cyberspace, we see well-known names who have a great impact on world issues. There are highly influential people in positions to change the world. It feels like we can just reach out there and touch them. They feel that close. We see their written words, their expressions of feelings and thoughts.

I am not a typical screaming fangirl and don’t idolize anybody. But there are celebrities of varying talents whom I admire for who they are and the inspiring gifts they have. The world is full of these people, of all walks of life, education, and creativity. I have so much respect for those who go out there and make a living on their dreams. These people are special, yes, very special. But are the rest of us any less special? I love people. We are all human, made up of the same stuff. Every single one of us comes into the world the same way. We dream our dreams, live our lives, and we eventually die. It’s up to us to find that part of ourselves that makes us special, too.

Many young people may start out following their dreams only to find themselves helping others achieve their own. People get older and are just happy to have jobs to make ends meet. Is it just an ideal to want to make our dreams come true? Brought up in a middle-class family during the 60s and 70s, I was raised by parents who thought that way. When I was little, I told my mother I wanted to be an actress. It was after seeing the movie, “The Sound of Music”. My sister and I would sing the songs and do our thing on the stairs in our house. But Mom told me it wasn’t realistic. Not realistic? Why? How can one know without even trying?

Something I wrote a while back:

Dreams and wishes are meant to come true,
life doesn’t have to be hard.

Dreams and wishes are not the ideal,
its the new standard for life.

It would be nice if our dreams and wishes were a standard to follow, to have expectations that our dreams are achievable. Correct me if I am wrong, but I really don’t see it in this day and age that a child from a typical middle-class family knows how to make their dreams and wishes come true, or even thinks it might be possible to learn how to make that happen. On the other hand, perhaps those of you who are younger have a different reality today. Entrepreneurship is growing. And let’s not forget indie authors! I hope to join the ranks one day.

The shrinking world, with humanity more connected, becoming more aware of ourselves and how we fit. Where will this all lead? How can our bodies evolve to better fit our needs? Think about it: organic Wi-Fi adapters in our brains, with virtual screens through organic hyper-lenses in our eyes to see each other on SkypeCom. We can bring up The Google with just a mere thought. Organic vs. something ersatz? The way I see it, there’s a place for artificial intelligence when it comes to replacing missing or nonfunctioning parts. But technology needs humans to exist at all. In the event of WWIII, machines and the tools we use to build them would be destroyed, whereas the natural world can evolve and stand on its own without any help from us. Hopefully, we can get past our need for armed forces.

Isn’t it exciting, what we’re learning through science about ourselves? Who knows how we might be able to manipulate human systems in the future, implementing changes that can stand on their own in the event of any devastating acts of God or man. We’re developing changes now. Why not develop faster! Evolution at light speed!

The never-ending possibilities…

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Meg Rosoff: Your Writing Voice

“Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul.” ~Meg Rosoff

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Can you feel the love?

Politics just isn’t my thing, at all. But I’ve got to tell ya, this year’s presidential election is frightening — to say it mildly. Voter fraud? Revolution? Hitler? Russian hacking? Sexual misconduct? Espionage? WWIII? It’s never-ending! It’s scary stuff!

Can you feel the love? No, wait! Stay with me, folks.

There are certain protocols of conduct and behavior that leaders expect of us in the workplace as well as in job interviews. Shouldn’t these protocols apply to our leaders as well? One of the candidates (I really don’t like naming names) ought to learn how to be and to know how to act after all these years. I know one book that might help: “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, by Dale Carnegie. Success! Yes! Let’s talk about success! Let’s all be friends!

Just in Time

Have you heard about the new hashtag in social media, #TellAmericaItsGreat? I love what the Canadians are saying about our country. They are saying such nice things about us. We need that boost of morale, don’t you think? I know I do.


Can you feel the love, now? I can! Thanks, Canada. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Now. Anybody want a hug?

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Poetry: 9/11 Never Forget — Fifteen Years Later

024_FromJersey_ImagebyDboxCurrent Manhattan Skyline
© Silverstein Properties, Inc., All Rights Reserved
Edited and reposted from September 11, 2015.

Fifteen years ago our world changed. Every anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, we remember. People everywhere say, let’s always remember and never forget. I will never forget that day. I remember where I was, what I was doing, and the deep trauma I felt after having watched it all unfold on TV. Never forget? Why not look at things differently instead of focusing on tragedy and loss? Why center on planes and buildings, and on death?

I’d like to share how I coped when my parents died in recent years. There’s always the good stuff left behind that we never lose, things that should never be forgotten. It’s where our hearts are.

Never Forget

Let’s never forget what happened that day
yet dwell not we shall do;
the pain, the void, the emptiness
let’s fill with hope anew.
They were here one day and gone the next
it all just happened so fast;
those we cherished, fond memories we hold
great moments forever that last.
They left their footprints in the sand
we had them for a time;
all is not lost, the gifts we have
of what they left behind.
Let’s never forget what happened that day
yet dwell not we shall do;
we’ll remember before, things as they were
the rest we bid adieu.

©️ Mindy Ogg

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Check out the renewed World Trade Center and see how lower Manhattan has evolved over the years.


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Education: Where Success Begins, Or Not (Revised)

Revised 8 AM.

littlegirlI’ve been listening to elementary school teachers say, that no matter how much time they put into their work as teachers, it isn’t enough. From the very beginning, in Kindergarten, there are many troubled kids out there who aren’t interested in learning. They are damaged* from the very beginning. So these teachers can only focus on those kids who want to learn, or can at least be helped so they can learn. I understand that. Teachers are teachers. They teach. It’s what they do. They are only human and can do only what is humanly possible. There is no fault and no blame here. It’s just fact. We humans need to take care of our own selves first or we’re no good to anybody, including ourselves. We must be there for us first, develop self-love, self-respect, develop an effective support system, and maintain all of that in order to be effective in our dealings with people of any age. In order for us to be any good in any of our pursuits, all of the above must be achieved. One needs to keep it going, and it takes work.

Damaged* Five-Year-Olds; Damaged Parents?

On the other hand, I can’t help but think of those damaged 5-year-olds who are on their own, fending for themselves, and with no real support. It’s not the teachers’ fault. Parents have the responsibility to these kids, they say. But some parents have no business being parents! They aren’t equipped to handle the needs of children. I can only guess that the parents’ needs aren’t being met, either. Like I said before, if one doesn’t take care of themselves first, they are no good to anybody else. So these parents are failing, not only their kids, but themselves. They are probably damaged as well. So how much do we know about the parents? And what are they equipped to do?

Self-love and Self-Respect; Nurturing a Self-Concept

Without love, can a child learn to love themselves? Can they learn to love others without self-love? Can they develop self-respect if they don’t get the nurturing needed to develop their self-concept? If a child can’t listen, couldn’t it be because no one listens to them in those early years? How do we as children learn listening skills, workable listening skills?

I Was A Damaged Child

I’m 50-something, and I never had children of my own. But I can relate to being a child myself. I was one of those damaged children who entered kindergarten, not being able to speak clearly and not being able to listen. I didn’t understand what people were saying. I was a constant daydreamer, developing into a C student in my career as an elementary school student. It gets worse as you develop if things don’t go right from the very start. I just wasn’t a curious kid. I wasn’t interested in learning. I didn’t care about anything. I was emotionally deprived. My parents were emotionally unavailable during the most important years of my life. The teacher’s comments on report cards were ignored.

What Can Come Later for a Damaged Child

Junior high school got worse, and by high school I was in trouble. I was extremely depressed, skipped classes, and was failing most of my classes. Who makes Fs in Gym class, my dad asked at the time. The only thing my parents did right was send me to one of the best psychiatrists in our city. He was good, but he still couldn’t get through to me. I’m probably his only failure. It wasn’t his fault. I trusted no one. I was a tough problem to crack. So I ended up dropping out of high school on my 17th birthday.

Developing Interests

I worked for a while with a career path to restaurant management. I learned to hate it because food is messy and I hate messy. So I got my GED and attended a community college. I took tests to see what job I would be interested in doing. I was interested in nothing! So I just took the required courses.  I did well in English composition and enjoyed playing with words, punctuation, and expressing myself. It was then that I began keeping a journal. I had a really great American History teacher. I took music classes and did well at that. After a year of that, I transferred to a university. Me! I was on top of the world. The rest is history and can be found on LinkedIn.

Curiosity! What a Concept

Many people these days tell me how highly intelligent I am. Really, I’m no different from any other person. They say I’m very knowledgeable and ask where I went to school. Funny! In my youth, I felt like I totally lacked in smarts. Everyone else I knew back then was way above me. But now, I do feel I’ve made some gains in intelligence. I’m incredibly curious now, googling every single question that enters my mind. Each answer leads to more questions which leads to more answers, and to more questions… It’s never ending! It is incredible how intuitive Google Search is. And there are so many reputable sites and articles out there. I’ve learned what sites to trust and what to question. Through what I’ve explored, I’ve developed many interests. There’s writing, science, education, technologies, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, worldly things, … I’d also like to learn chess.

Chess. I’ve learned that chess is a great tool for teachers to help their young students develop critical and creative thinking. They become more disciplined and better thinkers. Check out First Move Chess to learn more about how the game benefits young minds. On this site, it’s targeted to 2nd and 3rd graders. But I’ve also read that many children begin playing chess by the age of 5.

Teachers Teach. How About A Second Person In The Classroom?

I’m 56! It shouldn’t take this long to get to this point! The 5-year-olds of today need attention now! But teachers are teachers, they teach! So what can be done today? I’ve been thinking about this. I’m no person of influence, so I’m in no position to implement change in the world. But I like to think of what world problems need changing and imagine the desired outcome. So, beginning with kindergarteners, what if there was a second person in the classroom? The teacher teaches, and the second person in the classroom nurtures and is a guide. I don’t know. What can you come up with?


If you were one of those kids once and are 50-something now, you look back at your youth and wonder where it went. This doesn’t have to happen to the children of today. This is the 16th year in the 21st century. Space travel before elementary education? Military science before elementary education? Where are our priorities? In my opinion, primary and secondary school teachers are the most valuable resource we have when it comes to the future of the human race.

Something needs to change. There ought to be a second person in the classroom. Who should that person be? And what could they do? Any ideas?

Intrapersonal Intelligence. Do Parents Have This?

In closing, I’d like to tell you about Howard Gardner, Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education. On, he talks about how there are eight different intelligences, one being intrapersonal intelligence. (I bring this up because many parents may not know themselves very well which could impact their effectiveness as parents.) Here’s what he has to say about intrapersonal intelligence:

The seventh kind of intelligence is difficult to assess, but it’s very important. It’s intrapersonal intelligence. It’s understanding yourself. If we go back a way in history and prehistory, knowledge of yourself probably wasn’t that important because people did what their parents or grandparents did whether they were hunters or fisherman or craftspeople. But nowadays especially in developed society, people lead their own lives. We follow our own careers. We often switch careers. We don’t necessarily live at home as we get older. And if you don’t have a good understanding of yourself, you are in big trouble.

To view Howard Gardner’s video and transcript, visit While you’re there, you might want to check out some of his other videos on intelligence. Interesting stuff!


*Are damaged kids the result of child abuse, neglect, emotional deprivation, or all of the above? For the purposes of this article, these potential reasons are implied in this article. (This may not be the case for all “damaged” children. They may very well come from loving environments yet have other issues going on.)
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Quote: Perception or Reality?



We’ve all heard this one before. I believe it depends on what you started out with. When you received the glass, was it full? Then you drank half if it’s half-empty. Also consider that you might have started out with a beverage that came up to the middle of the glass. Is that not half-full?

If you have a glass that is half-empty, then you’ve had plenty to drink! Yet if it is only half-full, then you have less, don’t you? In comparison, then yes. But if you’re used to doing without, then I suppose the glass can be considered half-full. Hmm…

So is it a matter of perception or reality? What do you think?


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Writing Reasons (Updated)

Updated 4:05 PM.

writing1-325I’ve been exploring my thoughts on the priorities of my writings, the reasons why I write, and the purpose they serve. So I’ve been thinking. What will my first published work be?

How about a hit novel that attempts to make me famous and rich? Seriously, I want to write a novel one day but that’s not the reason. Or maybe a book of essays or short stories. There’s also what bloggers have been doing. Many look through their previous work, take the most interesting posts, and compile them into a book. That last idea isn’t for me just yet. I obviously haven’t published much here. So there are many avenues an aspiring author like myself can take.

But when it comes to writing reasons, there is one specific reason we might write. Oh, there are many reasons why we do, but there is one reason I am considering.

I had a conversation with a fellow writer a while back. He’s a novelist. Many writers I know are novelists. When I told him what I was working on, he suggested I save it for later after I’ve made a name for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I do want to write novels, I really do. My imagination knows no bounds.

But this other writing reason. I can’t get it out of my head. So what is it, you ask?

People often have a story of their own to tell that can be healing for them to talk about. Somehow it needs to be heard. We need to be understood. I have such a story. And it is a portentous one. The event occurred when I was 10 years old. It tore my family apart. It broke my mother and I watched her crumble. Can you imagine being at that age, seeing your own mother like that? I felt like an outsider looking in, not realizing how it was affecting me personally. But it did. And it has had this deep, life lasting effect on me personally on so many levels. The only problem with publishing my story now is that it doesn’t just involve me. As of this writing, I still have two remaining siblings from my family of origin. How would it affect them if I went public with this? Perhaps I ought to consider a pen name. Probably. Most definitely. I say with great certainty, yes.

It isn’t that I’ve just now decided to do this. Sixteen years ago I began the work off and on and it’s been emotionally draining. I can’t do this for hours at a time each day, so it’s either this project alone or something else more invigorating. Yes, I do still have other projects I’ve started. I’ll continue that work simply to give me energy and joy when I need breaks from the one I’m doing now. But for this one, it’s taken 16 years to do the research and get the facts straight if that’s even possible after all these years. Even now, I’m not sure I’ve got it right. I’ll just have to leave questions where there are no answers. Now that I think about it, this isn’t a story about facts per se, it’s a story of experience and perception. And that, my friends, is solely my own. It’s my voice and only my voice, no one else’s.

The purpose? It would be healing for me, no doubt. Overcoming gives us strength. But what good are our experiences if we can’t make positive use of them for some constructive purpose? Is there anyone out there who can benefit from my story? I don’t know yet, but I have to try. After the work is done, and the manuscript critiqued, I’ll know the value before it’s even published. If at that point it’s not published… oh heck. The manuscript may lay around for a while and I’ll move on to something else. But there still might be a day. And that day may come. But if I don’t at least try, then this thing that happened, this event… it would have all been for nothing.

Look for the title, “1970”. It may not have my name on it.

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Steve Jobs: Secrets of Life (1994)

1372706586_3245_Steve Jobs

“When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is, and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. But that’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader. Once you discover one simple fact, and that is everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it. You can influence it. You can build your own things that other people can use. And the minute that you understand that you can poke life, if you push in, something will pop out on the other side. You can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing is to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just going to live in it vs. embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it. I think that is very important. And however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better because it’s kind of messed up in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.“ ~Steve Jobs


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