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 whose 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, 2017, I’ve been cancer free for 7 years! Yay!
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My Hurting Heart

I’ve been trying so hard to see the world in a different light. Am I being real with myself? Is it even possible to “think different” in these times? I know there are organizations here in this country who are doing some real good in the world, but I don’t hear it in the news. Or is it that I am not listening? Can it be that I am looking for what I want to hear, which is what?

I am concerned with the direction the world is dangerously taking, something I can’t ignore. Deep inside my heart I fear how my own homeland might destroy itself and take the whole world with it. How could one man, one presidential candidate who now occupies that office, resurrect what many of us believed to be in the past? Can he really delete the accomplishments of one black president? Will we let him erase what one black first lady achieved? Why should our mistakes overshadow the good my fellow countrymen and women have done in science and philanthropy, and among other areas of life?

Our mistakes? There are things in our American history that the white man has done. And I suppose the white woman is partially to blame as she passively looked on while the wicked deeds were being carried out. Is that a fair statement about the women of those times? Back then they didn’t have the rights or the power that the men had. And they weren’t the ones who instigated what the white man did. So I suppose not.

In the beginning, the white man came to the “new world” to claim it as his own. But the indigenous people were already here. They were living their lives while the white man called them savages. Or were the savages really the white men themselves? Correct me if anything I say here is inaccurate. I am afraid my understanding of history has dimmed a bit. Yeah, I could google it, but right now my heart is hurting and I just don’t have the energy to do so. So if I am mistaken in any way, feel free to call me out on it. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear that my understanding of what I think the white man has done is totally wrong?

Years later, the white man went to Africa and kidnapped a huge number of its people. They lost everything. Blacks had no rights where they were going. Many died on the way to the land they would have been forced to till. Those who survived the voyage to America suffered their way to freedom. But it took many, many years for that to happen. Even after they were freed, it took many more years to get to where they are today. Yet as of this writing, the blacks continue to fight for their rights and respect. But they are no longer alone. Many of us care about their welfare. And I mean many. It’s the majority of our population I do believe.

How do we as a people overcome what is happening now? The liberals vs the conservatives? What ever happened to common sense? Can’t people respect the personal boundaries of others? Why not come together for the common good? In my opinion, the white men of any kind of power here in our country ought to acknowledge the wrong that has been done to these races and get over themselves.

I’m sorry. That was a statement made in anger. This isn’t about all white men. The majority of you guys I do believe are terrific. So if you are one of the white guys who are contributing to the good of the country and to the human race, that is just great. This is not about you at all. It’s about those white supremacist men of today who ought to bear the responsibility of the white men of long ago. The young can change. The old need to set things right.

The world in a different light? I’m still working on that. Care to join me?

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“Think Different” ~Apple

We all have our own curiosities and thoughts about things which works for us. In the early years when I was in school, we never talked about this stuff. I got the idea that it was a personal thing. But I do appreciate and respect those who think the way they do. As that old Apple advertisement once said, “Think Different”.

We all have our own point of view. With so many unanswered questions and a deep need to know, exploring my thoughts moves me spiritually. People can learn from others’ differences if they give it a chance. It’s fascinating! Through this sharing, how we perceive the world might become enhanced and we can change for the better. People change and that’s okay.

So, what is  it is that we never talked about in school?

Religion.

I recently learned there are laws against talking about such things in public schools here in the United States. And then there are political ideologies that are just as controversial.

We can’t all think alike. Can’t we get passed our differences? This is the 21st century! “Think Different”. Yes. And it’s okay. We all dare to think different. Why don’t we embrace that? If we open ourselves to others’ thinking, can we not learn a thing or two? Or we can limit our religious discussions with like-minded folks. It’s up to us.

As a child, I had a Mormon friend who used to teach me about religion. My mother would say that was wrong. Then I’d go back and talk to my friend. And once again my mother would correct her. There are many philosophies and ideologies. To say someone is wrong is closing a door to another’s way of thinking. Can’t we be trusted to think for ourselves and make up our own minds?

What do you think? Should religion be considered a personal thing? Should our government be talking about God and prayer? Should the Republicans and Democrats be “segregated”? Hell, why not get them separate restrooms! I’m sure each party thinks their shit don’t stink.

Oops, I said some bad words. Sorry. But hey, let’s get to something important. As Steve Jobs would say, “One more thing.” I’d like to share something I wrote a while back about proposed ideals that can be used as a framework for any political ideology. It’s entitled, “Ideal Politics”. It might also be useful for religious thought, philosophy, or even personal relationships, don’t you think?

Tell me what you think. Let’s talk!

 

Ideal-Politics

 

 

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Free Speech Responsibly

Ever since November 8th of 2016, I have literally been in mourning over the loss of my country. It’s been rather traumatic. Hasn’t it been for many of you as well? For me, it’s not a liberal vs conservative thing. I just smell danger, and that scent is stronger than ever now. I’m at the point where I really need to speak out about what has been on my mind.

Free speech is a wonderful thing! But many here in these United States of America have lost the ability to speak, lead, and behave responsibly. Do unto others as they do unto us? Or, do unto others as they might do unto us? Political Opposition Research? Really?? If I went to a job interview and provided opposition research about the other candidates they were interviewing, do you think I would get the job? Of course not! Regardless, shouldn’t politicians be chosen on merit? Shouldn’t anybody? How do they feel about themselves after digging up the dirt? I would feel like total crap!

Don’t we all have the responsibility to lead by example, not just for our own self-respect but for future generations? Isn’t it important to respect the personal boundaries of others and treat people with honor and dignity? How do we want our children to behave and treat others? What kind of people do we want to be? How do we see ourselves as a people in 10 years? in a hundred?

Let’s talk about Hollywood. I am really sorry to say anything against those I have great respect for, but it’s been on my mind for a long time. First, I want to say there are many, many talented folks in Hollywood I love and admire. Before the year 2000, I wasn’t in the habit of watching violent entertainment. After surgery in December of 2000, I rented a bunch of videos from Blockbuster while my body healed. I watched “The Patriot” with Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger. It was traumatizing*! I couldn’t watch the Gladiator because of the violence. The first time I watched an episode of Law and Order SVU, I was left feeling quite disturbed with what I had just seen*.

But it gets easier. I promise!

Later on I discovered Criminal Minds. Loved the cast! Great actors. Mandy Patinkin is just great. Loved Shemar Moore and Thomas Gibson as well as all the others. Great people! It was appealing to watch the developing relationships between them. I just love them. However, …

Excuse me but I need a moment………

However, I found Criminal Minds to be profoundly disturbing. I would have constant frightening nightmares for months and months, but I ignored those nightmares*. I just kept watching because these characters clicked and I was hooked. After a while I became desensitized by the violence Hollywood was producing in their entertainment.

Okay so now I am desensitized by violence in Hollywood. What kind of person does that make me now? I’m certainly of no danger to anyone or to myself. It’s just that there are those people out there who can be or have been influenced by such entertainment to the point of taking dangerous action.

I hate to call it entertainment, but that’s Hollywood. Why give us what you think we want? Folks, you all need to hire a bunch of sociologists. Seriously. Be responsible! There’s more to life than millionaire-producing blockbusters.

Why am I picking on Hollywood? I saw an article in The Washington Post yesterday about how the first Hollywood blockbuster revived the KKK.

“Decades before Charlottesville, the Ku Klux Klan was dead. The first Hollywood blockbuster revived it.”

The article says it all. We can be better than this!

 

*It’s only fair to disclose that I have the diagnosis of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
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Just My Opinion: The People will Win!

Hello, World!

To all who reside outside of our country, the United States of America, our current federal government does NOT accurately represent the majority of The People. We are all good people. We’re made up of the same really great stuff you and your children are made of! Don’t think for a minute we are lacking in honor and integrity, as individuals or as a people.

I’m sure it will all work itself out here in the US. The sooner the better, wouldn’t you agree? We, The People, might not always agree with one another. But such is the nature of human relations, as well as that in a family we each might belong to or come from. We just need some time to sort things out. Don’t give up on us! But I have to say, for the first time in a long time, I actually have faith that it will all get worked out.

All I ask, from those folks out there beyond our borders, is to keep us in your minds and in your heart, as well as in your prayers if that is something you do. That would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Many people in my country say we are the greatest country in the world. Don’t all countries feel the same way about theirs? The truth is, and I firmly believe this, is that all the people of the world are also equally as great. Let’s face it! We have more in common than what sets us apart.

Here’s a mantra we can all use right now: Every Global Citizen is Equally Great.

That’s it! One little mantra and we’re on our way to world peace. Thanks so much for listening once again.

mindyoggsig2-sm

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today brings great meaning to me, to hear the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. I celebrate his birth and his life today, as I’m sure you do, too. Imagine what more he could have mlk-dreamaccomplished had his life not been cut too short. But let’s not dwell on such things, because we are blessed to have had him for as long as we did. And he accomplished greatly to say the least.

Dr. King says the only way to rid ourselves of hate is through love. And it takes light to rid ourselves of  the darkness. Let us find love and light, and rid ourselves of the hate in the darkness. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today is a great day with great timing. Not only am I proud of those folks of all races I know personally, as well as those whom I admire from afar, I am proud of the black people I know directly and indirectly. If this past election is truly the last one, my president forevermore will always be President Obama for as long as I shall live. There is a great deal of light and love in his heart. He leads by example and honor, and with a calm to be admired. He often copes with a warm and friendly smile, and possibly a chuckle, when he knows that oftentimes the only way to relieve the discomfort and stress of difficult times, it takes just that. Need I say more?

You may not be with us today in body, Dr. King, but you live on in our hearts. I recognize a good heart when I see one. You have one to cherish that will live on. Humanity has you forever! I have you until the day I die. But who knows! One day I may have the honor to meet you. I hope to see you on the other side! With that, I shall say that this day is worth celebrating.

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Love and light,

Mindy Ogg

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Changes to Come

There are at least two ideas I am pursuing. One is Worldly Thinkers with the hashtag #WorldThink, and the other is Dignify Choice with the hashtag #DignifyChoice. It’s all about worldly issues, the good and the not so good. This blog is about The World in a Different Light. Ideas here you might approve of, while others might be considered unconventional. But, such is life in this world of uncertainty.

#WorldThink is about cumulative thoughts of worldly thinkers who report on what is happening in the world that is actually good. The idea isn’t to make the world into what it is not. It’s a scary place! It’s especially unsettling here in the United States as a result of the recent elections. But there has to be good out there that we can report on. Today’s media does not provide such balanced focus. So I’d like to hear what people have to say, and I can publish it on my blog. I’ve also been thinking about talking to people here in my city and publishing their stories. Also, with #WorldThink we might be able to come up with positive outcomes to difficult problems. Or we could look at things a little differently, so that just maybe some good can come out of bad situations.

The other is Dignify Choice. This idea is rather controversial, so you might not like what you hear. But your thoughts and feedback on this are so important! Please leave comments on related posts. Please? I may or may not continue with Dignify Choice, so I will need your help. There is so much suffering in this world, and the human population is over 7.4 billion and counting. People are living longer because of advances in medical science. And, as we all know, it can get expensive. We euthanize our pets when they suffer. So which is it, we show value in a life by eliminating the suffering or by extending a person’s suffering so that they can live longer? We all die eventually. Dignify Choice is more about the quality of life, not the quantity of years. The idea is that an individual be given the right to decide when the end of their life is, and thus has a legally dignified choice as to how they choose to proceed. This choice isn’t to be made by anyone but the individual! But the idea might be, for example, to have a lawyer draw up a legal document like one would have a will written up. It could be more formal and more legal than a DNR or a Directive to Physicians, and maybe could be planned out by a certain age and updated every year or every 5 years, or whatever.

So, look for these changes as they are implemented on the site (like under “About” on the menu bar) and in future posts.

Sound a little idealistic? Perhaps so. I just worry about where humanity is taking this planet. Money and power are in the hands of the few. (I have more to say but I will bite my tongue.)

Thanks for listening.

Mindy

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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.

#TellCanadaThanks

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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