Recent horrifying statistics show that one in three women globally will be raped, beaten or severely violated in their lifetime. That’s 1 billion women. And that’s how this new campaign got its name, its impetus and its focus. On February 14, 2013, V-Day’s fifteenth anniversary, activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities and women and men across the world will come together to express their outrage, strike, dance and rise in defiance of the injustices females suffer daily, demanding an enduring end to violence against women…The Nation
At a Dodger Stadium news conference on Tuesday December 11. 2012 , the Los Angeles Dodgers introduced their newly acquired $147 million Baseball pitching star, Zack Greinke to the news media. Majority owner, Magic Johnson was asked whether money was no object with the Dodgers. He responded with four words, “We want to win”.
Everybody wants to be a winner. Winning is everything in the secular world, especially in sports and athletics. It is not enough to compete. One has to win, and win now! Otherwise, you are deemed a loser, and since no one wants to be a loser, the pressure of winning becomes greater.
Unfortunately, not everybody can be a winner. There is only one spot on the podium for the winner, so some of us have to settle for the unpopular also ran position.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. Instead, let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. . . Hebrews 12:1-2
However, unlike the secular world, everyone can be a winner in Christ and in the Christian world. In this sacred world, the race is not awarded to the swift nor the battle to the strong. This race is a marathon, and the winners are those who run with patience and endure to the end. There is no controversy in the Christian race. No doping scandal and no false start. Everyone is on equal footing.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10
There is no so-called superstar in the Christian race, and there is no mention of judges or referees. There is only one Judge–the righteous JUDGE and He cannot be bought. He does not take a bribe. He calls the race as He sees it. It does not matter how popular you are, and how long you have been running. He does not curry-favor.
Here is how a winner in the Christian world sounds at the end of his race:
I have fought the good fight, and I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing”. 2 Timothy 4.
(CNN) — I’m not a helicopter parent and my children would tell you I don’t bake cupcakes for their birthday parties. But I’d readily cut off my breasts for them — and recently, I did.
Removing breast tissue uncompromised by cancer is relatively easy. It took the breast surgeon about two hours to slice through my chest and complete the double mastectomy seven weeks ago.
The time-consuming part was left to the plastic surgeon who created new breasts out of my own belly fat so I could avoid getting implants. Total operating time: 11.5 hours. And I don’t regret a second.
The decision to have surgery without having cancer wasn’t easy, but it seemed logical to me. My mother, aunt and grandmother have all died from breast or ovarian cancer, and I tested positive for the breast cancer gene.
Being BRCA positive means a woman’s chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer is substantially elevated.
“Patients with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations have 50%-85% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer and up to approximately 60% lifetime risk of ovarian cancer,” according to Karen Brown, director of the Cancer Genetic Counseling Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
By comparison, the lifetime risk of breast cancer for the general population is 13% and 1.7% for ovarian cancer.
At my gynecologist’s urging, I tackled the threat of ovarian cancer first. Because the disease is hard to detect and so often fatal, my ovaries were removed in 2007, a few years after my husband and I decided we were done having kids.
The most difficult part of the operation came in the months that followed: I was thrust into menopause at 37. Despite age-inappropriate night sweats and hot flashes, I was relieved to have the surgery behind me and wrote about it in my book, “Parentless Parents: How the Loss of Our Mothers and Fathers Impacts the Way We Raise Our Children.”
The emotional release was short-lived. Less than a year later, my mother’s sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and died within four months.
Aunt Ronnie’s death set me on a preventive mastectomy warpath. I had already been under high-risk surveillance for more than a decade — being examined annually by a leading breast specialist and alternating between mammograms, breast MRIs and sonograms every three months — but suddenly being on watch didn’t seem enough, and I began researching surgical options.
Regardless of my family history and BRCA status, I still went back and forth on having a mastectomy. I vacillated between feeling smug and insane.
Over the years, I’d read too many stories like the one in the Wall Street Journal last week, on doctors who make fatal mistakes (up to 98,000 people die every year in the United States because of medical errors, according to the Institute of Medicine). I was anxious about choosing a bad surgeon and a bad hospital.
The stakes felt even higher after I decided to go an unconventional route to reconstruction. Implants generally offer a quicker surgery and recovery, but they’re also known to leak, shift out of place, and feel hard to the touch and uncomfortable.
I would also likely have to replace them every 10 years — not an unimportant consideration, since I’m 42.
Ultimately, on August 7, I underwent double mastectomy with DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) flap reconstruction. The benefits would be that my new breasts would be permanent, made from my own skin and flesh, and I’d be getting rid of my childbearing belly fat in the process.
I had multiple consultations with surgeons who explained every reason not to have the procedure. They warned me that I’d be under anesthesia unnecessarily long and I’d be opening myself up to needless complications.
While every concern was valid, it wasn’t until I was six doctors into my investigation that I realized the likely reason why I was getting such push-back. The plastic surgeons I was consulting, despite their shining pedigrees and swanky offices, couldn’t perform a DIEP. The procedure requires highly skilled microsurgery and not every plastic surgeon, I learned, is a microsurgeon.
It also requires a great deal of stamina. The doctors I interviewed who perform DIEP flaps were generally younger and fitter than those who didn’t. On average, a double mastectomy with DIEP reconstruction takes 10-12 hours, while reconstruction using implants can take as little as three.
In total, I met with 10 surgeons before choosing my team, and while I am now thrilled with the outcome, all the years of research and worry took a toll on me.
The worst moment came one night when my husband and I were in bed. I began to cry uncontrollably and wished I could talk with my mother and aunt about which procedure to have, which doctor I should choose, and whether I should even have the surgery.
Then a moment of bittersweet grace clarified what I needed to do. It struck me that the reason I couldn’t speak to my mother and aunt is exactly the reason I had to have the surgery.
Undergoing a prophylactic double mastectomy was a great decision for me. It’s clearly not a choice every woman would make, but I’m convinced without it I would have been one of the estimated 226,000 women the American Cancer Society says is diagnosed with invasive breast cancer every year.
I could have tried to eat my way to a cancer-free life, but even Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of the popular vegetables-are-key-to-health book “The China Study” admits diet may not be enough to protect BRCA patients from cancer.
“We need more research,” Campbell told me. “Conservatively, I’d say go ahead and have the surgery, and eat a plant-based diet after.”
I also could have waited for a vaccine, a pill or some other medical advance to come my way that would have made such a radical decision avoidable.
Perhaps MD Anderson Cancer Center’s newly announced war on cancer will produce positive results for patients who are susceptible to triple negative breast cancer, the type of aggressive disease likely to afflict BRCA1 patients and the kind my aunt most likely died from.
But every surgery substitute seemed locked in hope, not statistics. And as I’ve told my husband and children, I wasn’t willing to wait. I love them more than my chest.