Come on November....

I am so glad Halloween is over with. I have to say this was one of my worst ones ever and it had nothing to do with the crazy snowstorm this past weekend. Well I guess it does in someways since if we didn't get the snowstorm Steve would have been home to help during my minor crisis. Since he was working, I had to call two neighbors to come over and help. Our little kitten escaped while I questioned teenagers on what they were dressed as besides just teenagers. Their response was "Strangers". It amazes me how many people come from the neighboring city (which is neighboring on the other side of our town so not really close) to trick-or-treat here. Of the 100+ pieces of candy I gave out today I literally recognized four or five families from our neighborhood. And if you are going to come to another neighborhood to trick-or-treat at least wear a costume!

Happy Halloween!

I will admit I really do not like Halloween. As a Christian it feels strange to celebrate it. Yet I see how fun it is for the children, so I celebrate it. I do love seeing the kids dressed up. Though I do have to admit since getting married and living in a neighborhood where the kids gets bussed in to trick-or-treat it has lost some of its appeal. (Literally we see people we have never seen before with cars following them through the neighborhood and go through at least 6-7 bags of candy before we turn off our light. Last year we gave out the candy Hazel had gotten because we ran out.) I find it even stranger that so many people put so much time and money into Halloween decorations. Hazel is still just beginning to get the idea of Halloween. She still does not like wearing her costume much, but at least this year we got her in it.
My Little Spoon
Craft at Party
Saturday we went to Hazel's school for their Halloween Party. It was a fundraiser for the eighth grade class trip. For a $5 entrance fee we got drinks and a snack and to play some games for prizes as well as do a craft and hear a story. Hazel refused to wear her costume when we got there. When we finally got it on her and got a picture of the two of us in our costumes and the party ended. However we had seen just about everything without the costume, and she had a great time.
Craft at Party
The craft was very easy and very cute. They had orange jack-o'-lanterns pre-cut out of paper so they would fold in half with a front and back. Using a glue stick they had the kids spread glue on the orange paper and then glue a piece of tissue paper (pre-cut in circles the a bit smaller than the pumpkin) on. They were given the choice of colors for tissue paper and could use two colors (one on each side). Hazel chose orange and yellow tissue paper.

Sunday we went to church. We skipped the Boo Breakfast due to the snow and a bad night of sleeping, but made it to church. Then we came home and had lunch and tried to get Hazel to nap, but she refused. Then we took her to some friends' houses and my mother-in-law's for trick-or-treating. She wore her costume somewhat to the first two houses, but refused to put it back on after that.
Then we came home and carved Hazel's first jack-o'-lantern. She helped me scoop out the seeds and goop. Then she used the scoop as a pretend knife and pretended to carve it. She looked so serious while she did this--I couldn't resist taking pictures.
Add caption
Today we have a busy day. Hazel is going to my mother-in-law's for their Monday playdate. Then I'm picking her up to take her to the special Halloween story time at the library (where costumes are expected since it ends with trick-or-treating at the various desks). Then after lunch and a nap I will take her to a few of our neighbors' houses. Since Steve got stuck working nights because of the storm again, I will than have to be home to give out the candy. Not sure how it will work to get her down with all of that going on, but we shall see.
The dish and the spoon!

What are your plans for Halloween? Hope you have a happy and safe one!! Remember to have your kids leave their candy for the Pumpkin Fairy!

Going Pink

I decided to join the other bloggers to Go Pink today. Personally, I have a good friend who survived breast cancer, but lost all of her sisters and her mother to it, and my best friend since I was 6-months-old's mother is a recent survivor. So I'm dedicating this post to each of them.

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for this post or what I would have time to do. I finished Hazel's and my Halloween costumes just in time to go to the Halloween party at her school today. So I visited Susan G. Komen for the Cure, American Cancer Society and more to get some facts, statistics, etc. I source each thing I have borrowed from the sites to pass the information on to you. Each of the sites I checked out were full of information so if you want more details, please visit them!

Well after gathering all this information to share with you, I sat down to relax and began to needle felt an angel for the angel swap I'm participating in. Instead of an angel for the swap, however, I made a breast cancer guardian angel.

Facts and Statistics
In 2011, it is estimated that among U.S. women [31]:
  • There will be 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer (includes new cases of primary breast cancer among survivors, but not recurrence of original breast cancer among survivors).
  • There will be 39,520 breast cancer deaths.  

Age and breast cancer

All women are at risk for breast cancer. The two most important risk factors for breast cancer are:
  • Being female
  • Getting older
The risk of getting breast cancer increases as you age. Most breast cancers and breast cancer deaths occur in women aged 50 and older. Until more is known about preventing breast cancer, early detection and effective treatment offer the best defense against breast cancer mortality.
No matter your age, you should become familiar with how your breasts look and feel. If you notice any changes, see your health care provider right away. Learn about the warnings signs of breast cancer.

Breast cancer in men is rare, but it does happen. In 2011, it is estimated that among U.S. men [31]:
  •  There will be 2,140 new cases of breast cancer.  
  •  There will be 450 breast cancer deaths. 
Rates of breast cancer incidence (new cases, including new cases of primary breast cancer among survivors, but not recurrence of original breast cancer among survivors) and mortality (the rate of death) are much lower among men than among women [31]. For example, in 2007 (most recent data available) [32]:

 Ok, so what I take from that is as we get older we are at higher risk (especially if you are female). Hmmm...that is all of us women.

Early breast cancer usually doesn't cause symptoms. But as the tumor grows, it can change how the breast looks or feels. The common changes include:
  • A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering in the skin of the breast
  • A nipple turned inward into the breast
  • Discharge (fluid) from the nipple, especially if it's bloody
  • Scaly, red, or swollen skin on the breast, nipple, or areola (the dark area of skin at the center of the breast). The skin may have ridges or pitting so that it looks like the skin of an orange.
You should see your health care provider about any symptom that does not go away. Most often, these symptoms are not due to cancer. Another health problem could cause them. If you have any of these symptoms, you should tell your health care provider so that the problems can be diagnosed and treated.

Risk Factors:
Studies have found the following risk factors for breast cancer:
  • Age: The chance of getting breast cancer increases as you get older. Most women are over 60 years old when they are diagnosed.
  • Personal health history: Having breast cancer in one breast increases your risk of getting cancer in your other breast. Also, having certain types of abnormal breast cells (atypical hyperplasia, lobular carcinoma in situ [LCIS], or ductal carcinoma in situ [DCIS]) increases the risk of invasive breast cancer. These conditions are found with a breast biopsy.
  • Family health history: Your risk of breast cancer is higher if your mother, father, sister, or daughter had breast cancer. The risk is even higher if your family member had breast cancer before age 50. Having other relatives (in either your mother's or father's family) with breast cancer or ovarian cancer may also increase your risk.
  • Certain genome changes: Changes in certain genes, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2, substantially increase the risk of breast cancer. Tests can sometimes show the presence of these rare, specific gene changes in families with many women who have had breast cancer, and health care providers may suggest ways to try to reduce the risk of breast cancer or to improve the detection of this disease in women who have these genetic changes. Also, researchers have found specific regions on certain chromosomes that are linked to the risk of breast cancer. If a woman has a genetic change in one or more of these regions, the risk of breast cancer may be slightly increased. The risk increases with the number of genetic changes that are found. Although these genetic changes are more common among women than BRCA1 or BRCA2, the risk of breast cancer is far lower.
  • Radiation therapy to the chest: Women who had radiation therapy to the chest (including the breasts) before age 30 are at an increased risk of breast cancer. This includes women treated with radiation for Hodgkin lymphoma. Studies show that the younger a woman was when she received radiation treatment, the higher her risk of breast cancer later in life.
  • Reproductive and menstrual history:
    • The older a woman is when she has her first child, the greater her chance of breast cancer.
    • Women who never had children are at an increased risk of breast cancer.
    • Women who had their first menstrual period before age 12 are at an increased risk of breast cancer.
    • Women who went through menopause after age 55 are at an increased risk of breast cancer.
    • Women who take menopausal hormone therapy for many years have an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Race: In the United States, breast cancer is diagnosed more often in white women than in African American/black, Hispanic/Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander, or American Indian/Alaska Native women.
  • Breast density: Breasts appear on a mammogram (breast x-ray) as having areas of dense and fatty (not dense) tissue. Women whose mammograms show a larger area of dense tissue than the mammograms of women of the same age are at increased risk of breast cancer.
  • History of taking DES: DES was given to some pregnant women in the United States between about 1940 and 1971. (It is no longer given to pregnant women.) Women who took DES during pregnancy may have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. The possible effects on their daughters are under study.
  • Being overweight or obese after menopause: The chance of getting breast cancer after menopause is higher in women who are overweight or obese.
  • Lack of physical activity: Women who are physically inactive throughout life may have an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Drinking alcohol: Studies suggest that the more alcohol a woman drinks, the greater her risk of breast cancer.

Hmmm....things we can control...our weight, our diet, our physical activity and drinking alcohol. Here are some more interesting factors to consider:

Can a healthy diet help prevent breast cancer?

A nutritious, low-fat diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. A high-fat diet increases the risk because fat triggers estrogen production that can fuel tumor growth.

Is there a link between oral contraceptives and breast cancer?

There is an increased risk of breast cancer for women under 35 who have been using birth control pills for more than ten years.

How often should I do a breast self-exam (BSE)?

Give yourself a breast self-exam at least once a month. Look for any changes in breast tissue, such as changes in size, a lump, dimpling or puckering of the breast, or a discharge from the nipple. If you discover a persistent lump in your breast or any changes in breast tissue, it is very important that you see a physician immediately. However, 8 out of 10 lumps are benign, or not cancerous.

How does menstrual and reproductive history affect breast cancer risks?

Women who began their menstrual cycles before age 12, have no children, or had their first child at 30 or older, or began menopause after 55 are at a higher risk.

How Often Should I Go To My Doctor For A Checkup?

You should have a physical every year. If any unusual symptoms or changes in your breasts occur before your scheduled visit, do not hesitate to see the doctor immediately.

What Kind Of Impact Does Stress Have On Breast Cancer?

Although some studies have shown that factors such as traumatic events and losses can alter immune system functions, these studies have not provided any evidence of a direct cause-and-effect relationship between stress and breast cancer. An area currently being studied is whether or not stress reduction can improve immune response and slow progression in women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Do we know what causes breast cancer?

Many risk factors may increase your chance of developing breast cancer, but it is not yet known exactly how some of these risk factors cause cells to become cancerous. Hormones seem to play a role in many cases of breast cancer, but just how this happens is not fully understood.
Certain changes in DNA can cause normal breast cells to become cancerous. DNA is the chemical in each of our cells that makes up our genes — the instructions for how our cells function. We usually look like our parents because they are the source of our DNA. But DNA affects more than how we look.
Some genes contain instructions for controlling when our cells grow, divide, and die. Certain genes that speed up cell division are called oncogenes. Others that slow down cell division, or cause cells to die at the right time, are called tumor suppressor genes. Cancers can be caused by DNA mutations (changes) that “turn on” oncogenes or “turn off” tumor suppressor genes.

Inherited gene mutations

Certain inherited DNA changes can increase the risk for developing cancer and are responsible for the cancers that run in some families. For example, the BRCA genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) are tumor suppressor genes. Mutations in these genes can be inherited from parents. When they are mutated, they no longer suppress abnormal growth, and cancer is more likely to develop.
Women have already begun to benefit from advances in understanding the genetic basis of breast cancer. Genetic testing can identify some women who have inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 tumor suppressor genes (or less commonly in other genes such as PTEN or p53). These women can then take steps to reduce their risk of developing breast cancers and to monitor changes in their breasts carefully to find cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage. These are discussed in the following sections of this document.

Acquired gene mutations

Most DNA mutations related to breast cancer occur in single breast cells during a woman's life rather than having been inherited. These acquired mutations of oncogenes and/or tumor suppressor genes may result from other factors, like radiation or cancer-causing chemicals. But so far, the causes of most acquired mutations that could lead to breast cancer remain unknown. Most breast cancers have several gene mutations that are acquired.
Tests to spot acquired gene changes may help doctors more accurately predict the outlook for some women with breast cancer. For example, tests can identify women whose breast cancer cells have too many copies of the HER2 oncogene. These cancers tend to be more aggressive. At the same time, drugs have been developed that specifically target these cancers.

And that is where I'm going to end this. If you need more information please visit the sourced sites and visit your doctor. Also check out The ArtsyGirl Connection for more blogs Going Pink today!

Sharing Saturday #3

Thank you to all the fabulous links shared this past week! I hope you will share more this week!

Here are some of my favorites from last week. It is a bit Halloween themed, but I guess that is to be expected this time of the year.

Pumpkins with a Toddler

Hazel's white pumpkin
This morning we painted our pumpkins. We also painted pieces for a few future crafts. Hazel is at the age of loving to mix the colors and use one brush for the entire project. Needless to say our colors often look blackish, but we had fun. We each painted a sugar pumpkin and a white pumpkin.
My Sugar Pumpkin

Since she is not quite 3 yet, I didn't want to attempt to carve (though we will carve one on Halloween together). She is at the point of wanting to do everything I do by herself which of course is not possible, so I figured if we only have one pumpkin to carve it will be a joint project.

Last year we used stickers. I bought foam stickers at the Dollar Tree just for jack-o'-lanterns and we had her older friend over and the two of them decorated sugar pumpkins. It worked and was where she was at then, but all the stickers for the most part ended up on top of one another on her pumpkin.
Painting for future crafts
Hazel's collection finished

Even Fluffy wanted to get involved but I pulled her chair away from the paint, so she took a nap. She always wants to be where we are.

Overall, I'm happy with our pumpkins. I will cut one of the white pumpkin open after Halloween to save the seeds to plant next spring. We are excited to try to grow pumpkins next year.

Hazel's sugar pumpkin
Hazel's sugar pumpkin
What are you doing with your pumpkins this year?