Thursday, October 17, 2013

The best I can do

**updated **

It is October. That means pink everywhere and lots of talk about "the cure."  I've been known to purposefully wear blue on "pink out" days.  Why? Because so many well-known "non-profits" who tout "...for the cure..." spend a majority of their money on advertising and very little on actually curing cancer.

And I feel that prevention is the best medicine. So, for those of you who are also interested in preventing breast cancer, this is for you.

What seems to be the best prevention for breast cancer?  Letting your body BE.  Limit hormonal birth control or other hormone supplements during your lifetime.  Don't drink or smoke (in excess) and eat a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables and low in saturated (animal) fats.

Oh, and having and feeding your babies is one of the best things you can do!  One study (a large, reliable study) showed that for every baby you birth, you lower your risk by 7%.  For each year you breastfeed, you lower your risk by 4.3%.

Doesn't sound like a lot?

I'm an American Caucasian woman with no family history of breast cancer, so I have an 87% chance of NOT getting breast cancer.  That means just about a 13% chance that I will.  The odds are just over 1 out of 10.  And here's where I get a little math happy.  By having 2 kids, I've lower my risk by 7% each time to just over 11%.  By breastfeeding for a total of just shy of 76 months (that's over 6 years!) I've probably decreased my overall risk by more than 50% giving me a less than 5% chance of developing breast cancer or reducing my odds to less than 1 out of 20.  This agrees with a 2010 study that indicates if you breastfeed for a total of 4 years or longer your risk of breast cancer is reduced to less than 6%.

Does that mean I'll never develop breast cancer? Certainly it does not, but I won't stop wearing my seatbelt or stop putting my children in car seats just because I'm a decently safe driver and have less than a 1% chance (1 out of 100) of getting in a car accident that could fatally injure myself or my children.  As a matter of fact, earlier this year I had a scan.  Despite knowing that my risk of breast cancer was so low, I was still terrified of what the scan would show.  I don't want women to have to experience that!

So how do we keep women from feeling like breast cancer is inevitable? Let's look at it this way....

I graduated high school with around 270 people, Let's say 150 of them were women.

If we go with the "average" 20 of those women (13%) will develop breast cancer.  But if we all had 2 kids and breastfed for 4 years (the World Health Organization recommends you breastfeed for a minimum of 2 years for each child) the odds would drop to 9% or only 13 women leaving 7 women who would never even have to face breast cancer....just in my graduating high school class.

Still not convinced?

Now let's look at America.  There are over 150 million women in America.  On "average" 20 MILLION will face breast cancer.  If everyone had 2 children, and breastfed for about 4 years, that lowers to 13 million.  Again, 7 are left... but this time 7 MILLION women would never have to face breast cancer. birthing and breastfeeding.  Isn't that amazing?!  And the "experts" think that the lowering of the risk could be even greater in women who have a family history.

Oh, and breastfeeding a baby girl reduces her risk of developing the disease also. My little one (who does have a family history of breast cancer) will have a much lower risk  of developing the disease after being breastfed for a physiologically normal amount of time and (hopefully) being able to go on and breastfeed her own children.

Every year, every month, every day you breastfeed lowers your risk and your child's risk for breast and ovarian cancers not to mention other health conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease.

Some women choose not to breastfeed, and that's not what this post is about.  It's about what we can do to teach women the risks of not breastfeeding (or if you would rather, the life-saving benefits of breastfeeding) and to support women who want to breastfeed.

This October, I challenge you to look at how you can cure breast cancer by preventing breast cancer. Support a mom who is breastfeeding, provide information to a pregnant woman, attend a breast feeding event or donate to a breastfeeding non-profit.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Let's do this

It's difficult for me to believe it was only two weeks ago that I shared just how close Eilidh was to being mobile.  Between then and now she's shown us several varieties of mobility.  My favorite is a bunny hop I'm still trying to capture.  Today she decided to work on the most efficient version.  She only moves toward important things: mom,  dad,  brother,  toys and food. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Free to be Three

Three is such a great number.

It's the number of strikes a batter gets and the number of outs a team gets in baseball each inning.  It's the number of children my parents had.  It's how many times I think you should try before deciding something isn't for you.  It's the number of times I will re-direct and remind Whit of proper behavior before stepping it up to the next level.  And it's prominent in when Kirk and I were blessed with Whit; after our third try and three days of labor, just three weeks before our third wedding anniversary.

Now that Whit is three, I've wanted to sit down and really get into what makes him three.  So, of course, three days shy of three months and three weeks after his third birthday, here it is! (did you get that math?)

What does it mean to be three?

I can't really remember but for Whit it means....

Being very entertaining running around a soccer field never touching a ball.
Giving the best hugs ever.
Being a great big brother.
Making up silly words and using them in actual conversation.
Finally understanding the rules to "Say what I say."
Not feeling weird about having soup and grilled cheese for breakfast.
Thinking its just as much fun to go down the chutes as up the ladders. 
Knowing that "W" is for Whit and "T" is for "tea" and "K" is for ketchup but not understanding that "Ckw" doesn't spell anything.
You say a lot of funny things
You think that everyone who is in your family must have the last name "Renegar"
That logic and reason can now be applied to most situations.

And then there's the hard stuff which is...

Being almost too old for napping which often leads to a late bedtime or a very difficult evening.
Having so many emotions you don't know what to do.
Learning how to separate your wants from your needs.
Understanding that the world isn't ending when you wants are not met.
Missing people when they aren't around.
The fact that logic and reason sometimes go out the window. 

Whit.... wait, correction, Whitfield Ian Renegar.  "W" for Whit and "R" for Renegar.  I think that's how he will be introducing himself for months.... is three.  Wow!

I've been lamenting how "big" he's been getting for over a year.  My favorite statement was that we were having another baby because he was so big and didn't need me anymore.  He barely fits in the rocker and takes up more than his fair share in bed.

But the truth is, he does still need me.  Three is a difficult time.  You definitely aren't a baby, but you are stuck somewhere in between toddler and child.  And three is a glamorous "tween" time like 12, not a child but almost a teenager and ruling the world, or 30, in between young and...not so young anymore.

Three is my greatest hope and my biggest fear. Three is when many people will tell you they began having memories that last into adulthood.  So much of what a child knows about the world is in place by three.  Three year olds just about get how the world works.  I want Whit to get that the world is a beautiful place where he can make a positive difference.  I want his memories from three to be golden.  I want three to be the foundation for a great and meaningful life.

Whitfield Ian Renegar, congrats on being three.