They take my breath away

May 25, 2010

Do you remember the first time a book took your breath away?  The first time you disappeared between the covers of one of the Little House on the Prairie books, a Madeline L’Engle fantasy, or even Harriet the Spy, and you said YES, THIS.  This is what I’ve been trying to say.  These are my words and my soul.  These are my people.  This is where I fit in. These are the people that make me feel closer to all people.  These are the words (or images, or sounds) that feed my soul, and make me a better person. Ever feel that way?  And when the words come to an end, the last few pages disappear, and the notes crescendo, you are at once deeply satisfied and deeply disappointed that there is no more?

The amazing thing about this medium we call blogging is that there is always more.  There is (almost) always another post by that blogger-friend who writes your soul.  There is (almost) always another adventure by that blogger-friend who keeps you laughing, brings the tears, or invites you to say, YES, THIS.  And this is the amazing thing about blogging. And friends.

These are some of my amazing blogger-friends, amazing for the way they write, amazing for the way they teach, amazing for the way they live generously and without fear.  If you haven’t met them yet, I invite you to meet them today.  Go on.  They’re good people.


Amy, Teachmama, teaches us every day how to add a little learning and a lot of fun into ordinary days with our children.  Amy writes and teaches as a labor of love, even starting a network of other parent-teachers called We Teach that is absolutely amazing — and welcomes you.  Amy is a treasured resource in our community and a friend — and if you agree, would you please take a second to tell Scholastic’s Parent & Child magazine that she’s  incredible too?  Amy is one of the top three nominated for the 2010 Parent Blogger Awards in the “Books and Reading” category.  Everyone’s vote counts; you don’t have to be a blogger. Amy is brilliant and giving and kind — won’t you help me recognize her for this by clicking and telling Scholastic she’s a top blogger before June 4?

SundaySunday, from XtremeParenthood. When she heard about my recurrence, Sunday approached me and said that she’s thought about doing something to fight cancer for years (her dad is a survivor!) but this moved her off the couch and into action.  Sunday started a Relay for Life Team, Team WhyMommy, and she and Lara and I will be walking in Catonsville on June 12 (coincidentally, my wedding anniversary!).  Sunday is a mover and a shaker and, since the March Momzshare, a good friend.  Go visit her blog and, if you feel moved, donate a little something to  her Relay for Life Team, Team WhyMommy and/or vote for her blog as Nickelodeon parent’s pick!

Leticia, TechSavvyMama and Chief BitMom, knew about Sunday’s efforts and, while at a meeting with the makers of BitDefender last month, asked them for a donation to support her team and the American Cancer Society in the fight against cancer.  She must have been persuasive, because look what she scored — a THOUSAND DOLLAR CHECK to ACS for Sunday’s efforts in my honor.  WOW.  Thank you, Leticia!  If you’re interested in helping to secure your child’s online safety, go visit her at BitMoms — you can even sign up to join Leticia in this quest!

Jessica, A Parent in Silver Spring; Jennifer, Hip as I Wanna Be; and Lara from Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom organized this AMAZING fun event on Saturday night where dozens of D.C. mom bloggers got to spend a night out with each other, socializing, networking, making connections, and talking about our passions — what makes us dream bigger than the laundry that surrounds us every day — and as a bonus donated all proceeds to the American Cancer Society.  So many of us have been touched by cancer, they explained, and they wanted to do a little something to help.  Well, this was more than a little something.  Thanks to their efforts and the generosity of the mom bloggers that attended, munching on delicious gluten-free cupcakes from Treets and sweet potato soup catered by SouperGirl, while raffling off prizes from some amazing local businesses (I won a beautiful set of plates and goodies from local decorator @TuscanHome) the American Cancer Society is receiving a $1400 donation in the fight against cancer. A-mazing.  Jennifer is nominated for a blogging award too — if you loved MomzShare or the spirit of community, won’t you vote for Jennifer as a Nickelodeon parent’s pick and plan to attend the next MomzShare event?

Julie Pippert is a Texas mama I work with on the American Cancer Society Blogger Council and the Bloggers for More Birthdays.  Julie, Leticia, Amie, Amy, Morra, Catherine, Darryle, and the rest make talking about cancer a fun task.  In fact, we donned birthday hats at MomzShare to wish the American Cancer Society a HAPPY 97th BIRTHDAY and we’ve had fun with the More Birthdays and Choose You campaigns.  Julie, though, is easily one of the most committed to the cause.  Not only did she follow through with her Choose You pledge to get a suspicious blotch on her skin checked out, she went ahead and got cancer.  That’s right.  Julie was diagnosed with skin cancer last week, and she was brave enough to share it with the internet at the Choose You blog and Mothers With Cancer.  Go. Show her some love if you have a minute to spare today.

Some days I’m too tired to blog. Some days I’m too busy to blog.  But I know without a doubt that blogging brings amazing people into my life, and I am grateful for all of you, fellow bloggers and commenters alike.  These are just a few friends who are on my mind today — aren’t they incredible?  When you have a second, won’t you click through and vote for them or drop them a note of support?

At Momzshare Saturday night, life coach and brain cancer survivor Lauree Ostrofsky asked us to name our passion.  Aside from kids and family, she asked, what drives you?  TheMomBabe and I were surprised to find that our passions were very, very similar.  We had never met before, but we both work to encourage women to follow their passion (me in science, her in blogging) and to achieve success as each woman defines it for herself.  The women I introduced you to above are following their passions, encouraging others, and sharing themselves and their words even when it isn’t easy or comfortable.

These women inspire me, and make me eager to turn the page or click through and see what comes next.

Lymphedema Therapy in D.C.

May 11, 2010

Looking for a lymphedema therapist or physical therapist in Washington, D.C. or the surrounding area?  I’ve seen a BUNCH of them, and these are my absolute favorite physical therapists who I would recommend to any breast cancer survivor (or new mom, cough cough) in Maryland, Northern Virginia, or Washington, D.C.

Bretta FabianBretta Fabian. Bretta is my all-time favorite physical therapist.  Her years of training and experience have helped her get directly to the root of the problem and know exactly what to do to help get the body back working the way it should be.  Over the years, Bretta has eased the swelling in my arms, taught me manual lymph drainage techniques, stretched the cords of scar tissue running up and down my arms until they gently release (important both for lymph drainage and mobility), manipulated scar tissue on my chest (to relieve pain and unbind the muscles), put my back back in joint, and realigned my pelvis after childbirth (ooh, that was embarrasing to type. But if you’ve ever had that pain, you need to know there’s help out there, and it may only take one visit).  Bretta is affiliated with the George Washington University Medical Center and works closely with their surgeons.  The only drawback is that her practice does not take insurance or medicare, so you’re on your own.  Bretta is at the Center for Wellness Solutions, 202-862-0770.

Vicki and Janice at The Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland.  Adventist Rehab has five lymphedema specialists.  I have been very happy with and can highly recommend Vicki, who trained under the founder of the Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy.  Vicki helped me understand how the lymph system works, both verbally and by referencing the instructive posters that surround the treatment area.  Vicki is a master at lymphedema wrapping, has instructed both my husband and me in manual lymph drainage techniques, and has a cheerful, supportive demeanor in all that she does.  Vicki is creative and helped me find lymphedema wrapping materials when I was allergic to everything she’d worked with before.  She also returns phone calls from current patients and aids in ordering lymphedema sleeves, gloves, and nightwear garments.  Adventist Rehab also has a half-dozen or more physical therapists at each site who are highly skilled in a number of different hands-on and rehabilitative therapy techniques.  Janice in particular is a real treasure for hands-on work including scar tissue manipulation, muscle-energy techniques, and rehab to restore everyday function.  (Both Vicki and Janice are referred to here by first name only, as they don’t have a web presence of their own.)  Adventist accepts many forms of insurance with a physician’s referral.  240-864-6200.

Katina Marinos, MPT, is the chief physical therapist at a small practice in Rockville called Manual and Sports Therapy.  Her specialties, as you may be able to tell from the name, are manual work and sports medicine, although she worked for years with an orthopedic medicine group and has an exhaustive knowledge of the interplay between the bones and muscles, making treatment comprehensive and effective.  Katina is a physical therapist who can take you from couch to marathon, as both she and her almost 70-year old father have run marathons in the past few years; she trains people of all ages and abilities to run well and without injury.  This family-run, woman-owned business is a comforting, encouraging place to heal, and Katina has been able to work wonders realigning my bones, neck to legs in the past few years.  If your bones or muscles hurt, she’s absolutely wonderful.  Katina accepts some insurance with a referral.  301-770-1613.

I’ve seen at least five other physical therapists around the area in the past three years, in a quest to find one to relieve the pain AND take my insurance, but these are my absolute favorites and it’s not fair to keep them to myself any longer.  If you live outside the D.C. area, to find a lymphedema therapist, check out the National Lymphedema Network.  If you need help affording lymphedema sleeves, gloves, and/or gauntlets, try the Marilyn Westbrook Garment Fund.  If you think that insurance should cover these garments that cost $100-$1000 each that are necessary for breast cancer survivors and other edema suffers, please let your Congresspersons know that you support H.R. 4662, the Lymphedema Diagnosis and Treatment Cost Saving Act of 2010, introduced February 23 by Congressman Larry Kissell (NC-8) and now cosponsored by Congressman Ron Paul (TX-14).