Posts made in October, 2009

The Roundup: October news and tidbits

Posted by on Oct 30, 2009 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

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[Credit: Special thanks to artist Darryl Willison of Please visit his site and support his work!]

Wow! Where did October go? I missed most of it; hope you didn’t miss a thing. If so, here’s the month’s Roundup:

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Wednesday Bubble: Breast cancer – it’s personal

Posted by on Oct 28, 2009 in breast cancer | 10 comments

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I don’t typically get too personal on Flashfree because this blog is a resource for you, dear readers. However, I want to leave October’s Wednesday Bubble posts with something a bit closer to the bone and heart: breast cancer.

Location: Department Store dressing room stall. Circa: late 1960s, early 1970s.

The characters: Me and my mom.

Scene: She is covering herself as she removes her shirt. I notice the scars. Lots of scars….to the side of one breast. I meet her eyes and she meets mine. Then I learn what the term ‘ breast cancer’ means.

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 30. Thirty. Even today, less than half of women under the age of 40 are likely to develop breast cancer and the majority of cases are diagnosed after the age of 50. So, imagine the shock. What’s more, imagine the time. The 1950s… when breast cancer awareness wasn’t at the fore and people didn’t discuss it, when breasts and surrounding muscle were literally hacked off rather than carefully removing the tumor with clean margins, when many men left their wives after they became disfigured.

My dad didn’t leave. And my brother learned about it through a ‘friend’ in school who was teasing him.

I’ve spoken to my mother about her cancer, about the fear of it returning (it has not, thank goodness), and about how she feels about not being able to wear sleeveless tops or strengthen/firm those muscles even though she has exercised regularly her entire life. How she felt when my brother came home from school and asked her about it. How she feels now when a friend is diagnosed with cancer. Her answer is always pretty much the same.

I don’t know anyone who has not been touched by breast cancer. Not. One. Person.

In the past year, I’ve had two friends who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, not for the first but second time. Like most of you, I am regularly inspired by the women in my life who are first or second-time survivors, just as I am moved by those who’ve lost their battles but not without a fight.

Breasts. For whatever reason, they are such an integral part of who we are as women and how we define ourselves in relation to the world around us. And yet, we continue to be plagued by this cancer and its effects on our health, our families and the world around us. Despite advances in research and awareness, we’re not even close to winning this battle:

  • Worldwide, every 30 seconds a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer
  • Every 90 seconds, a woman loses her fight to it
  • In 2007, almost half of all women had mastectomies compared to only 7% who had breast reconstruction

Can’t we do better?

It’s hard to imagine that in my mother’s lifetime, the likelihood of finding a cure is, well, unlikely.

This one’s close to the bone. It’s close to my heart. It’s personal.

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The domino effect

Posted by on Oct 26, 2009 in emotions, hot flash, menopause, nightsweats, sleep disturbance | 2 comments


I’ve never heard of the term ‘Domino Effect’ being applied to menopause, although, if one thinks about it, it makes perfect sense. For example, hot flashes beget sleep disruptions beget mood swings, and so on and and so on.

But do they?

In a study published in Menopause Journal ahead-of-print,  55 women were asked to keep daily records of their symptoms for up to five years or until they fully entered menopause. whichever came first. The researchers then evaluated whether or not changes in hot flashes or night sweats would predict a change in sleep the very same day, and if these changes then predicted changes in moods the next day. They also factored in whether or not women were initially depressed to insure that any results they found would not be unduly influenced.

They found that daily hot flashes or night sweats accurately predicted same day sleep problems and disruptions, which in turn, worsened moods the next day. However, the researchers were unable to connect hot flashes and night sweats directly to shifts in mood without this interim step except for in women who were already mildly depressed.

Are you confused yet?

What this really shows is that while night flashes and hot sweats may affect overall mood swings during menopause, the reason is unlikely to be attributed directly to sleep disruption but rather to some other mechanism. In the long run, this may allow lead to better interventions that individually address these factors so that the sum of the parts becomes a more positive sense of well-being regardless of any physical disruptions.

Every action has a chain reaction. Hopefully, this finding will lead to something positive for us all.

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Aging backwards in minutes: a guest post by Jackie Silver

Posted by on Oct 23, 2009 in Inspiration | 6 comments

So what does she mean by “aging backwards?” And in only 30 minutes a day? Come on!

Seriously, Author and friend Jackie Silver’s has some awesome tips on how to turn back the clock in only minutes a day. Just look at her; she’s a force to be reckoned with for sure!


Someone once said to me, “Look at you, you just sit around and have beauty treatments all day long, don’t you?” Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. It doesn’t take “having beauty treatments all day long” to keep Aging Backwards. That’s the “beauty” of what I do. I find all kinds of secrets, tips and shortcuts to pass along to you that make it easy to look and feel young while still living your life. Not many people have time to “sit around and have beauty treatments all day,” including me!

Here are some quick tips for Aging Backwards when, like me, you can’t make it your “full-time job.”

1) Instantly younger hands.
Everyone knows by now that hands can show your age. In fact, many celebrities have been victims of ridicule for their “old lady” hands and the paparazzi loves to snap photos of them (just look on the internet). I found this tip by accident one day while experimenting with SPF lotions: Tinted sunscreen does double duty when it comes to your hands. Not only does it protect your hands from sun damage, but the tint actually gives a subtle youthfulness to hands. Another quick way to lose years from your hands is with polish and jewelry. According to a study, people thought photos of hands with polish and jewelry looked younger than the same hands without the polish and jewelry.

2) One minute relaxer.
Try this several times a day for a quick and simple way to calm and relax yourself. Take a deep breath. Hold it for a count of five, release it for a count of seven. Repeat three to five times.

3) Five minute makeup
. Another shocking comment I heard from an acquaintance one day was, “You probably take two hours to get ready to go out so you should start now.” Excuse me? I can do my makeup in roughly five minutes and here’s how: I start with my SPF 30 sunscreen. Next, I dot a bit of concealer under each eye and blend. Then, I lightly brush on my mineral powder foundation, followed by a little blush. Eye shadow, liner and mascara come next, followed by lip liner and gloss. That’s it. I’ve even been known to take under five minutes for the whole thing. I interviewed Bruce Grayson, head of the Emmy’s makeup department, for my book, Aging Backwards: Secrets to Staying Young ( and he told me that we need less makeup as we age, not more. So, a five-minute makeup routine is just right for me.

4) Six minute cat nap
. Six minutes – that’s all the time you need for a “power nap” that will not only make you feel better, but will also improve your ability to learn and remember, according to German researchers at the University of Duesseldorf. The researchers performed experiments in which they asked students to review and memorize a list of 30 words. Afterwards, the participants were allowed to play a video game or take a nap in a quiet room. The nappers remembered more words than the video gamers. The results suggest that most of the memory improvement is linked to changes that take place in the brain just as you start to fall asleep. “These processes remain active for a certain time period even if sleep is terminated shortly thereafter,” said Olaf Lahl, the study’s lead author.

5) Ten minute jump rope workout
. Skipping rope is an awesome way to keep Aging Backwards. Of course, check with your doctor before doing it, especially if you have health issues, and be careful not to trip yourself if you’re new to jumping rope. Start with a slow skip until you get the hang of it. Here’s what I do: I warm up with a slow jump for about a minute and then I rest. I do another minute of jumping, upping my pace this time around. Then, another rest period. I repeat this pattern for ten minutes, each time jumping a little harder and faster than the last. That’s it! Easy, effective workout.

Doing all of these tips back-to-back would take less than half an hour. So you can see that staying young is definitely not a full-time job when you know the Aging Backwards shortcuts.

About Jackie…
Jackie Silver is Aging Backwards and she shares her secrets, tips and shortcuts in her book, Aging Backwards: Secrets to Staying Young, on her Web site, on TV, on radio, in print and in person. She is the anti-aging expert on the syndicated television show, Daytime, the beauty editor for Clear Channel’s Mix 100.7 FM Nancy & Chris Mornings in Tampa Bay, Florida and a weekly columnist with The Tampa Tribune. In addition, she’s an expert contributor to Total Health Breakthroughs () and, as well as a regular contributor to, and Silver is a sought-after speaker and coach who combines her natural reporter’s curiosity with her desire to help others look and feel young. Her book is available at: and

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Burn Baby Burn….reposted

Posted by on Oct 22, 2009 in menopause | 2 comments


Last year, I wrote a post about burning mouth syndrome. I am reposting it today because a reader commented that there is an informational questionnaire that many of you may be interested in. Here’s the link. By sharing your experiences, perhaps the sponsors can find a common thread among women who suffer from burning mouth syndrome and an effective treatment.

In my last post, I mentioned that menopause has been linked to altered sensitivity in the roof of the mouth and a decreased ability to detect sweet taste. Interestingly, I heard from a friend that she recently started experiencing a burning sensation in her mouth and that her doctors have been attributing it to menopause. Say what?!

Seems that the Queen Bee of Menopause, the Sister of Love and Destruction, the Lady of Light and Dark, estrogen herself, is wreaking havoc on more than the tastebuds.

I was intrigued so I did a search. I found over 500 articles in the National Library of Medicine Database, PubMed, and also located this article in the journal American Family Physician.

Although burning mouth syndrome primarily appears to primarily affect women after menopause, some 10% to 40% of women in menopause can suffer from its effects. These may may include burning in the tongue or oral mucus membranes, dry mouth and taste alterations.

The causes of burning mouth syndrome range from depression and anxiety to underlying illness, high glucose levels and of course, hormones. Researchers have also identified alterations in the cranial sacral nerves that serve taste and pain sensations as possible culprits.

Currently, unproven treatments include benzodiazapines, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and capsaicin. However, I’m wondering whether or not craniosacral therapy might offer an alternative to women who don’t want to go the drug route. Mind you, there are lots of naysayers out there who claim that CST is quakery but having used it successfully for pain, I am a huge fan.

A fellow blogger also directed me to this extensive site on burning mouth syndrome. I can’t vouch for its content but it is definitely worth checking out for backgrounding purposes. Do you suffer from Burning Mouth Syndrome? What are you doing to treat your symptoms? Inquiring minds want to know!

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