Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Wellness Wednesday - Mammograms

Today we are going to talk about mammograms.  My yearly check up calls for a mammogram.  I have been getting them for a couple of years now.  I have had a few scares and it can be quite traumatizing.  So what is a mammogram, what does it really do, and why talk about it?

What is a mammogram?  A mammogram is an x-ray picture that can show Radiologists what is going on inside of the breasts.  There are signs that they look for.  If you have never had one, usually at age 40, you will be recommended to have a screening.  Sometimes younger if there are signs or history of breast cancer in your family history.  I had first mammogram before I hit 40.  I remember being scared of the machine that I had only heard about.  You basically get your boobies squeezed to pancakes in every direction in order to get good pictures by a technician.  By the way, they are not allowed to tell you anything about what they see or your results.  Only your doctor or the radiologists can talk to you about what they see, find, or don't find.  One tip from me is don't go when your boobies are sensitive like right before your period.  Also, don't wear a dress because you will have to undress and de-robe.  And they make you leave all your personal belongings in a locker.  No phones or purses are allowed in exam room.

What is next?  In my case, results are mailed.  If any further testing is needed, I will receive a call from my doctor as well to schedule a diagnosis follow up.  In my case this has happened to me more than once.  It is so scary.  Even though they tell you not to worry, you worry.  You start thinking the worse.  The first time it happened my friend came and met me to be with me.  There was something seen in my left breast that look like a spec.  It could have been left over deodorant, this is why they ask for you not to wear deodorant or lotions the day of your testing.  My diagnostic came back as nothing.  It was a lymph node that needed extra looking at and after reviewing it again, there was no signs of anything.  A lymph node carries fluid like a tunnel from one place to another when there is no blockage.  This year I had another diagnostic follow up that needed to be done.  Like before, I started freaking out and was very concerned.  I am getting older.  I am not sure about you but when they tell you they need to see you again in the doctor's office, everything starts to hurt or feel broken all of a sudden.  My diagnostic showed nothing to worry about.  So I started asking several questions.  Are you looking at the same spot as the spot before?  What are you looking at?  What is the difference in my results?  The radiologists was happy to answer all my questions and put my mind at easy because of all my new found concerns.  The spot that was of concern this time was not the same one as before.  Lymph node is stable, no changes.  This was not what they were looking at.  The spot this time was a mass.  A solid mass that needed to be looked at.  But there was no concern from the radiologists after my 3D mammogram and ultrasound.

2D vs 3D?  I have previously had 2D and have been called back for testing.  I figured 3D would be better pictures.  I also thought that I was not going to be abused by that machine, but nope not happening.  The 2D and 3D are done similar.  But the 3D takes more pictures to compare versus the one shot with 2D.

Ultrasound?  This is like any ultrasound you have seen.  A sonogram of the breast.  It is not as painful as the mammogram but it can cause discomfort after you have had the mammogram pancake tests.  Also, when the technicians and the radiologists have to go over the same area several times.

Results?  These are immediate.  The radiologists came in, ran a few more scans on the ultrasound machine, and then she discussed my results.  It was a huge relief that I got the all clear, see you next year.

Costs?  My mammogram is part of my routine check up.  My diagnostic had to be part of my deductible.  I was mad that they could not fit me in the schedule in December.  Deductibles are calendar year.  They start over in January.  I was able to make a payment and pay the rest by mail.  I know that the hospitals have to get paid but I do not think this just prevent us from getting the health care we need.  What if I did not have the money to pay for my tests?

There are places that offer free mammograms, search online.  Also, do your research.  Ask a lot of questions.  There are no dumb questions.

Have you had any scares?  Any more tips?

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Wellness Wednesday-2019 Health Review

Let's talk about health reviews.  Have you ever stopped to reflect on your current health and what you could be doing better?  Improvements could be small doable changes.  Look at the picture of me below, what do you see?  

No, I was not pregnant last year.  I was in very bad shape.  I had been for awhile now.  Everything I tried, failed.  I failed.  I hid behind other people in pictures or I was not even in them most of the time.  I was really struggling but I did not realize how bad until later on in the year.

Last year, my health set off all the alarms.  It really scared me.  Though my doctor had been warning me that this would happen, I did not listen.  I was too busy to be concerned with this.  My body decided otherwise.  And now I am determined to prioritize my body and get me to healthy.  How am I doing that?  

First, I reflected on the damage.  I did not get this way over night.  I traced it back to 2014.  Alot happened throughout this year and it basically is the root of my situation.  Even though I had been at my healthiest right before this, things got out of control.  I went from healthiest to the unhealthiest I had been.  I hit over 200.  I had been doing crossfit and stopped doing that by recommendation from my doctor.  In 2015 after I ran my last half marathon, my doctor restricted me from running.  This was something I loved.  I was putting too much pressure on my knees with the weight.  I walked the treadmill, watched what I ate, and I still could not make the scale move.  I kept feeling defeated.  But reflecting on all the things I tried help me figure out what I did not want to do this time.  I did not want to do crash diets, unhealthy habits, or create more damage.  It also helped me learn what triggered me to get to this point.  Not one single thing but a serious of events all contributed.    

Second, goals need to be realistic.  My only goal was to get healthy.  I did not focus on a number on the scale, nor a specific size in my clothes, or gave myself a deadline.  I only was working on improving from where I was currently at and every time, improve from there.  

Third, I am under the care of my doctor.  No, I am not doing doing crazy pills or weight loss shakes.  I am eating real food.  I am learning more about the nutritional facts in everything I put in my mouth.

Lastly, but maybe the most important change, this year I finally found something that worked for me that has completely changed the way I think about food.   There is a 80/20 rule.  They say, who knows who they are?  It is 80 percent what you eat, and 20 perfect how much you move.  By changing what I ate, I was able to finally lose weight and keep it off.   

Where am I at now?  I officially started in August.  The weight just started coming off.  I was more motivated because we had two weddings, one in October and one in December.  Those weddings happened to coincide with my check in dates.  Because I have been monitoring my calories, weight, and my measurements.  The first wedding would be right at my 12 week check in and the second would be at 60 days from there.  Also, my physical was at the end of the year too.  I have dropped 40 pounds.  I was already getting into 2X and currently am able to get into medium.  The biggest change was my food intake (fat, protein, carbs).  I tried to commit to getting on the treadmill at least Monday through Friday and tried to hit my goal of 10,000 steps.  

My journey has not ended.  Follow my journey on Instagram - @independentmamialba.  I am sharing my struggles and triumphs in hope of motivating others to start today.  Do not let it be years later.  Do not shock or damage your body so bad that it can't be helped.  I am not a doctor or professional to be giving advise.  

I am her to support.  Let's get healthy together.  Let me know how I can help.  Do you have any suggestions, tips, or have you recently reviewed your health?     

Monday, December 16, 2019

2019 Kids Gift Guide

Christmas time is upon us.  Are your lists ready?  Do you know what to get your kiddos?  Everyone is always asking me what to get their kids.  I love shopping for kids.  I like looking for the perfect gifts that will make their eyes light up.  Do you?

Well if you are still looking for some gifts ideas, here are some of my recommendations:

1)  Sesame Street - 50 Years and Counting - Who does not love Sesame Street?  350 mins of fun and learning.  I love giving DVDs as stocking stuffers.  They make the perfect gifts because you can watch over and over.

Books are great gifts to give.  Winter break is the perfect time to grab a book and read.  

2)  Three Paws - This book encourages children to be bold, make new friends. It promotes the importance of both independence and inclusivity.

3)  Ted the Friendly Frog and Santa Frog - On Christmas Eve, Ted and Brad snuggle by the fire as their father tells them the magical story of his encounter with Santa Frog.

4)  Disney The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: A Center Stage Pop-Up Book - The Ballerina of the Realms dances on every page of this magical book!  Follow the elegant Ballerina of the Realms as she dances center stage in this artistic pop-up book, celebrating each of the unique and picturesque Four Realms.

5)  Bright Lite Inspiring a “you CAN sit with us” mentality amongst their readers and creators, BRIGHT LITE is a one-of-a-kind publication that takes shape in the form of a small, bi-annual coffee-table book.

Who doesn't like toys?  STEM toys are even better.  I love to give gifts that call for learning.

6)  Stomp Rocket - Stomp Rocket's line-up of STEM toys provide hours of screen-free fun and make a perfect for all ages! Stomp Rocket is 100% kid-powered and easy for kids to set up with no batteries required! 

I hope you find the perfect gift for your kiddos.  I have lots of wrapping to do, how about you?

Ted the Friendly Frog and Santa Frog

Does your child like to read?  Winter break is around the corner, what will your kids be doing the entire time?  My daughter loves to read.  My son was the total opposite.  He did not like books or reading.  I tried everything I could think of.  But I remember having a hard time with reading too.

Disclosure-Sample product was received for book review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Reading was not my thing.  But that is why I wanted my kids to like it.  Reading can take us places, teach us so much, and you can do it anywhere at any age.

My daughter received the book Ted the Friendly Frog and Santa Frog.  The Ted the Friendly Frog books are great for kids.  Written with kids in mind by a parent trying to teach his kid how to read. 

In the book - Ted and his brother Brad are snuggled up by the fire on Christmas Eve, waiting to hear the story of Santa Frog.  Their father tells them an incredible tale of the time he met Santa Frog, and they can't believe their ears!  A frog in a red coat, flying a sleigh pulled by nine birds, leaving presents under Christmas trees; it almost sounds too good to be true.  When the story is done, Ted and Brad can't wait to see if Santa Frog comes again that night.  Will Ted get to meet Santa Frog this Christmas?

I like the story.  I like that the book rhymes and is an easy read.  I like the lesson in the story.  My daughter liked reading about Ted and following along the adventure as each page was turned.
Scott McCall began writing short stories to help his son learn to read.  Together they wrote some stories that rhymed.  It was from this experience that the idea of Ted the Friendly Frog evolved.  Ted the Friendly Frog and Santa Frog is the third book in the series.

 For more information about the series and author, visit

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

***CLOSED***Giveaway - Cinderella and the Secret Prince

Do you have a princess at home that dreams of a castle and dancing at a royal ball one day?  My daughter was born with pixie dust dreams.  Who am I to judge having been there myself?

Disclosure-This giveaway is hosted by Shout! Factory.  Review copy was received.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal opinion.

On November 5th, Shout! Kids and Gold Valley Films released a secret, never-before-told tale of Cinderella.  Cinderella and the Secret Prince tells about a new adventure we have yet to hear.  Just in time for the holiday break.  Grab your blanket, some hot chocolate, and curl up on the couch with the family.  Follow along with the fairy, the mouse friends, and of course, Cinderella.  Check this out:

About - During the Royal Ball, the real prince was turned into a mouse by the evil witch, and the "Prince" from the Royal Ball is in fact a fraud! Now begins the new adventure to save the real Prince and help him defeat the evil force.

Want to win a copy for your family?  Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is only open to US.  The winner will be randomly selected.  They will have 24 hours to claim their prize.  Fulfillment of prize will be by the sponsor.  Good luck.