Tuesday, June 19
by Sue on Tue 19 Jun 2007 05:01 PM EDT
I am 36 years old and this morning, I had my first mammogram. I am one and one half years late in doing this. I needed to get a baseline at age 35 because of the history of cancer in my family. I procrastinated because it didn't seem urgent to me and because of how much hype I heard about the discomfort.
I was being stupid and potentially risking my life. That is not okay.
From the Susan G. Komen Foundation:
There's a link between regular reproductive health services and breast exams/mammograms. Because we are less likely to have children, we may not get routine care and, hence, may miss early detection.
So this morning, I toddled off the AGH Cancer Center. I must say it was a very comfortable office and the staff were excellent. I waited less than 10 minutes before I was gowned and ready to go. The technician took the time to explain everything to me and was very gentle walking me step by step through the process.
It was not painful. The pressure during most of the exam was awkward, but the technician explained that they have to flatten our breasts as much as possible to view all the tissue. The truly uncomfortable part was the side shot which involved some leaning and flattening and grasping of a handle. But, truth to be told, it was just about as comfortable as my yearly vaginal exam. It is absolutely more comfortable than dying of breast cancer.
I'm all clear. So now I go back at age 40 and then once a year from that point forward.
Don't be like me and procrastinate. I've made a point to bring it up with every woman I've encountered today. Over 50% told me they haven't kept current on mammograms.
Don't be like us. Call your gyne or your PCP and get going. I want you to come back and read this blog often. I plan to still be here at age 40 and tell you all about my next mammogram. Will you be able to tell me about yours?
Sunday, February 25
by Sue on Sun 25 Feb 2007 07:30 AM EST
Local opinion seems to be that our own con-alternative paper, the Tribune Review, is pretty anti-gay. The fact, however, is that most of their gay coverage has been consistent with mainstream thought on gays -- we aren't so bad after all, its not such a big deal, don't we have better things to worry about (usually the libertarian columnists), and an abhorence of violence against gays. Its a benign quasi-tolerance that keeps us fimly in our second-class seats, but protects us (mostly) from being bashed by pipe wielding maniacs. They may not want their sons to be gay, but it would be okay if their daughters have a quirky gay confidante. Who could ask for anything more than that? (I'm being ironic here b/c a 72 year old harmless man was killed by a pipe wielding maniac in spite of the fuzzy Will and Gracism pervading pop culture).
Two Trib columnists have tackled gay stories of late. In an interesting display of better late than never, Matt Sober weighs in on the Tim Hardaway furor. Sober went to Penn State with John Amaechi, the former NBA player who recently came out. Sober recalls Amaechi as a very bright guy who probably appreciates the tough conversations his coming out have inspired throughout the sports world. Then Sober takes an interesting twist:
Saying you hate gay people is silly -- that's the teachable moment Sober draws from all this? Huh. Declaring you love gay people is silly? Its unfortunate that Sober opted for a jab at Pitt fans in lieu of actually saying something meaningful about the pervasion of homophobia in the sports world. Its great that he's a fan of John Amaechi, but he trips right over his blase attitude into the treacherous world of "let's pretend there are no difference and see everyone as the same."
Columnist Tom Purcell uses gay sheep experimentation to underscore the collapse of civilization. Not because of gay sheep, but because of America's obsession with gay sheep and Anna Nicole Smith. Some researchers were exploring the sexuality of sheep. Hue and cry ensued about the ethics of such research, bringing the attention of such entities as PETA and Martina Navritalova. Purcell takes the obligatory "nutty advocacy group" shot at PETA, dismisses any possibility that genetic research on sexual orientation could possibly be used against gays and then wraps up his analysis with this overreaching comparison:
I'm sorry, Tom, but in a nation that has collectively handed over our welfare to a despotic idiot, I'm feeling pretty good when groups like PETA bring our attention to potential landmines. Especially when I look at your previous columns which don't seem to focus on evil dictators, torture or genocide. But they do feature a lot of italicized words and exclamation points. Its practically the same thing.
So more gay-benign pablum from the Tribune-Review.
Monday, January 22
by Sue on Mon 22 Jan 2007 11:45 AM EST
Today I join hundreds of other bloggers around the nation to share why I am pro-choice. Please forgive if this does not flow as well as I would like - I'm not feeling 100% today.
Blog for Choice Day is a chance to raise the profile of reproductive rights issues in the blogosphere and the media, and to let everyone know that a woman's right to choose is nonnegotiable.
Why do I support a woman's right to choose?
I believe that our society has been structured on principals of men exerting ownership over women, but that is not necessarily how the law has been structured. Thus I believe that much of dialogue around choice/life is about women being free to make their own choices, not about unborn children. Choice is about power and control, something our
Perhaps I focus to much on what the other side does or fails to do. The hypocrisy around respecting life saddens me and sickens me, especially given that I work every day with children that are not being cared and tended for as they should. Children who need society to step up and provide their families with adequate resources to parent effectively and children who sometimes need someone to step in and parent them directly.
Choice is about power and control. I am in control of my body and my reproductive decisions. I will not willingly relinquish that power.
Tuesday, January 9
by Sue on Tue 09 Jan 2007 03:34 PM EST
In another stunning effort to spin negative publicity, City Councilwoman Darlene Harris claims that she did not order a smoke eater machine to de-stuffify her office. Ms. Harris simply wanted some box fans and now she is outraged, outraged I tell you, that someone mistakenly spent $1200 on the smoke eater.
Harris, along with Student Body President Doug Shields, was featured in a recent Post-Gazette article about illicit smoking in the City-County Building. Both admitted that they smoke in spite of a smoke prohibition rule going back before our new county-wide ban. Neither seemed the least bit penitent which doesn't bode well for them to follow the new law.
To summarize thus far, Harris has completely missed the point that this is about SMOKING not a smoke eating machine. Her umbrage is matched only by her ridiculousness. Not only is she refusing to take responsibility for breaking the law, but she's now pointing fingers at her political enemies whoever they may be:
Yes, Darlene, it is politics at its most sad when an elected city leader openly violates the law because she's too lazy/proud/arrogant to go outside like the rest of the city employees. It is politics at its lowest when an elected city leader shifts responsibility for her own stupid choices onto the shoulders of said city employees. Public Works gets enough guff without having to ante up for your mistakes.
It is politics at its most disgusting when an elected city leader assumes we are foolish enough to be distracted from her illegal activities by other issues.
Let me get this straight --- according to her logic, if we want a more lawful community, she's going to have to break a few laws. If we want healthier communities for our families and children, she's going to have to compromise the health of her staffers and others who visit the building. If we want absentee landlords to take responsibility for their property, she's going to need the freedom to place responsibility on others.
She should have left well enough alone after the last article. Doug Shields came off like a giggling schoolboy with a big man-crush on Luke, but that's nothing to the political harridan that is Darlene Harris.
Monday, January 8
by Sue on Mon 08 Jan 2007 07:51 PM EST
Back in March, we reported on the West Virigina Sheriff who denied CPR to a dying gay man under the pretext that the man was HIV+. The man, Claude Greene, died later that evening at a local hospital. Greene's friend was present at the scene but was physically prevented from performing CPR by Robert K. Bowman, Sheriff of Welch, West Virginia. Greene's mother filed a federal lawsuit claiming her son's civil rights had been violated along with a myriad of other chages, including a violation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In late December, the federal court ruled that the case could move forward:
It is a complicated situation and far more legalistic than I can pretend to understand. Bowman's folks claimed that since Greene was dead, there was no reason for a civil rights case. Bowman's folks also seem to claim that he prevented bystanders from performing CPR out of concerns about HIV transmission. The federal judge noted that there is no record that performing CPR on an HIV+ person would present a transmission risk.
The bastard was willing to let the wrongful death move forward. Fortunately, the judge cleared the way for the whole kit and kaboodle.
Did I mention that Greene was not HIV+? Nope, he was just gay. And, thankfully, the idiot responsible for his death could pay the price for his bigotry and hate.
Sadly, Claude Greene has already paid the ultimate price for it.
Thursday, December 28
by Sue on Thu 28 Dec 2006 10:31 AM EST
What is it about smoking that still seems cool to people in this day and age?
In a classic example of the good old boy (and girl) mentality that keeps dragging us to the backwaters, the Post-Gazette ran a little article about illicit smoking in the City-County Building. They refer to it as "surreptitious" but that's just fancy talk for sneaky.
Apparently, our elected officials are already breaking the rules on smoking INSIDE the building. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge ... all the kids are doing it giggles Student Body President Doug Shields.
Is it just me or is Shields trying to sound ...cool? First, "eh, heh, heh" is just an incredibly creepy and disturbing quote for a grown man in an elected position of power and authority. Second, its nice that Shields has such respect for the health and welfare of all his employees, colleagues and the residents of Pittsburgh (and the county) that he would smoke in a closed room. Because we all know how effective that closed door is at preventing cancer. Finally, it sort of gives support to the claim that Shields is firmly wedged up the ass of the powers that be if he doesn't have the gonads to set a good example on SMOKING. What kind of leadership is that? A "fuck you, I'm hanging with the cool guys like Luke" type.
Our newest elected Councilwoman Darlene Harris' has solved the problem by spending tax payer dollars to purchase a smoke eating machine, the Trion Eliminator Series SE 800E. Its to keep the office from being so stuffy. Harris rationalizes that a long day in City Hall justifies breaking the rules b/c she's a hard working gal ...
That's the kind of superior, self-satisfied Chesire Cat mentality you folks in our neighboring Northside communities have saddled yourselves with for the next term. Good luck with that.
Here's the best part --- Harris justifies the purchase b/c she took advantage of the county contract that got a better deal. The same county that passed the smoking ordinance paved the way for Harris to say "fuck you" to county residents in the City-County building. That's delicious irony.
County Council President Rich Fitzgerald does a nice job of passing the butt, er buck, on enforcement.
Does that include elected people who get paid by tax dollars? Should they follow the law Rich? Will the PG article prompt you and Doug to call your members (and yourselves) to task on this bad behavior? Or will you continue to wallow in the delusion that shirking the law somehow adds to your allure?
Has the ascension of the boy who would be mayor dragged the entire city back to high school? Or has it merely brought to light that we've been there all along?
Friday, December 1
by Sue on Fri 01 Dec 2006 06:58 PM EST
Oh that Diane Gramley and her whacky homobaiting ideas.
Today, as you may know, is World AIDS Day a day set aside to acknowledge the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The key is that progress in fighting the epidemic is possible through a united effort.
Ms. Gramley and her AFA morons think that the key to fighting the epidemic in the United States is to marginalize and criminalize homosexuality as well as pretty much any sexual activity outside of the man-woman marriage they hold so dear. So they've founded the AIDS Truth Coalition. <stop laughing!>
To save lives you see! For Jesus! They've even issued some "talking points" for Christian parents. Because preaching about the evils of homosexuality is the best way to cure AIDS. For Jesus!
Ohhhhhh, nice reference to gay-lingo! For actual facts on HIV/AIDS, click here.
Wednesday, August 23
Who Holds a Breast Cancer Fundraiser in a Hookah (Smoking) Bar? She Does ... and her name is Girl Weapon X
by Sue on Wed 23 Aug 2006 09:14 PM EDT
At first, I honestly thought this was a joke. No one in their right mind would organize a cancer awareness event at a hookah bar, right? Wrong! Because coming up next week is Pittsburgh's first ever Mammogram-Jam held right in the heart of Pittsburgh Southside at HKan Hookah Bar & Lounge.
First, let me explain about a hookah bar. Its an ancient Middle Eastern practice involving smoking tobacco through a water pipe or hookah. This practice has become quite the rage across the United States with hookah bars popping up all over the place. The use of tobacco becomes the cultural activity at hookah bars.
Doesn't really strike you as the most appropriate place to promote cancer detection, does it? Let's take a look at the facts.
Here is what the Susan G. Komen folks have to say about the smoking/breast cancer issue (courtesy of their website).
Now, let me very clear that I certainly am in favor of promoting awareness of early detection for breast cancer and for raising money to support the good work of the Susan G. Komen folks. I just think there have to be some boundaries. So intrepid blogger that I am, I contacted the event organizer Girl Weapon X for more details on why they planned this event at a hookah bar.
First, I figured that they were using the space but making it a smoke free event for the evening. It seemed the logical solution. I was wrong. Girl Weapon X's response:
That doesn't explain why it cannot be a smoke-free event. If they aren't planning to make any money from beverage or food sales, why would they object to losing money on tobacco sales? How is that caring about the community? Its really not clear at all.
Then I asked her more pointedly about the connection between smoking and cancer. She responds:
She probably doesn't stop to think that I, too, might have organized an event or two, but never mind that ...
I also asked her if she would have accepted sponsorship monies from a tobacco company. She replies:
She'd accept money from a tobacco company if it was local? Did I read that correctly? Huh ....
And the gay theme ... I pointed out that as a lesbian blog we are especially interested in the topic since smoking rates in our community are nearly four times as high as in the general population, especially among our young women. I think she misunderstood and thought I wanted to bring a group of lesbian teens to the event:
LESBIAN LIFESTYLE? Oh, honey, you had to play the subtle homophobe card. I took a look at your MySpace page (really I had no choice) and would note that certain aspects of your lifestyle (quasi-Christian bar wench) aren't exactly the healthiest. Plus, you freakin' event is KILLING my sisters. What the hell kind of Christianity is that?
To give her credit, she does seem REALLY enthusiastic about how fun the event will be and quite taken with her own ability organize a fundraiser. So taken that I think the issue has become subordinate to the event, a frequent pitfall of special event planning.
You know, this is perhaps the most ridiculous thing that's come across my email box in a long, long time. Holding a cancer awareness event/fundraiser in a hookah bar makes as much sense as moving Gay Bingo to the Penn Hills house formerly occupied by Santorum. Or inviting Mary Cheney to serve as Grand Marshall of the Pride Parade. It is a marriage conceived in some distorted version of hell.
Before the Girl Weapon X posse pull out their taunts and barbs, you should know that I was very clear with Zoe that I was covering this issue in my blog. No nasty little taunts about my motives. I have two sets of motives - my boobs and my lungs. Neither wish to be sacrificed so I can have a good time inhaling your carcinogens.
Friday, August 11
by Sue on Fri 11 Aug 2006 07:12 AM EDT
The American Psychological Association has released a press statement, taking a strong stance against conversion theory. Conversion theory is predicated upon the notion that you can change sexual orientation and is a core component of the controversial ex-gay movement.
NARTH is the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality. They have a whole litany of quack scientific studies that "prove" homosexuality is a choice. Check out Truth Wins Out which monitors the abusive practices of the ex-gay movement.
These NARTH people are pathetic, abusive monsters. They prey upon vulnerable people, take all their money in payment for so-called therapy, treatment, even camps and, of course, leave them bitter and disillusioned when it doesn't work (not to mention broke).
Note that the APA rightly calls out perennial homo-opponent Focus on the Family who will be making a stop in Pittsburgh this fall.
This is a critical point. The Jimmy Dobsons and Rick Santorums of the world don't openly call for violence against homosexuals, but they are major contributors to the cultural environment in which contempt for gays takes it that one step further. They are standing at the top of the slippery slope pouring down the lube ...
h/t Page One Q
Tuesday, August 8
by Sue on Tue 08 Aug 2006 07:23 AM EDT
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health got caught in the crosshairs this week when a local gay leadership group lodged complaints about the violent scenario in a recent ad campaign targeting African-American men. The campaign encouraged HIV testing, targeted gay, bisexual and "down low" men and featured images of African-American men in the crosshairs of a gun with the tagline "Have You Been Hit?" (Philadelphia Inquirer)
The Black Gay Men's Leadership Council objects to the direct association of black men with gun violence in a city plagued with increasing rates of gun violence, especially among the African-American population.
Amidst concerns over the legitimacy of the campaign's use of focus groups and embarrassment about the associatio, the city is being rather weasley about the reason for pulling the ads, indicating that the pull date just happened to be last Friday. The PR departments of various media outlets indicated otherwise, stating that there was no cancellation date.
File this under WTF? In a city where too many people die from gun violence AND AIDS, why would you associate the two ---- why surely African-American men might have a postive assocation with being the target of gun violence and immediately run down to the nearest HIV testing center! And it certainly does wonders for the images of HIV positive people to be linked to gun violence.